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The Lives of Christopher Chant Hardcover – May 1988


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Hardcover, May 1988
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co Library (May 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688078060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688078065
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By calixa on Oct. 2 2002
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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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 26 2002
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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 given a basis for his actions and his ideas in the preceeding books.
In 'The Lives of Christopher Chant' we start by looking at a different world through the eyes of young Christopher: his strange and distant relationship with his parents, the continual changing of his nursery maids and governesses, and his private trips in his dreams to mysterious places. When his Uncle Ralph appears and treats Christopher differently, more as a capable person than a isolated child, he is ready to idolise him and obey him in any way possible, believing Ralph to be kind, unselfish and caring, when in reality he is quite different. Christopher is asked to go on trips to these other worlds, and does so without question, returning with strange items, not suspecting the trickery behind his actions.
Christopher goes to school, where people begin to suspect about the extrodinary power behind his average facade.
In this book we see aspects of rebellion, friendship, childish hatred, boredom and unhappiness that many children are able to relate to. All this is tied in with adventure, magic, believeable characters and imaginative twists. Another great aspect is the faint idea that not all people classed as 'evil' are so easily catagoried when you compare their actions to the humane areas of their personality.
I loved this story, and felt it to be one of the best books in Diana Wyne Jones's Chrestomanci series. From here you really start to understand the character of Christopher, laying new undercurrents in the other titles. The concepts, language, plot and dimension, as well as the originality, makes it one of the few really brilliant children's books around.
This book was extrodinary, and deserves much more popularity and recognition than it has got.
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