REVIEW: Stopping For A Spell by Diana Wynne Jones

REVIEW: Stopping For A Spell by Diana Wynne JonesStopping For a Spell by Diana Wynne Jones
Published: Harper Collins (2004), Paperback, 144pg
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction

three-half-stars

Summary:

In three wild and wacky tales, find out what can happen when... ...An old armchair that you've finally decided to get rid of comes to life -- and has a definite attitude. It thinks it can rule the entire household!

...Not one, but four grannies come to take care of you and your stepsister. You manage to work some magic, and are granted three wishes -- but soon fear you may get what you wished for!

...The rudest uninvited house guest comes to visit -- and won't leave! He insults every person who comes his way. But when he starts in on the furniture, that's the last straw. Even the furniture thinks so!

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I picked this up at the same time as Witch’s Business, and though I’ve never read any of DWJ’s short stories before (she has another collection called Unexpected Magics that I have yet to pick up, and a Chrestomanci-world short story collection called Mixed Magics which I also have yet to read), I really enjoyed reading these three.

The first story, “Chair Person,” was very well done. It has just the right mix of normal (i.e. non-magic) and magic and all the characters had a lot of personality– especially the Chair Person, who I hated. Of course, now I’m worried my own furniture is judging me and watching

The second story is “The Four Grannies,” and while I liked reading it I didn’t entirely understand the point (the moral, I guess). Is there even one? Maybe it’s just about how Grandmothers are terrifying when more than one is crammed into the same place. I did like Erg, the main character. He’s quite an interesting little fellow, and I wish he showed up in another story.

The third and last story is “Who Got Rid of Angus Flint?” and unfortunately I liked it the least. It has a fantastic ending, and the build-up to it is sufficiently entertaining. But I didn’t really like any of the characters, and, though Angus was a good villain I was a little shocked when it was revealed he beat his wife. I did not expect that in a DWJ story. Maybe that’s a good thing? I don’t know. I also had a problem with the very beginning, which seemed somewhat jumbled and confused me.

Overall, it’s a nice collection of short stories!

Read: February 2009

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