Eight Days of Luke Paperback – Oct 4 1988
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From Publishers Weekly
David dreads the upcoming holidays. Usually it means he is sent to camp or on an educational tour. This year, things are worsehis great-aunt and -uncle are confused about the last day of school and must cancel their own trip because they haven't scheduled something for David. Even worse, David finds that he can't seem to do anything right, and is constantly in trouble. Then, while playing in the garden, David unleashes unseen forces from another world; only with the help of the mysterious Luke can he send the forces back to the earth. Summer becomes more interestingLuke can charm David's relatives into letting them do almost anythinguntil David learns that the forces he freed are beyond his control. Loosely based on Norse mythology, this story is a smooth blend of myth and reality, a task that Jones ( A Tale of Time City ) performs with ease and assurance. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A marvelous, mysterious adventure...an enjoyable puzzle...Another piece of fun from a master of whimsy. (School Library Journal)
An immensely enjoyable and dramatic story which should not be missed. (Times Literary Supplement (London))
A smooth blend of myth and reality, a task that Jones performs with ease and assurance. (Publishers Weekly)
Filled with tension and intrigue...A rich complexity distinguishes Jones storytelling. (ALA Booklist) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story does not stand still and it's great fun for both children and adults.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Luke's appearance is only the beginning of a bizarre set of events and peculiar visitations, from the malevolent Mr. Chew, to the preternaturally hearty Frys, to the twin ravens that constantly hang around David. The enigmatic Mr. Wedding has his own agenda, and some mystery hangs around the young man with the dragons. Before long, David finds himself moving between two worlds--his normal, everyday life with his relatives, and an unpredictable, mystical realm--and they both keep getting stranger.
As an admitted mythology addict, I loved "Eight Days of Luke." Figuring out, piece by piece, who the characters really are was half the fun in this book. The other half is Jones' delightful writing and the various complications that ensue as Luke (and what might be termed his set of bizarre relatives) enter into David's everyday life. Myth, folklore, and back-to-school shopping all combine in this novel; more impressively, they fit together naturally.
Everything I have ever read by Diana Wynne Jones has been excellent, and "Eight Days of Luke" was no disappointment. Even if you've never been one for mythology, read and enjoy!
David dreads coming home for vacation. As his parents are dead, he lives with his horrible relatives: Uncle Bernard, Aunt Dot, Cousin Ronald and his wife Astrid, and the sinister housekeeper, all of whom insist that he be grateful to them. They tell him what to wear, how to speak, what to do, constantly talk about what a burden and a pain he is, and spend the rest of the time listening to Astrid and Bernard compare imaginary ailments.
While out doing yardwork, David utters a gibberish curse -- only to have a nearby wall erupt in a shower of snakes. Another boy named Luke appears, and offers to help David. Why? He says that David freed him, and David goes along with this. Luke charms David's nasty family, and as a result Astrid slowly begins to befriend David.
But Luke quickly displays that he can be dangerous as well as helpful. And he is strangely wary of the new people in the neighborhood: the Frys, one-eyed Mr. Wedding, and sinister gardener Mr. Chew. He claims that he was framed for something he didn't do -- but how is David going to help him?
Perhaps the only drawback of this book is that you need some basic knowledge of Norse mythology to know who people like the Frys, Mr. Wedding and Luke are; those who are not familiar with the myths may be hopelessly lost. So brush up on the basics before reading. As for the finale -- well, you'll definitely need to know about Norse myths. Jones doesn't tell us too much, but she doesn't tell us a lot either. The three old women will be recognizable easily, though: Similar characters have been featured in many other works of fantasy.
David is a completely realistic young boy, and I was pleased to see the "conversion" of one of his annoying relatives. Luke manages to be sympathetic and interesting despite the fact that he's a little amoral and has a perilous sense of fun. I was also glad that the "nasty relatives" didn't fall into the Roald Dahl/Harry Potter trap of being cartoonishly bad. They're bad because they are rigid and disdainful -- nasty in ways that are almost hilariously realistic. (The scene where David keeps score as Astrid and Bernard compare psychosomatic problems is a hoot!)
Soon to be reprinted, this is a lesser-known gem that is often overshadowed by Jones's other more popular works. Though shorter than many of her other books, this is a great read for adults and kids alike..
David is a young man with a horrid family. His parents are dead, and most of the time he's at school, which is alright because he's rather good at cricket. It's the breaks from school, when he's shunted off somewhere away from his relations, Great Uncle Bernard and Great Aunt Dot (and Cousin Ronald and his whiny wife Astrid), that are a reminder of his orphan status. On this occasion, they haven't arranged anything at all and are very put out by that fact. David can't help thinking that it's bound to be the worst school vacation ever. But then an odd, charming young man named Luke appears, and interesting things start to happen. David is in for an adventure and a half!
The setting is a house in some undetermined part of England. David is sports-mad, grubby, hungry and, his older relatives think, ungrateful. The thing is that he IS grateful, but living with a passel of adults is quite a lot to put up with for a boy, especially as he's growing out of all of his clothes and would just like to be off with some other kids his age. Just when things seem as if they're about to spiral out of control into unmitigated boredom and misery, a likeable, clever sort of boy named Luke joins the scene. It all gets even more complicated when a Mr. Wedding begins asking pointed questions about Luke. David is in for an unforgettable and life-changing vacation.
I've begun to think that the best way to start a Diana Wynne Jones book is with no pre-conceived ideas or introduction at all. Her writing always moves you - to laughter, or tears, or some other profound feeling - but part of the fun is the mystery of `what will it be this time?' With Eight Days of Luke Diana has written middle grade fantasy with an inspired and Puck-ish character in Luke, and gobs of mischief and mayhem. It's funny and brief, with just the right amount of depth to round out the adventures. I'd recommend it to anyone.
In all, Eight Days of Luke is full of both overt and subtle fun, literary allusions that fit seamlessly in with the narrative, and a mix of characters that transform in various ways throughout the tale.
Recommended for: readers of all shapes and sizes, fans of light fantasy, those who liked Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, and anyone who enjoys humor, mischief and myth.
(review originally posted at: [...]