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.. right before weaving them into a shimmering tapestry.. And as usual, there's loads of humor and running jokes (example: grouchy Mrs. Stock shows her disapproval by making cauliflower cheeses, and her equally grouchy husband shows his by bringing in huge nasty vegetables).
But what pushes "Enchanted Glass" into sheer brilliance is the fantastical parts of it -- deep powerful earth magic, magic glass, and "fields of care." She even comes up with the unique idea of "counterparts."
Andrew and Aidan are likable protagonists as well -- one's an orphan with a mysterious past, the other's a pleasantly flaky academic, and the two of them develop a rather sweet father-son bond. Jones adds in plenty of other colorful characters like the no-nonsense Stashe, the perpetually bad-tempered Stocks, technowiz Shaun, the veggie-loving giant Groil, and even a golden retriever with a double identity.
"Enchanted Glass is indeed an enchanting experience -- a complex, quick-moving fantasy novel with a slightly abrupt ending. For fans of the fantastical, look no further.