[[ Ebook ]] ⇲ Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories ⇚ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free
This was a fairly fun anthology Not the author's best work, but not her worst either Highlights: Nad and Dan adn Quaffy gets a mention because it's about a writer whowell, I can't explain it without giving away the story, but it was quite amusing Not my favorite in the book, but it was fun.The Master is a thoroughly strange story, and rather creepy to boot, but interesting to read and try to puzzle out what's going on I have certain suspicions about what happened after the story's endI'm not sure whether or not to be glad there's no sequel.The Girl Who Loved the Sun is also interesting, and rather reminded me of a folktale It was a bit sad bittersweet,like.No One is scifi, not fantasy, concerning a robot and a mechanized house (a la Ray Bradbury's There Will Come Soft Rains) It was not quite like anything I'd read before, though I suppose that could be because I haven't read much scifi.Little Dot was splendid But I might be biased, since it had a great many cats in it and I'm rather fond of cats Everard's Ride is a novella, and probably my favorite selection in the book Another world within our own, a bit of a mystery, and a fair number of twists (only about half of which I guessed before they happened) And it didn't have a perfectly neatandtidy ending, which surprised me a bit a lot of Mrs Jones's stories do (It actually boosted this book's rating by a star, all by itself.) Lowlights: I'm not going to mention any specific stories in here, but I've noticed that quite a few of her short stories (in this and other books) follow a certain formula of Beastly adult(s) introduced Beastly adult(s) are steadilyandbeastly Other adults are unable or unwilling to do anything about it Child(ren) (likely precocious) must put up with beastly adult(s) Eventually, circumstances or the children themselves conspire with magic to humiliate or otherwise get rid of the beastly adult(s) It'snot my favorite sort of story, let's put it that way Overall, though, this is a pretty fun collection Worth a read if you're a Jones fan.
[[ Ebook ]] ⇥ Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories ↭ Master storyteller Diana Wynne Jones presents a riveting collection of unpredictable tales, including:* A cat tells how the kindhearted wizard she owns is suddenly called upon to defeat a horrific Beast* When Anne has mumps, her drawings come to life, and she must protect her home from them* Four children become involved in the intrigue surrounding an innocent prince, an evil count, and a brave outlawThese fifteen stories and one novella will enchant, startle, and surprise! Loved this so much Bear in mind if you're addicted to HEA and HFN, this may not be the book for you The world is heaven and hell combined well, Milton says so, and I find it credible and Diana expects you to be a grownup and take your lumps, be strong enough to deal with the truth.If you've got enough backbone for it, this book is exhilarating. This volume brings together fifteen stories (all but three of which I'd read before) and a novella, Everard's Ride Spanning genres from science fiction to fantasy and even a touch of horror (in The Master), all of the stories show off Jones' wit and wild imagination, qualities which make her one of the best young adult fantasy writers of today (perhaps one of the best fantasy writers of today, period) I was disappointed, though, that so many of the stories had been in previous collections surely there wereto choose from?Among the stories, the standouts are: Enna Hittims, in which a girl who has the mumps draws stories about a fictional hero, who becomes frighteningly real; Dragon Reserve, Home Eight, set on a world in which dragons are real and telepathy is illegal; The Girl Who Loved the Sun, the mythlike tale of a girl who longs to become a tree; Nad and Dan adn Quaffy, a witty story of a typoprone science fiction writer whose computer suddenly starts talking to her; and What the Cat Told Me and Little Dot, both tales of magic narrated by cats.Since I already own and had read most of the stories, I was most looking forward to reading Everard's Ride and wasn't disappointed Alex and Cecilia live in Victorian England, the children of a wealthy farmer; there is a mysterious island near their home, said to be the site of a ghostly kingdom called Falleyfell When an enigmatic stranger comes to the farmhouse one night, Alex and Cecilia begin an adventure which leads them into Falleyfell and the dangerous intrigues of its court Not as inventive as Jones' best novels, Everard's Ride is still fastpaced and thrilling, with glints of humor and vivid characters. The title is so apt in both senses, in that in DWJ's worlds anything can happen (and usually does) plus that for the reader the stories can (and do) provide the magic that may be missing in their ownprosaic world.The stories are a little uneven, as they are aimed at different audiences (those who like whimsy, or cats, or were once in a bygone age bemused by word processors) The novella, Everard's Ride, for me was misplaced in this collection: first, its additional length made the paperback physically awkward to handle and, second, its setting and plot convolutions were a mismatch with the unidirectional flow of the other tales; it should really remain separately published as standing on its own merits That all said, my favourites were the novella and the autobiographical story which opened the collection. I really don't think it is fair to give a blanket rating to a collection of very different stories, so I'm going to break it down a bit , keeping in mind that this book is shelved in the Juvenile section of my library, so I will be commenting on age approprietness or not in each story's review The Girl Jones feels very much like a biographical story, not sure how much of it is or isn't true, but it's rather funny, and as someone who avidly avoided babysitting as a teen, I can totally relate to this story Taken in the light of a silly, biographical tale, I didn't really find anything wrong with it that the author doesn't mention as being a mistake herself Three stars, fine for young adult / teen and up Nad and Dan Adn Quaffy this is a short story for adults, other than the nudity and the innuendo, there isn't much else to the story except a clever play on phonical sounds and words Overall plot could have been interesting if it had wandered a bit farther out of adult fantasy One star, inappropriet for teens, not much better for adults The Plague of Peacocks is a sad cautionary tale and rather antireligious As far as language and such go, it is okay for teens, though a good discussion on the real motives of the Platts wouldn't go amiss Two stars, older teens and up The Master is, quite frankly, mostly just creepy Feels very like a fever dream from the narration and the weird stuff going on and from the poor resolution Mildly disturbing content, offstage animal violence against people, slight innuendo, alcohol use; two stars, adult only Enna Hittims is another good warning tale in how we treat the people around us, and letting your imagination run rampant Violence, peril situations and some language, I would say only appropriet for older teens, though I think the preteens arelikely to actually enjoy the story Two stars The Girl Who Loved the Sun I actually liked, it's a good story about running after the wrong things and the hurt it does to ourselves and others, particularly when you are chasing a lie Painful situations and a sadder ending, three stars, young adult / teen and up The Fluffy Pink Toadstool is a good warning on being consumed by fads and is fairly antihippy (or hippy poser if you prefer) The aspect of the story that I didn't like, was how overall the family didn't respect one another, which in the end the mom learned a lesson, but the others didn't They dealt with it by ignoring her and being rather hurtfull of her feelings Two stars, young adult / teen and up Auntie Bea's Day Out is rather the same overall feel as the last story and Enna Hittums, though ratherclever and humorous The story does end well for the heroes, but they don't really solve the problem Three stars, young adult / teen and up Carruthers, taking into account this was written in the 70's (women's lib issues) it is a bit easier to see where she is coming from, but the main heroine and her father behave horribly to each other, and because of this cause problems for the other two sisters and her mother Again, mutual respect would have gone a long way to solve their problems, but hitting is not the way to fix things Peril situations, family fighting; two stars, older teen and up What the Cat told Me is actually a very clever tale of magic and intrigue and thwarting evil told from the perspective of a wandering cat that is perched on the reader's knee Somewhat dark in tone, though it has a happy ending and slightly sensual (as when the boy sees a beautiful girl the cat doesn't understand until she figures he wants kittens), may also be some language but I don't remember for sure; three and a half stars (can I do that? Well, it is in my review so I don't see why not and it earned that half!), young adult / teen and up The Green Stone is a great play on the epic fantasy story, don't want to ruin the twist, but it is hilarious! Probably my biggest quibble is the fact that it ends in the middle of the action! Some scantilly clad characters, and an off screen zombie attack, but still a solid three stars, appropriet for young adult / teen and up The Fat Wizard is classic DWJ battle of the magics, with unintended consequences Pretty funny, some women's lib stuff, though generally the fault of the town jerk, slightly strange and perilous situations just barely avoided, three stars, young adult / teen and up No One is a rarer DWJ scifi, from the point of view of a robot who has to learn how to work with humans who don't explain very well and take a lot for granted, and machines who are doing their best to thwart it from petty jealousies All while out manneuvoring kidnappers! It's quite fun, though there is some peril and some unanswered questions (view spoiler)[WHAT IS SOMEONE?!?! (hide spoiler)] A good collection of Diana Wynne Jones’ short fiction They’re not all her best work, but there’s some excellent stories here Recommended for her fans.The Girl JonesA most excellent way to get out of babysitting, forever Hilarious Not fantasy, though.Nad and Dan and QuaffyEh, I didn’t care for this one Too selfreferential, and kind of annoying A female writer, at her word processor, makes contact with an alternate universe.The Plague of PeacocksA peaceful village is invaded by new neighbors Their passive aggressive, dogooder ways get worse and worse… until their just desserts are delivered, in the village’s own special way.The MasterA vet takes a latenight call, and is led into a mysterious wood to tend to wolves It’s framed as a dream… but in a far lessannoying way than most “it was a dream” stories.Enna HittimsA child is sick with mumps To amuse herself, she pretends that her bed is a dramatic landscape… but when the tiny adventurers of her imagination come to life, things get out of hand… (Doesn’t most everyone get vaccinated for mumps there days? I’ll look at it as being a period piece…)The Girl Who Loved the SunA story with a mythological feel, about a girl who becomes a tree, believing the sun will love her The Fluffy Pink ToadstoolHa! Hippies might get a bit grumpy about this one, but it’s pretty funny The mom of a family goes on a DIY craze, and foraging for food goes just a bit wrong Auntie Bea's Day OutAn annoying aunt doesn’t pay attention to warning signs at the seashore – and gets farthan she bargained for, on a whirlwind ‘tour’ of all different sorts of ‘islands.’CarruthersDue to an aural misunderstanding, a young girl thinks that a walking stick will magically beat her annoying father The stick talks to her, and moves, but seems unwilling to do any beating People think she’s pretty weird for bringing a cane everywhere, and talking to it But in the end, she’s vindicated… in a rather unexpected way What the Cat Told MeAn evil wizard uses boys for nefarious purposes, but, with the help of a cat, one may finally escape… told from the point of view of the cat, which one may either find cute, or mildly annoying.The Green StoneA funny takeoff on the quest story All the heroes, sidekicks, and what have you are assembled at the inn yard, and a bard is there to report on their deeds But the quest unexpectedly get aborted… in, of course, an unexpected way.The Fat WizardA smalltown story of magic gone wrong… or possibly, unexpectedly right (“losing weight” doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be “in shape…”)No OneAn amusing scifi story about a very poorly programmed household robot.Dragon Reserve, Home EightA familiarfeeling but very enjoyable story… on a colony world, those with psychic powers are kept in swift and brutal check So it’s not surprising that some families would try to hide their children’s abilities The end of the story makes too much effort to backpedal from the nastiness the story has brought up, but I still liked it.Little DotAnother story from a cat’s point of view But I liked this one I’m not sure why Bast would be a Caribbean lady, not an Egyptian woman, but it’s fine A bunch of cats must drive off their rescuer’s new girlfriend before she takes them to the pound… but she isnefarious than even they could have guessed.Everard's RideThis is not a short story; it’s a whole novel Not even a novella It’s around 230 pages long Why it wasn’t published as its own book, I do not know It’s an early work by WynneJones, originally written in 1966 It’s a very nice romantic fantasy… If one travels to a small island in the proper way, a medievalish ‘pocket’ world is discovered … Although rumors abound of ghosts, it’s very real, and there may bethere for some of the characters than there is ‘here.’ It's my preference for short story collections not to give star ratings to each story, but to mark whether I felt positively or negatively toward them when I finished each 1 The Girl Jones 2 Nad and Dan adn Quaffy (fun)3 The Plague of Peacocks ☺ (love when people get what's deserved)4 The Master 5 Enna Hittims 6 The Girl Who Loved the Sun 7 The Fluffy Pink Toadstool ☺8 Auntie Bea's Day Out 9 Carruthers (main character was a brat from the first moment)10 What the Cat Told Me / (not worked out well)11 The Green Stone /12 The Fat Wizard 13 No One 14 Dragon Reserve, Home Eight 15 Little Dot (read this in another anthology a few days ago)16 Everard's Ride (the novella in this collection)As every story in this collection had been previously published elsewhere, I think this particular publication of them is best for those who already know DWJ's work and are fans of her The type of story changes so much from one to the next, the age of the intended audience is so different from one to the next, and it starts with a story that is probably only really interesting to those of us who are interested in DWJ as a person, that for this to be an introduction to her would probably be somewhat disastrous I quite enjoyed it, however. If you don't want to read this entire book, start at the end with Everard's Ride and then work your way backwards through the stories When you get to stories you don't like, stop, because they only diminish in quality the closer you get to the beginning of the book I think some of the stories even ones I didn't really like could be worked into pretty good fulllenth novels But here in their short story form, they just don't do much for me Besides the novella Everard's Ride, which I really liked, my favorite short stories were Dragon Reserve, Home Eight, Little Dot, and maybe as a distant third, What the Cat Told Me Based just on the short stories, I would give this a solid two stars, but Everard's Ride brings it up to three stars for me. This is probably a really good book to start with if you don't know DWJ yet It's a collection of (magical) short stories and one novella (Everard's Ride), which was also my absolute favourite piece out of the book It's a very dense story, not quite a fairytale, rather a sort of medieval tale, really gorgeous.What I love most about DWJ's stories is that magic, in all of her writing, is an everyday thing it's part of life, usually not mentioned as something special She makes it seem natural and you begin to feel that everyone has a little magic after all.