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The Lives of Christopher Chant [Hardcover]

Diana Wynne Jones
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1988
Young Christopher Chant, in training to become the next Chrestomanci or head controller of magic in the world, becomes a key figure in a battle with renegade sorcerers because he has nine lives.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Young Christopher Chant has very unusual dreams: he gets out of bed, walks to the corner of the nursery and enters a lush, green valley that can lead him to any one of the hundreds of worlds that comprise what he calls the "Almost Anywheres." Christopher doesn't tell anyone about his dreams because he thinks everyone has them. When his father loses all of his money, Christopher and his mother must go live with Uncle Ralph; he is ecstatic to learn that Christopher can bring solid objects back from the worlds he visits, and so uses him to perform some experiments. Then Christopher's father forces him to go live at Chrestomanci Castle, where Christopher is told he must become the next governing magician. Jones has written a mesmerizing account of the boyhood adventure of the famous magician who starred in Charmed Life. Her ability to mesh magic and realism results in an enthralling story about a boy just discovering his powers. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9–In Diana Wynne Jones's magical coming-of-age story (Greenwillow, 1988), Christopher Chant manages to lose most of his nine lives as he comes to accept his destiny. His magical powers and his nine lives put him in line to be the next Chrestomanci (head enchanter) so, against his will, he is taken out of school to Chrestomanci's castle to be trained. There he realizes, to his horror, that his Uncle Ralph, whom he idolizes, is the Wraith, a notorious and wicked smuggler of magical goods. When Uncle Ralph tries to destroy the current Chrestomanci, Christopher joins forces with a young Goddess, a spirit traveler, and an ill-tempered temple cat to save him. This word-for-word reading will have high appeal for middle school fantasy fans. Actor Gerard Doyle's rich voice and English accent suit the story perfectly. His excellent expression and conviction draw listeners into the tale and help them follow the complex plot, giving each character's voice just enough distinction. The narration is slow enough to facilitate reading along but a good pace for listening as well. Both public and school libraries will find this an excellent addition to their audio collections.–Louise L. Sherman, formerly Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of Chrestomanci Jan. 26 2002
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Perhaps one of the most endearing magicians in fantasy is Chrestomanci. A suit-wearing, veddy-veddy English magician with style and a forceful personality, rather than the usual Gandalf-clones. But rather than focusing on a group of people or an individual that Chrestomanci helps, this book focuses on Chrestomanci's life -- more specifically, the events that molded him into the powerful magician ahead.
Christopher Chant is essentially a semi-normal little boy in Victorian England — the abnormal things are discounted, such as meeting mermaids -- or dreaming of places, and coming back with souvenirs. His parents are almost nebulous figures, and his nursemaids change continuously. One day he meets his Uncle Ralph, a friendlier person than any Christopher has encountered before.
It turns out that Christopher is a "spirit traveller" -- when he dreams, he actually drifts from one world into another. To add to this oddity, he also has nine lives (he uses up a few of them as the story progresses). And not only Uncle Ralph is interested in Christopher's talents — his father manages to get him to Chrestomanci Castle, to be trained as the next Chrestomanci (the person in charge of all magic).
And Christopher hears something more — about smugglers getting illegal magical goods from the different worlds. And Uncle Ralph may be connected to them. Who is good and who is bad? Christopher, the Goddess, and Thogmorten the cat try to save themselves from the sinister smugglers and the guards of another world...
One endearing thing about this book is the way that Diana Wynne-Jones understands a small child's way of thinking, such as Christopher assuming that if his mother wants him in a good profession, she wants him to be a missionary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original, engaging and absorbing... Oct. 2 2002
By calixa
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If youre already a fan of Diana Wynne Jones, you know that any book written by this amazing author is worth reading. The lives of Christopher Chant is no exception. Quite possibly it is one of her best works, but I'll let you decide on that one. This particular book actually takes place before any of the others, but for some reason it is the fourth in the series. It stars a young chrestomanci - Christopher Chant - a boy who can traverse through the multiple worlds at will, who unknowingly posesses nine lives and is one of the strongest magic -users in his own world. He is taken to Chrestomanci castle, where he is trained to become the next Chrestomanci, a sort of overseer for all the magic that goes on in the many worlds. However, he is also secretly recruited by his uncle Ralph to make a series of dreamlike trips into the other worlds to retrieve and deliver mysterious packages, one of which is incidently revealed to be dragon's blood, a highly powerful and illegal magical ingredient prohibited by the law. Christopher is exposed to countless dangers on these forays and each time he dies in his spirit trips, he is killed in the real world by a parallel accident. As time passes and Christopher continues to lose his lives, the reigning Chrestomanci is killed and the worlds are pushed into chaos. Christopher, young as he is, must take charge and save the entire related worlds, though he is only just beginning to discover the scope of his powers... enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic. Aug. 25 2011
By J Reader TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was my introduction to the world of fantasy in fiction. Long before Harry Potter there was Christopher Chant. I fell in love with this book's ability to stimulate my imagination and paint wonderful pictures of far away worlds and possible adventures. It is not filled with sinister villians and dark magic in the same way Harry Potter is. The magic is lighter as is the story. It is more about a young boy's gradual discovery of himself through his exciting and facinating adventures.

The Lives of Christopher Chant stimulated my imagination and my interest in books. If you enjoy fantasy and you enjoyed Harry Potter you should enjoy this as well. Keep in mind it is a different sort of magical story closer in nature to The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe than Harry Potter. I would recommend it to any 12-13 year old or advanced 10-11 year old. I only hope it would encourage more young readers as it did me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WOW Feb. 15 2003
By Kat,Kat
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Even though he doesn't know it Christopher spirit travels every night. This happens in his dreams he goes to what Christopher calls the Place Between and the Anywheres. When his uncle finds out there are experiments that his uncle wants to do. But are they such honest experiments?
Of all of Diana Wynne Jones' books that I have read so far this has to be my favorite. I couldn't stop reading. A really well written masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great story Dec 20 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Chrestomanci series is a great series, this is one of the better stories of the four that are written. The two things that run consistent through all the stories is the Chrestomanci and the many worlds that exist. The title of Chrestomanci is for the person who makes sure that all magic is used properly. It is very difficult to get because one of the requirements it that the person must have nine lives rather than the usual one. The multiple worlds are an interesting concept in the Chrestomanci stories. The concept goes like this, when a big even occurs, such as a battle, one of two things can happen. Either one side of the battle wins or the other side wins. Since both of these things cannot happen at once, the world is split into two worlds where in one world, one side won and in the other world, the other side won. This concept is used by Diana Jones as a base for plots and interesting twists.
"The Lives of Christoper Chant" is not about Cat but rather it is about the childhood of the Chrestomanci in "Charmed Life", so the book takes place some many years before "Charmed Life". Christopher Chant is a spirit traveler. He is able to travel to the other worlds. What is even more special is that he is able to take back things from other worlds to his world where as nobody before could do such a thing. Christoper didn't realize this was a gift but thought that these were dreams when he went to the other worlds because he could only go there once he fell asleep.
Unfortunately for Christoper, his Uncle Ralph, whom he admires greatly, finds a way to exploit Christopher's gift by making him take expensive and illegal items from other worlds into his own.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Rules
If you are into fantasy, adventure, humor, or all of the above, you have to read The Lives of Christopher Chant. I own a copy of it and would highly reccomend it to everyone. Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A different take on a character
Although Christopher Chant appears in the other books of the Chrestomanci series, this is the deepest look into the character of Christopher, and instead of a breif glimpse, we are... Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2001 by "kayill"
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Young Adult Fantasy
Despite his connections with the world of enchantment, Christopher Chant is more interested in cricket that magic. Read more
Published on July 8 2001 by Alaria
5.0 out of 5 stars Christopher Chant is enchanting!
Christopher Chant decends from enchanters and sorceresses. Yet the only thing that is magical about Christopher is his dreams. At night, he travels into The Place Between. Read more
Published on June 9 2001 by Kelsi
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling tale of the Chrestomanci
Evey night when young Christopher Chant goes to sleep he turns a corner in his room and enters The Place Between. Read more
Published on May 25 2001 by Nancy E.
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating second novel of the Chrestomanci Quartet.
THE LIVES OF CHRISTOPHER CHANT is the second of Dianna Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci Quartet, and a fantastic work at that. Read more
Published on April 1 2001 by "shayamorph"
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool!
I found out about this fantastic book on amazon.com and requested it at the library in our disrict. The book was so popular that I had to wait for twenty-nine people before I... Read more
Published on March 15 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! You'll want to read all the others too!
This is Diana Wynne-Jones at her best. It's a fantastic novel and should be read with all the other Chrestomanci boos, too. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2001 by "kangaroozy_999"
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