Diana Wynne Jones Month, Day 18: Archer’s Goon (#dwjmarch)

diana wynne jones month march
Today’s topic is about Archer’s Goon, a story of families!

The trouble started when Howard Sykes came home from school and found the “goon” sitting in the kitchen. He said he’d been sent by Archer. But who was Archer? It had to do with the 2,000 words that Howard’s author father had failed to deliver. It soon became clear not only that Archer wanted those words, but that his wizard siblings, Hathaway, Dillian, Shine, Torquil, Erskine, and Venturus, would also go to any lengths to get them.

Although each wizard ruled a section of the town, he or she was a prisoner in it. Each suspected that one of them held the secret behind the words, and that secret was the key to their freedom. Which one of them was it? The Sykes family become pawns in the wizards’ fight to win their freedom, wrest control from one another, and fan out to rule the world. (from Goodreads)

I’ve only read Archer’s Goon once, in 2008. That was pre-blogging as well, so I’ve never reviewed it and so it’s a little hard for me to think of specifics. See how handy having a reading journal is?

I remember liking it, though at the time I was more used to DWJ’s Chrestomanci-like fantasy. Her urban fantasy (or magical realism?) stories take some getting used to, I think, because they tend to mess with your mind a bit. Things aren’t what they seem, time and/or space curves in unexpected ways, perceptions need altering in ways I’m not used to, etc.

Archer’s Goon, for example, has a twist at the end that I needed to reread a few times to really understand; it’s kind of like Hexwood in that way (though Hexwood is scifi. Actually, Archer’s Goon is a little scifi, too). The twists and mind-messer-uppers make it more fun, though!

Archer’s Goon has the distinction to be the only DWJ book that was made into a TV show! It’s not terrible? I’ve definitely seen worse adaptations, anyway. You can watch it on Youtube here!

Have you read Archer’s Goon? What was your favorite plot twist?

4 thoughts on “Diana Wynne Jones Month, Day 18: Archer’s Goon (#dwjmarch)”

    1. I remember particularly loving how some characters seemed to be awful at first, but turning out to be nice later. It’s a little thing that makes books so much for fun and meaningful.

  1. I really need to watch that show sometime. I’m not sure why I haven’t, especially since there are no other DWJ shows/movies to watch besides Howl. And I definitely need to re-read this book because I’ve also only read it once and I need to solidify the characters and stories in my mind. Right now it’s just mostly vague memories of crazy powerful people and crazy kids. 🙂

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