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Hexwood Paperback – Nov 23 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins (Nov. 23 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006755267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006755265
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,079,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Somewhere in the middle of this rather bewildering novel, its heroine, Ann, realizes that she is not--as she and the reader had thought--the 12-year-old daughter of suburban London grocers, but is in fact a 20-something rebel from another galaxy. Ann (whose name is really Vierran) has come to earth as the unwilling handmaiden of the evil Reigner Three who, along with four other Reigners, controls most of the known universe. An ancient and powerful machine known as the Bannus has been reactivated and poses a threat to the Reigners' rule. Vierran must join forces with Mordion, the Reigner Servant, in order to keep from becoming a pawn in Reigner One's dastardly scheme to breed future Servants. These are just a few of the plot-lines that come together in a confusing finale that invokes the legends of King Arthur as well as the gods and heroes of Northern Europe. Certain moments in the muddled narrative will reward the persevering reader: Mordion's long-repressed recollection of his sad and brutal childhood possesses a spine-chilling intensity. But on the whole, Jones is not at her bewitching best. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-Futuristic, virtual-reality technology melds with the realm of Faerie to liberate the galaxy from the corrupt Reigners who have controlled it for the past 1,000 years. Set in an English village in 1992, the novel's web of events is catalyzed by a bored employee of Hexwood Farm, a secret outpost of the interplanetary rulers. He tampers with the Reigners' old, computerlike machine, the Bannus, hoping it will cough up a hobbit-and-dragon role-playing game. But the Bannus's game is for real, and it sucks the players it chooses-including transcendental souls like Arthur, Merlin, and Fitela-into its field of influence and forces them to act (without changing their natures) within its own scenarios. Unleashed in the Wood (which has power of its own, being a part of the eternal, enchanted forest), the machine is able to stage a battle to dethrone the unrightful Reigners and to choose the best possible new ones. The battlefield the Bannus and the Wood create is Arthurian, complete with castle, sorcery, knights, and dragons. The characters' ages and physical forms often change, though not so fast that readers will lose track of what's going on. Time, too, is fluid. Jones's knife-sharp prose delves with psychedelic clarity into the shared subconscious of humankind. The book is humorous as well, with lines that call Douglas Adams, Monty Python, and James Bond to mind. A wide range of readers will find it marvelously mind-stretching. They may even be tempted to read it twice.
Vanessa Elder, School Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an astonishing book, with the most complex, well-thought-out plot and appealing characters that I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The style is deceptively simple and clear, hiding a fog and fluxion that all makes an impossible kind of sense - by the end. I have read this book at least ten times, each time being seduced into buying a reality that I know can't be. My favorite Jones books are Howl's Moving Castle, Deep Secret, A Tale of Time City, and A Sudden Wild Magic, but for me this one blows them all away because of Jones's masterful handling of time and reality. Not to mention the subtle romance, the bewitching secondary characters, and the only question is, however do young people "get" this book?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa517778c) out of 5 stars 43 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa549b348) out of 5 stars Confusing... in a good way June 24 2001
By M. Smitherman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because of the reviews... I had read one other book by Diana Wynne Jones, and loved it. Feeling like I needed a break from the formula fantasy novels that are all alike, I gave Hexwood a try. From the first page, I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. I even had it at the dinner table, which my parents didn't like, but it was such a wonderful book!
Hexwood Farm is at the edge of a town near London. Inside the farm is the Bannus, a machine that plays with time and identity. It has been turned on, and nobody can turn it off. Ann, a girl living by Hexwood Farm, is sick in bed. Through her window, she sees people going into the farm--and not coming back out. She ventures into the wood to see what's going on, and she is swept into the confusing and time-warping field of the Bannus. She meets Mordion, a man who says he's been asleep for a century; but Ann knows he entered Hexwood Farm just a day ago. And Hume, the boy who is a different age every time Ann sees him. Ann wonders just who is real and who isn't; and after all, if they aren't who they seem to be, is she who she thinks she is?
This book moves at a fast pace, and the action starts right away. Time, places, and identities are changed and warped so often that it's useless to try and straighten it out. It's much more enjoyable to let yourself be carried along in the confusion. At first I was extremely frustrated trying to read the book, but after a few chapters I got into the story, and I loved it. When I finished, I nearly cried. Not because it was a sad ending, but because I couldn't believe I was done. I wanted it to go on forever.
Despite a misleading cover and a confusing start, this book instantly became a favorite. It's worth reading, and it will stay in your mind for weeks after you're finished reading.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4dba390) out of 5 stars Different and unusual July 10 2003
By Barb Caffrey - Published on
Format: Paperback
"Hexwood" is a very strange novel, but extremely rewarding. It's not much like other stuff Diana Wynne Jones has written; although there are humorous moments, it's decidedly not lighthearted, it's not written in a straightforward manner (as it's instead written in five sections), and the time-sense of the novel is rather skewed.
No matter. This is one of the few books I've read cover to cover, then turned back to re-read immediately. I did that for two reasons; Ms. Jones' use of language is extremely moving, especially when talking about Mordion and Vierran's halting romance, and I really wanted to figure out what this whole odd time sense thing was all about.
The main reason the novel is written in five parts is to keep you guessing; it's an intellectual puzzle that's almost impossible to describe. The simple stuff is that there really are people behind the scenes controlling everything on Earth (and in the galaxy as a whole), people called Reigners. They're not very nice people; Reigner One is particularly offensive. And they've co-opted many other, better people to act in their stead as enforcers, crippling them emotionally in the process.
I enjoyed figuring out the twists and turns of the most convoluted plotline I've ever read, while I reveled in how Ms. Jones managed to show people who were emotionally shell-shocked from years of abuse find love, laughter and meaning despite it all.
Five stars, highly recommended for anyone with a good amount of patience and a love for mysteries.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5051c78) out of 5 stars Buy This Book! March 27 2002
By neurondoc - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am not a big fantasy fan -- I like hard SF better. However, I like Diana Wynne Jones's books a lot. I read Howl's Moving Castle on recommendation of a friend and loved it. At the age of 34, I bought Hexwood in a 1st edition hardback on a whim and thought it was fabulous. It is a weird combination of archetypal fable, Arthurian legend, romantic story, and futuristic SF tale. It reminded me of the movie Pulp Fiction with its complete disregard of a linear timeline. I was consistently surprised as I read along, waiting anxiously for the next plot twist. Jones manages to keep all her plot twists in order and ties everything up at the end. The only drawback about this book is that it is probably too advanced for most teenagers.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa552c9cc) out of 5 stars COMPLETELY BRILLIANT! Dec 13 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading Diana Wynne Jones since I was nine years old (my first book was "The Lives of Christopher Chant" which I read during one really long car ride to the beach - I couldn't look up from the book!!). BUT despite a slight prejudice for her early books which I read first, "Hexwood" blew me away and has quickly become one of my favorites. This book combines everything I love about her writing into one great book; complete with complex plot, believable and unforgettable characters, and surprise endings (I LOVE her surprise endings!). If you've never read Diana Wynne Jones you might find it difficult as a first exposure to her writing (you might want to try one of her other books first), but if you're a diehard scifi/fantasy fan no doubt you'll be able to jump right in. Also I definitly agree with one of the other reviewers who said the cover is disappointing - don't let it be a deterrent. One last point: don't open this book unless you know you have a free 4 or 5 hours ahead of you - because once you start reading you won't be able to put it down until you've reached the end!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5ec18f0) out of 5 stars Don't let the cover fool you... June 20 2001
By M. Smitherman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I read this book not because of the cover, but because I read all of these great reviews on I am also a fan of Diana Wynne Jones, so I couldn't wait to get started on this book. It is hands down the most confusing, enthralling, beautiful, and joyful book I have ever read. It is impossible to accurately describe the plot without confusing people and myself even more. What I can say is that once you pick up this book, you won't be able to put it down... except to eat. Though my parents had to take it from me, since I was reading it at the dinner table.
If you are a fan of science fiction & fantasy, or you appreciate a deliciously complicated plotline, you must read this book. It instantly became one of my favorites, and I know I will read it many times in the future. P.S., I know I won't thoroughly enjoy a story unless there is romance. Those of you who are like me, rest assured: you will get your bit of romance.