Friday, June 16, 2006

Book Three: Conrad's Fate by Diana Wynne Jones

375 pages, read from 4:40 p.m. to 11 pm, with many interruptions
(maybe 3 hours of reading total?)

Twelve year old Conrad has been told by his uncle that he carries bad karma, and that the only way to escape it is to find an evil person he was meant to kill in a previous life and do it now. His fate supposedly awaits him at Stallery, the stately home of Count Robert. Con manages to get hired--along with Christopher, a slightly older boy who clearly also has an ulterior motive for wanting to be at Stallery. (Readers of previous Chrestomanci books will immediately recognize Christopher Chant.) As Con and Christopher become friends, and begin to explore the magical oddities raging around them, Con finds himself caught up in far more serious matters than that of his own karma.

As with all of Jones' books, I couldn't make head or tails of this one on the first reading. Plots, magic, ghosts, manipulation, romance, and the proper procedures for footmen all jumble together in an endlessly complicated, yet pleasing mix. I'm sure it'll all make sense at some point. And I enjoyed seeing some of what occurred between The Lives of Christopher Chant and Charmed Life.