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.