Diana Wynne Jones Month, Day 6: The Power of Three (#dwjmarch)

diana wynne jones month march
Today’s topic is about The Power of Three! Here is the summary:

Ayna could predict the future.
Cari could find what was lost.
Gair thought he was ordinary.
The three children of Gest, the chief of Garholt, know the perils of the Moor on which they live. The Dorig, their people’s enemies, are cold-blooded, fierce underwater creatures who terrify anyone unlucky enough to happen upon them. The Giants are dangerous and violent.

But it’s not until their home is invaded that Gair learns of a dying curse that endangers all three peoples of the Moor. A curse that ordinary Gair, with the help of his extraordinary brother and sister, may be able to break, but only at the most dreadful risk to all three, and to the Moor itself.

I think The Power of Three is one of DWJ’s lesser-known books? I can’t figure out why, unless it’s just because it’s an older book without a recent release. (The covers also tend to be fugly, which surely can’t help.) I’ve read it a few times, though, and it’s actually one of my favorites! Power of Three DWJ

It’s kind of an ambitious book. There’s three different cultures, three different families, (at least) three different protagonists, lots of stuff all crammed together into one short book. The closest thing I can compare it to in scope is maybe the Dalemark quartet, though obviously there’s only one book and not four. There’s also a bit of the mind-messer-upper kind of feeling like in Hexwood! It starts off a typical high fantasy sort of story, and then it gets twisted slightly.

It’s a sad book, about death and vengeance and change. Though it’s got lots of fun adventure things, there’s this overhanging sense of doom. Makes for an interesting tone– THAT reminds me of Dogsbody, the mix of interesting scifi shenanigans and horrible family circumstances. The Power of Three isn’t scifi, of course, but it’s the same sort of mix.

Here’s what I said when I first read The Power of Three:

It takes place in an England-ish area but it feels very Saxon-y, and the overall tone of the book is very traditional German-type fairy tale– Grimm-ish, but better. It does start off a little strangely, with a character who seems primary but becomes secondary, and a rather unnecessary death of a minor character (I hate it when she does that). But don’t let that deter you! If you like myths and fairy tales, if you like hero tales with a bit of Anglo-Saxon in them, if you like DWJ at all, read this book! It’s lovely and it’s got funny bits in it (and some drama/tragedy) and adventure and action and broody heroes and heroine who don’t deal with nonsense and it’s WONDERFUL.

Read the rest of my review here!

Have you read The Power of Three?

7 thoughts on “Diana Wynne Jones Month, Day 6: The Power of Three (#dwjmarch)”

  1. I only read this one last year — well, actually read it as an e-book because that was the only way to get it at the time through my library. I found a used copy later in the year though so my re-read can be on paper. I hadn’t heard of it except on DWJ book lists so I think it must be lesser known. In some ways it seems different than most of the other DWJs but, again, in other ways it fits. I do like it but I need to read it again to remember everything that was going on. Because of the three races thing, it was actually a pretty complex story. I do remember the bees though!

    1. I don’t remember understanding everything the first time I read it– the issue with the “giants” in particular I remember being confusing. It’s definitely one of those books that needs a few rereads!

  2. I haven’t got a copy of this one, yet. I just grab her books when I see them second hand, so I can be limited in what I get. I will definitely have to check it out, though!

  3. I liked the father-son relationship in Power of Three a lot. Ordinarily the parents in DWJ books are useless useless, and these two aren’t stupendous either, but I love how at the end, Gest still doesn’t understand Gair that well, but he makes it clear that he loves and admires him. That’s very touching to me.

    1. Yes! The parents in TPoT reminded me a little of the parents in The Dark Lord of Derkholm, actually. They’re there and they’re kinda important to the story, but the focus is (mostly) on the kids. It’s a nice balance.

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