[[ READ EPUB ]] ☟ Power of Three ☠ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

I haven't reread this in at least five years; no idea why This is one of Diana Wynne Jones's strongest standalones It's great (Note: so is Melissa's review After reading that, I need her to write me a definitive DWJ ranking so I can argue with her about it.)Right off the bat, here's the one thing I dislike (and I remember disliking it way back in seventh grade, too): an aspect of the ending (view spoiler)[I've never found it very plausible that two adult British staid governmenttypes would follow a bunch of strange, possibly nonhuman children to the bottom of a lake to meet with a king who lives in the caverns below That seems like a leap of faith most adults wouldn't be keen to take (hide spoiler)] [[ READ EPUB ]] ☟ Power of Three ⇴ Ayna could predict the future Cari could find what was lost Gair thought he was ordinary The three children of Gest, the chief of Garholt, know the perils of the Moor on which they live The Dorig, their people's enemies, are coldblooded, fierce underwater creatures who terrify anyone unlucky enough to happen upon them The Giants are dangerous and violentBut it's not until their home is invaded that Gair learns of a dying curse that endangers all three peoples of the Moor A curse that ordinary Gair, with the help of his extraordinary brother and sister, may be able to break, but only at the most dreadful risk to all three, and to the Moor itself Diana Wynne Jones' Power of Three is, if memory serves me correct, the first book I ever owned It was given to me for Christmas, when I was quite young I loaned it to a friend in seventh grade and it came back to me smelling of applesauce It no longer smells of applesauce, but I remember pressing my face into the book for the smell I've glued the spine back together once, and a section is currently trying to fall out again I don't want to replace it.Jones' particular genius is writing books for children that adults can enjoy I probably don't need to tell you this, given how many people on my flist have Diana Wynne Jones listed as an interest This book fills me with joy in the same way that Darwyn Cooke's New Frontiers does: it's a story of human endeavour, and possibilities It's uplifting, never trite I believe it may actually cure cancer.The theme of the book is making peace Well, that and a coming of age story, and a story about fathers and sons, and etc., but I find the making peace story the most compelling It's a fixit for most of human history (never mind the actual species involved) in which things go right Yes, great sacrifices are called for, yes, there are stupid misunderstandings, but in the end, it is possible for peoples to get along A hopeful modern myth for peoples taught to despise each other. This book is neat! I'm not sure I've ever seen someone do such a good job of creating fantastical nonhuman species with such powerful differences from, as well as similarities to, humans.For some time, it's easy to assume that Gair and his people are humans, of a sort, living in a fantasy world with the Dorig and Giants It becomes clear before long that the Giants are actually humans, while Gair and his people and the Dorig, as best we can tell are versions of fairies I like that this is done taking advantage of, but not belaboring, the idea of humans as big, noisy, dangerous, and oblivious.DWJ does a good job with that thing where each species thinks of itself as people and everyone else as Giants and Dorig, or Giants and Lymen, or fairies They all have myths and stories about each other, some of which are totally propaganda, like the Dorig being coldblooded There's also stuff that's used insultingly, but you don't get the impression anyone actually believes it, like when the Lymen say that Dorig are descended from frogs Then, there are things that actually come from truth:Dorig kids: Yeah, well, Lymen eat caterpillars!Giant kids: Is that true?Lyman kids: *Thinking* Of course we do, let me tell you about Giant kids: Because BLARGH that would be HORRIFYINGLY DISGUSTING.Lyman kids: NO, WE DEFINITELY DO NOT.Like a lot of myths and fairy tales, this story is sometimes unexpectedly dark Certainly there is the murdered Dorig at the beginning, but I also found it striking that, when the Dorig later invade Garholt, they claim not to have killed many Lymen We don't actually see anything about any specific members of Gair's community who were killed certainly no one with a name but it is sad to think that, at the end, when everyone's celebrating the peace between the three Peoples, there are still a few people who have just lost friends or family members.I very much like the scene when Gair and Gerald are about to be sacrificed Gerald freaks out, and Gair muses that this is because Giants deny death Gerald cannot imagine himself actually being killed Despite having lost a sister, he's never seen anyone die Gair has, and though he really, really wishes he didn't have to, he can accept that he's going to be killed.Which leads me to the way the collar is actually appeased: Gair volunteers his life in place of someone else's, and Hathil refuses to kill him I liked this a lot I don't think this even needs quite as much setup/preexplanation as it has, but it's still very well done.I was nervous at times because things would turn out to be not what they seemed in a way that occasionally made them seem less fantastical For example, the Dorig, who live in the water and look like silvery reptiles, are actually much like Gair's people, but with silvery magical wetsuits They breathe air and look a lot like Lymen I felt similar when the Giants turned out to be humans nervous, because I don't like when stories end up being less magical and fantasyish than I thought But on the other hand, the Dorig still have yellow sheep's eyes and they're still shapeshifters So really, it's not less magic, just different.There are some excellent emotional points here, too I like the expressiveness of Hafny's morgery the idea that, as a shapeshifter, he reacts to complete misery by turning into a creature with no limbs, eyes, or ears Of course, the bit at the end makes it apparent that he did this as a ploy, though I'm sure he really was crazymiserable at the time (That did disappoint me a little Sort of like in Another wonderful offering from the inimitable Diana Wynne Jones, Power of Three is an earlyish fantasy but one which displays all her trademark tics: a tricksy plot with an ending which has you rereading the last few pages wondering what has just happened (and how), a selfdoubting protagonist with talents largely hidden from them, and a narrative that while riffing on traditional themes, tropes and traditions still manages to read as a oneoff original.We begin the novel assuming this is high fantasy: a seeming pastoral medieval community that is also au fait with magic, with some individuals able to divine the future, find distant objects and gifted with the power of suggestion As we delve further we realise that it's quickly morphing into socalled low fantasy with the modern age beginning to impinge, first at the fringes and then at the centre.Underlying this is the growing sense of triadic groupings, as suggested by the book's title: three siblings; Three Impossible Tasks, in the best fairytale tradition; three peoples (humans, the Dorig and the Giants); three powers (the Sun, the Moon and the Earth); and over all these, the Old Power, the Middle and the New It all makes for a heady concoction, with a twist about a third of the way in.Ayna, Gair and Ceri are the children of Gest of Islaw and Adara of Otmound, living in the earth mound of Garholt Their lives are proceeding much as children's do, some ups, some downs but in the background there is trouble brewing, trouble that seems to have been exacerbated by an incident involving Orban, the brother of the children's mother When he was young he killed a young Dorig, but not before an awful curse involving the Old Power, the Middle and the New was laid on a golden collar or neckring, what we know as a torc.Before even the children are born their future mother Adara can only be won by Gest achieving Three Impossible Tasks set by Adara's father; these are solving riddles, obtaining a Dorig's torc without killing him; and moving a massive boulder from a haunted mound to another mound Folklorists, medievalists and lovers of fairytale will recognise these kinds of tasks set by prospective fathersinlaw keen to see off potential suitors But it is the manner in which Gest completes them that ultimately has repercussions that threaten the lives of his children and his people.To discussof the plot would give away too many spoilers so I will resort to discussion of incidentals that have particularly intrigued me First is the author's invention and use of names These have a sufficient unfamiliarity to sound foreign to Englishspeaking readers while yet retaining a general Northern European feel Indeed, some names reminded me of Celtic forenames (Ayna seems close to Irish Áine, for example, actually pronounced something like 'Onyeh', and Ceri, pronounced 'Kerry', is a common name for both girls and boys in Wales) Their father Gest (probably with a hard 'g' sound) puts me in mind of Lady Charlotte Guest who produced one of the first translations into English of the Welsh native tales called the Mabinogion; in fact one of those tales, Culhwch ac Olwen, is the epitome of tales of impossible tasks, this time with the suitor hoping to marry a giant's daughter.The choice of names for the mound dwellings in this novel are also revealing of the way Jones thought through the nomenclature for her fiction For example, Beckhill means 'eminence by the stream', Islaw incorporates hlaw, the Old English for a burial mound or barrow, and Garholt includes holt meaning a burrow for an otter or similar burrowing animal, all entirely appropriate for moorland interspersed with streams, scrubland and marsh.There'sConsidering the times the author lived in and her personal circumstances I findclues embedded in the matrix The author lived in Oxford until the midseventies, and the western end of the Berkshire Downs the Lambourn Downs is the chalky upland in the south of Oxfordshire, quite probably an area she knew well This is doubtless why Oxford gets its mention here Also, across central and southern England there are several examples of medieval moated sites, and for the Moat House in the novel the author may well have drawn on her knowledge of some of those in the area around Oxford (of which there are a few, such as Gaunt House at Standlake, some inhabited and others in ruins).In addition, the issue of deliberate flooding of the moor in Power of Three is one that was in the news in the sixties and seventies The community of Capel Celyn in North Wales was devastated by the decision to build the Llyn Celyn reservoir to serve the people of Liverpool and the Wirral, and the flooded valley of the Tryweryn is commemorated by a constantly renewed slogan painted on a rock face south of Aberystwyth stating Cofiwch Dryweryn ('Remember Tryweryn') Such strong nationalist feeling in Wales was reignited with the militant burning of English holiday homes in the late seventies and eighties All this pentup anger and suspicion I'm convinced fed into a major strand of this novel, the mutual hostility between people, Dorig and Giants because of a proposed reservoir.Yet underneath the themes of curses, enmity, magic, literary triads and so on beats a living human narrative This is a tale of a child who doubts his worth, of sibling loyalty, of fear of disappointing one's parents, of bullying and betrayal and of the menace of an unjust authority This is a story of jawjaw rather than warwar, of talking peace rather than the blind cycle of vendetta, and of considered evolution instead of violent revolution It also explores issues around feeling overweight, and about blindly following cultural precedents and social prejudices, for example.While the solutions that conclude the novel might seem a little pat, even confusing, there is no doubt in my mind that Power of Three has a sense of organic growth, with beginning, burgeoning and end following one another in a constantly renewing cycle: this is a universal tale while still being rooted in a very English landscape. It's interesting reading most of a body of work in publication order like this, for all I have been familiar with these books for years This again feels a step closer to what I most associate Diana's writing with, and indeed I think Charmed Life where it all *really* started is next up I could do without the way body size is handled, but it was after all the seventies. *Spoilers*As is the usual case of a DWJ reread, I liked it much better the 2nd time through because I understood it better I think the size differences or the lack thereof kept throwing me off the 1st time.This is a good, solid read that starts off with a murder and a dying curse and goes on to show how that curse has affected everyone in it's field of influence The novel is just as much about the power of the three races working together as it is about the power of words Words play a huge role in solving the problems and lifting the curse and Diana weaves them beautifully, especially when she describes how the Dorig king is being hunted by the words that the giants and lymen are using in the negotiation in order to get him to agree to the terms They talk around him in such a way that his own people would be against him if he didn't agree It really is a compelling scene.This would be a good read from someone who likes classic fantasy, but doesn't mind a few modern elements such as radios or the mention of the London water council. Diana Wynne Jones is one of my absolute favourite authors, and there are several of her books that I reread almost every year, but for some reason (not sure why) I’ve skipped over Power of Three the last few years, so this is the first time I’ve read it in ages—and it has been an absolute joy to rediscover it! I love this book The characters and the setting are so incredibly well written How can you not fall in love with Gair and Garholt and the moor? I love how Jones sets the story in the world that we live in, and that magic is everyday and ordinary, and that the three different folk—Lymen, Dorig, and Giants—all insist that they are people and the others aren’t, and that they all think that what the others do is magic.Reading this again made me realise that one of my alltime favourite tropes is that of the loner/misfit/outsider This book has that trope in spades, with Gair who thinks he’s ordinary in a family of gifted people, but who in fact is extraordinary in his own right.Wonderful, wonderful book. Complex magical setting which is slow to unravel? Winsome and “untalented” boy protagonist? Allegorical plot solved via several unveilings of reality? There are not really any elements that separate The Power of Three from some of my absolute favorite Diana Wynne Jones novels (the Chrestomanci novels, among many others come immediately to mind) And with that in mind, it is really amazing how consistently enjoyable I find her work when The Power of Three shows how easily such disparate parts can fail to cohere For one, I find Gair’s world (and his personality) to be a bit on the generic side and thus what is intended as a slow burn tends toward instead aimlessness That the nature of this magic in his world and the personality of Gair himself don’t particularly tie into the resolution of the central conflict result in me feeling like it’s all a little bit of useless set up Also, as plottwiststhatunveiltheallegoricalmeaning go, it’s a little transparent and straightforward From such a frequently subversive writer, it’s almost didactically simple and unbearably cheesy that the resolution requires intervention from a third party (unnecessarily introduced about at around the two thirds mark) I’m not sure how I might have received this as a child, but frankly, one of her few entries in which I see very limited appeal beyond its marketed audience Rating: 2 stars*Also, this is one of the few times I find her treatment of gender actively suspicious. Some of Diana's earlier work, and you can tell She caught up with her golden era some ten years later The elements are there, but they're not harnessed with the brilliance especially found in her works published in the 80s'.Cute Very cute, but anticlimactic all the way through Likeable, but distant characters The ending was really rather flat and boring, albeit very reasonable I don't know I kind of feel the same I felt about Hexwood – it was okay, but nothing remarkable, and the last quarter just made me want to finish it off as quickly as possible.I am probably being a little harsh with my rating because I expect a lot from every DWJ book I pick up – because, really, what can else could you do after such masterpieces as Fire and Hemlock and Archer's Goon – but this was really just another okayish book to me and no .Extra points for a great plottwist though, (view spoiler)[low fantasy masked as high fantasy, nice and well done (hide spoiler)]