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Enchanted Glass [Hardcover]

Diana Wynne Jones
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 24 2010

Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. His gran died, he was sent to a foster home, and now malicious beings are stalking him. There is one person Gran told Aidan to go to if he ever got into trouble—a powerful sorcerer who lives at Melstone House.

But when Aidan arrives on the doorstep, he finds that the sorcerer's grandson, Andrew, has inherited the house. The good news is that Aidan can tell immediately that Andrew's brimming with magic, too—and so is everyone else at Melstone. The bad news is that Andrew doesn't remember anything his grandfather taught him. Chaos is swiftly rising, and he has no idea how to control it. A sinister neighbor is stealing power from the land, magic is leaking between realms . . . and it's only a matter of time before the Stalkers find Aidan.

If Aidan and Andrew can harness their own magics, they may be able to help each other. But can they do it before the entire countryside comes apart at the seams?


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Review

“Jones hits all the bases with her fluid storytelling, trademark sly humor, and exquisitely drawn characters…With this enthralling book, Jones proves that she is still at the top of her game.” (Booklist (starred review))

“An intelligent, refreshing hoot.” (The Horn Book)

“She’s the best children’s writer of the last 40 years. I read her latest book, Enchanted Glass, and marveled once again at how good she is. It’s a tale of magic, double-dealing, subversion, and plot, not to mention giant vegetables and dangerous fairies.” (Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline)

“Irresistible to adventure, humor, and fantasy buffs.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

About the Author

In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011) wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books were filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy. In addition to being translated into more than twenty languages, her books have earned a wide array of honors—including two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honors and the Guardian Award—and appeared on countless best-of-the-year lists. Her best-selling Howl's Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki and was nominated for an Academy Award. Diana Wynne Jones was also honored with many prestigious awards for the body of her work. She was given the British Fantasy Society's Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999 for having made a significant impact on fantasy, and she won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2007.


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4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too June 18 2010
Format:Hardcover
Professor Andrew Hope has inherited Melstone House, and it turns out to be more than he bargained for. The housekeeper and gardener don't get along, the paperwork is a mess, and a mysterious orphan boy, Aiden, turns up on his doorstep.

Things only get worse when Andrew discovers someone - or something - is trying to take over his property and get to Aiden. Andrew must find a way to keep his land and the boy safe or it could prove disastrous for everyone.

I had a difficult time getting into this book. The concept is good, but the constantly shifting points of view made it hard for me to bond with the main characters. Aiden seemed older and far more mature than a young boy should be, and Andrew seemed distant.

The minor characters were quirky and funny and helped keep me reading. After I got used to the changing points of view, it made reading easier. The more I read, the more things got exciting, so I'm glad I didn't give up.

Reviewed by: Joan Stradling
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sparkling glass May 16 2010
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
In the worlds of Diana Wynne Jones, magic is everywhere. It soaks entire villages and pops up in strange places in "Enchanted Glass," Jones' latest standalone fantasy novel. This enchanting, delightful little book has everything that you'd expect from her -- a tangled mass of magical plot threads, endearing characters, and odd secrets.

Ever since his grandmother died, Andrew has been pursued by the Stalkers. So he heads for Melstone House, the home of a powerful magician who might be able to help him...

... except that the magician has also died, and has left the property to his grandson Andrew, who knows a few things about magic but has forgotten most of it. Andrew just wants to live a peaceful life in the countryside, writing a book and thwarting the hired help. But when he takes in Aidan, he finds that the boy has the same magical skills as he does... and a knack for attracting strange magical beings.

Unfortunately, leaving London hasn't stopped the Stalkers from trying to get their hands on Aidan. And when Andrew attempts to reinforce his "field of care," he finds himself in a turf war with the mysterious Mr. O Brown. As he tries to unravel all the mysteries around Melstone, Andre discovers that all his various magical problems are connected...

Well, if you've read Jones' previous works, then you know the score -- complex plot, magic, plenty of sorcerous talent, a mysterious and sinister antagonist, and a young boy afloat in a difficult world. The he only downside is that the ending is very abrupt. Jones lobs a shocking plot twist at you, and then the book ends. Bam.

Her prose is quirky, warm and has that distinctly British flavor, and she whips up a massive tangle of slightly odd plot threads..
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diana Wynne Jones Never Fails to Impress Feb. 23 2010
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Diana Wynne Jones is one of the best fantasists writing today, although her books are generally classed as children's or YA novels. In her latest, Enchanted Glass, she tells us about Andrew Hope, a sometime professor who inherits his grandfather's old house and "field-of-care," the latter being an area of land that is magical, as Andrew's grandfather was a wizard and Andrew himself has a good amount of magic in him. Soon, he's left his job at the university and is dealing with the unrelated Stocks, Mrs. and Mr., who do his housekeeping and gardening respectively and who don't much like each other; when young Aidan Cain from London arrives, driven only by the knowledge that his newly dead grandmother and guardian told him to go to old Mr. Brandon (Andrew's grandfather) if he ever got into trouble and needed help, Andrew isn't sure why but he at once takes the young boy in. Meanwhile, Mr. Stock has brought his niece Stache to serve as secretary to Andrew because he wants to write a book and she knows all about computers, and Mrs. Stock has brought in her nephew Shaun, who's quite dim but brilliant at doing manual stuff if you tell him exactly what to do, to work around the house and yard; thus the family grows and grows. Throw in Groil, a young giant for whom Andrew leaves Mr. Stock's well overgrown veggies on a rooftop every night, and Rolf, a were-dog who when human appears to be around five years old, as well as the old one-legged jockey Tarquin who's more than he seems (and Stache's father), and you've got a whole slew of interesting characters to cope with. And then there's the mysterious and grasping Mr. O. Read more ›
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful dessert April 17 2010
By Travis Ann Sherman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
PLOT: The old magician's grandson, upon inheriting his grandfather's house, settles in comfortably until young Aidan, on the run, comes to him for protection from the Stalkers who are after him since his grandmother died and her protective spells with her. Andrew is rather new at this and has a very faulty memory. He's not at all sure what he is supposed to do next.

WHY I READ THIS BOOK: Diana Wynne Jones new book! Duh!

WHY I FINISHED READING THIS BOOK: A) Diana Wynne Jones builds her plots masterfully. Think of this book as a wonderful English trifle, layered with light sponge cake, then the custard, fresh berries and a little sweet wine to make it all work together. ENCHANTED GLASS is such an apparently effortless creation, funny and exciting and full of the best magical traditions. She begins at the level of the light sponge cake, her narration all charming quirkiness. You are quickly sucked into thoroughly enjoying the pleasure of simply reading a book because it is B) filled with characters you love reading about, weredogs that change into five year old boys, grouchy housekeepers that cook everlasting dishes of cheese cauliflower whenever they are irritated, etc. Lots of tasty kinds of fresh fruit. While you are reading along happily you realize C) The story has deepened. She's added custard! Jones has brought her tale and her use of magic to another level. Magic is a force, a real force, a force to be reckoned with. By this time, all her characters are swirling together desperately while spells, old earth magic, illusions, and galactic forces even greater than "those who fear iron" are at work. So she pitches in a little fine brandy and the thing really sets up.

Oh, and plenty of whipped cream at the end.

WHO I WOULD GIVE THIS BOOK TO: Great news! This is a true stand alone Jones book. To those readers 9 - 12 who find the early Christopher Chant a bit overwhelming, ENCHANTED GLASS will be a great way to sucker them in!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great work June 11 2010
By KidsReads - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Aidan Cain is a boy in need of magical assistance. After the death of his grandmother, he finds himself stalked by sinister creatures. Traveling to the town of Melstone to seek the protection of a powerful sorcerer, Aidan finds the wizard's bumbling grandson Andrew now in charge. Together with a cast of eccentric characters, the two must untangle the mysterious forces that threaten both Aidan and Melstone. The key is a pair of magical colored windows that channel the power of other worlds through their enchanted glass.

Diana Wynne Jones has written approximately 50 books, most of which are fantasy for young people. They frequently focus on the theme of gifted children who have to make a break from abusive or manipulative family members to develop their gifts on their own. Often whimsical, occasionally spooky, and frequently humorous, her novels often deal with a folksy magic with ordinary-seeming people caring for each other and taking responsibility for their world. ENCHANTED GLASS is no exception to this theme.

Neither Aidan nor Andrew has much practice using magic. Aidan has a magic wallet where money appears when he most needs it and a propensity for making friends. Andrew knows he possesses a "field of care," but it is unclear to him how far its boundaries extend or what he must do to maintain it. They are joined by several other characters with dubious magical abilities: a gardener who seems to have a gift for growing enormous and nasty-tasting vegetables, a former jockey with a knack for growing roses, and a passive-aggressive housekeeper who has a habit of bending people to her will. While initially many of these characters and their habits seem irritating or obstructive, ultimately they provide the backbone of Melstone's magical community and are the best weapon against the ancient and formidable foe that seeks to claim Aidan for its own.

As the town prepares for its annual fair, the magical mayhem spreads. Magical doubles, or "counterparts," start appearing. Aidan makes friends with a weredog and a giant called Groil who eats all the gardener's giant-sized vegetables. People compete with handicrafts and homegrown fare, not realizing that these are the very things that define their community and help to protect their homes. What begins with a generations-old boundary dispute ends with Aidan finding a place to call his own.

ENCHANTED GLASS, like many of Diana Wynne Jones's books, accepts the idea of magical heritage while also refusing to believe that the accident of one's parents must determine one's future. In the scene where Aidan first looks through one of the panes of the magical windows, he hears a voice ask, "What is it you need?" Aidan answers that he needs to be safe: "People keep coming after me." The voice tells him that steps have already been taken to ensure his safety. Then the voice asks if there is anything else he needs: "Have you no ambitions?" Aidan suddenly realizes, "I want to be wise, like Gran and Andrew, and have my own field-of-care and write books about all the amazing things I find out and --- and fix things magically that can't be fixed any other way..."

I've always felt that Jones's books reach for that place --- in many children and for some adults --- that can't be fixed in any other way. Her novels have always seemed to contain lessons on how to recover from the destructive and all-too-common violence that often comes --- many times unintentionally --- from the people who are supposed to love and protect us the most. Her characters are able to reach out to that magic, "one of the great forces of the universe that had come into being right at the beginning, along with gravity and the force that held atoms together, strong as or stronger than any force there..." and heal the things that have been broken. It is thus an apt metaphor that the magic in this book is represented both by very ordinary caretaking activities that create a town, a neighborhood, and a home, and by something as delicate and fragile as colored glass.

Diana Wynne Jones has been seriously ill, and many of her fans are worried that ENCHANTED GLASS will be her last book. It's impossible for me to think of this as her last work. It's equally impossible for me to think of it standing separate from all the other novels she has written. While a stand-alone title, it is also part and parcel of a life's work: books that continue to be an enormous gift to readers both young and old.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Audiobook review: Wonderful, until the end Nov. 1 2011
By S. Goodman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I picked up this audiobook at the library for my children to listen to. I thought since the main character was only twelve or so, it might be a good book for kids who aren't old enough for all the romance and shenanigans in most YA books.
What I liked: The story was delightfully narrated. Steven Crossley created a distinct and perfectly fitting voice for each of the many characters. I found myself laughing a lot and my children thought it was funny as well. The plot moved rather quickly and there wasn't anything too scary or terribly upsetting. It was a sweet story of an orphaned boy finding a place to belong, meeting and interacting with magical beings, and helping his new caretaker learn about his own magical powers. I think it helps a bit to have some knowledge of basic faerie lore: Oberon is the king, Mab is a faerie queen, faeries don't use iron, etc., but this background isn't really necessary. You can figure things out as you go along even if you've never read any faery stories.
What I didn't like: The story of Aiden Kane, and the faerie world that keeps sneaking into his everyday life was fun and entertaining. However, there were some minor curse words, so I decided I better finish the book first to see where it was going before I decided if I wanted my kids to read it. I really loved it, up until the end.
SPOILERS:
Aiden had sought shelter from the dark shadowy Stalkers that were chasing him at the home of the late Jocelyn Brandon, a well-known magician. Brandon's own adult grandson, Andrew, is now in charge of Jocelyn's magical estate and for most of the book it is assumed that Aiden is being chased by dark faery creatures because he is the child of Oberon, the faery king. At the end of the book, it's revealed that he is actually Jocelyn Brandon's child. We knew Aiden's dead mom had many problems, but to find out Jocelyn had fathered Aiden by a young drug addicted alcoholic teenaged girl who was also his COUSIN, and who had been sent to him for help was disturbing to me. Instead of a nice feeling of "Oh, how sweet, Aiden and Andrew are related after all" I found myself feeling kind of sickened. Even though we never meet Jocelyn Brandon in person (although his ghost makes a brief appearance), he is portrayed throughout the book as a respectable, conscientious, and honorable man. To flip that on its head at the last page of the book and have the character who discovers the truth of Aiden's parentage (Andrew) take it with essentially a shrug and then a The End was just more than I could deal with.
This was the second book I've read by Diana Wynne Jones, and I realize saying anything less than wonderful about her work will not win me any goodwill :) She has a devoted following, and I can see why. Her writing is charming, magical, whimsical, enchanting, and transporting. If the entire book had stayed light and breezy without the out of place ending, I would've happily given it five stars. As it is, I don't think it's appropriate for young readers who appear to have been the target audience.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read June 4 2010
By Bennie Wik - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Enchanted Glass is a wonderful book; very well written and just when you think you know where it's heading, the author throws you a curve! So, very imaginative; I can't wait to read more of her books.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She's always good July 27 2010
By CINDY TOBIAS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
She always surprises and enchants. Don't read reviews; you want to savor all the surprises. But read more of her work.
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