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!Read Pdf Ø Minor Arcana ⚟ Seven tales of fantasy, including the stories of: a child born to an ordered world, preordained to spread Dissolution; a girl who so loves the sun that she will deny her humanity for all time; and a writer battling for supremacy over her computer keyboard The last story so blackened my review it lost a star I like sad love stories, but NO! Bad Diana! That is not ok, especially since THAT one story took up half the book The rest of the short stories ranged from mediocre to incredible and had that final story ended ANY other way it'd be a 4stair review. It's been a while since I've read something I haven't read before from Diana Wynne Jones For many years I searched libraries and managed to read all of her books except Changeover and this one All of the stories in this were reprinted in the anthology Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories except the final one in this volume The True State of Affairs, so I actually purchased this book just so I could read that one story It takes up half of this volume by the way, so it is much longer than I had expected, practically a novella I expect its length is the reason it hasn't been republished in any other collections I'd heard about The True State of Affairs for a while, and have been wanting to read it for over ten years, probably My favorite of Diana Wynne Jones's books are The Dalemark Quartet and Everard's Ride, and hearing that this story was set in a prototype version of Dalemark made me extremely interested in reading it So little of her work was written in that style However, a lot of information about it was mixed, as many people do not seem to like this story It's definitely targeted at adults, and was actually among some of the earlier things written by Diana Wynne Jones, although it was never published until the 1990s It doesn't really feel like the kind of fantasy being written at the time, so I can definitely understand why her publisher didn't like it It has a strong historicallike fantasy setting, with evocative details and enigmatic characters who have many bad qualities (but are hard not to like, somehow) It's much darker in tone and a bit pessimistic regarding humanity compared to the majority of her work It doesn't have much of a plot eitherI think it's intended to evoke a feeling rather than tell a story The story it does tell is quite subtle and comes out in a kind of convoluted way Not in a bad way, though I enjoyed it a lot, though I was quite surprised at the directions this story went in Somewhere about halfway through, I began to think This is the sort of thing I was looking for! I would definitely recommend it to those who can enjoy a book for mood and setting It's written for adults, but still has the kind of unconstrained feeling most of her children's books have The plot of this story is quite simple A woman from our world (Kent, to be precise) named Emily is sent to a strange alternate universe to aAngloSaxon version of England, called Dalemark She first meets people from one side of an ongoing civil war, but her companions used her as a decoy so they could get away, and she has been imprisoned in their place and is being interrogated On the other side of her prison's courtyard, Emily can see the courtyard of another prisoner She becomes intrigued by him, and they soon find a way to pass messages to each other Emily eventually learns that her new admirer is involved in the ongoing turmoil as well, and as their relationship progresses, so does the war I thought the ending was perfect, somber and without much hope It suited the tone of the story very well I anticipated the ending as I was reading, but if you expect happy endings you may be disappointed With a theme about placing intangible hopes in other people, it couldn't really be otherwise, could it?It also had quite a bit of development for side characters like Edwin and Wolfram Emily thought they were disgusting at first, but, like her, I kind of came to like them even though they never became less disgusting Diana Wynne Jones didn't write many characters like them, as this whole story is full of shades of gray and not much light and dark I think most of her children's books have a stronger light/dark dichotomy I think if I reread The True State of Affairs I might noticethan I did the first time I'm sure I'll want to read it again soon. This is a collection of mainly short fiction with one novella The introduction by DWJ tells about the genesis of the stories and some at least were written to explore how a character in a traditional tale might feel; hence 'The Girl who Loved the Sun' is written to explore why characters in mythology are turned into trees or animals which she felt must be because at some level they wanted to be I had read two of the stories before and wasn't that taken with them especially with 'The Master' which just reads like the account of a dream and has no real conclusion 'The Sage of Theare' is a minor puzzle set in the Chrestomanci worlds featuring him as a minor character and with a somewhat inconclusive ending 'Dragon Reserve, Home Eight' could again be set in the multiverse of Chrestomanci as a group of worlds are defended by punitive rulers who execute anyone who has psychic abilities but it then turns out that those abilities which include being able to communicate with dragons are the only thing that can defend them against aliens who run amok and capture the population as slaves.'What the Cat told me' is an odd story told from a cat's POV, said cat having been used as a tool by a black magician so this is the tale of how it helped a boy in its own self satisfied cat way and the outcome 'nad and Dan adn Quafly' is a daft story about a writer whose word processor becomes a conduit to a male rebellion against a female space faring dictatorship I actually disliked that one whereas the others were soso.The best item in the collection, though I still won't be keeping it, is the novella which concludes it 'The True State of Affairs' This, DWJ's introduction reveals, was a story for adults inspired by reading the account by James I of Scotland of how he wiled away his time while imprisoned by watching a young woman who he always saw in the distance and never spoke to and afterwards never considered again DWJ wrote this as an exploration of how the recipient might have felt So the ending is sort of given away in the intro But the interest in the story is its character development as the female prisoner writes down her feelings and experience on paper that is granted her by her jailors We soon learn that she should not be locked in a turret room in a fortress with only a small yard outside for exercise because she was arrested in the mistaken belief that she was someone else called Hilda When it became clear that she wasn't, she remained in prison because it was felt that she must be a supporter of Hilda's although they seem to think she is from 'the north' Gradually it becomes clear that the country in which she finds herself is a fantasy one split into different regions and that there is rebellion by oppressed areas against a couple of tyrants.The prisoner, Emily, who is from Kent in our world, soon realises that there is a male prisoner across the way on the far side of a deep drop a man she can only see by standing in a certain area of her exercise yard and he also has to appear within a narrow area to be seen His bearing and appearance make a deep impression on her and she ends up having a secret correspondence with him on scraps of paper carried by an oblidging serf, against a background of the continuing conflict outside their jail and the other man's role in it For it becomes clear that he is an important leader of the resistence.The characterisation is interesting: despite Emily's loathing of the chief of her jailors, Wolfram, who is related to one of the tyrants, she eventually comes to see that he is a deeply unhappy man and even to have sympathy for him although this is almost her undoing The small cast of characters are well delineated and all the various vissitudes of confinement The only thing that I found a bit of a let down is that the ending, although 'obvious', lacks a real sense of closure: we are left not knowing not only how Emily has got to this world but also how she can get home And because it is slipped in very late in the tale that this is Dalemark (but I think probably quite different to the Dalemark series written much later for a start, these people worship Norse gods) it also raises the question of whether Dalemark also forms part of the multiverse that features so much in a lot of DWJ's other fiction Anyway, I enjoyed that story muchthan anything else in the book and it was an interesting insight into the kind of thing that DWJ could have writtenof if there had been receptive publishers/agents in the intro, she tells how an agent she sent it to told her some years later that she hadn't bothered to read it as no one wanted to read this fantasy stuff and DWJ should really give up writing!Overall this rates at 3 stars. Not sure why I keep picking up short story collections when I don't really LIKE short stories lol.