Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Book
Series: Chrestomanci series #4
333 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: When he was a young boy, Christopher Chant learns that he is able to travel to other worlds in what he at first thinks are his dreams. After being neglected by his busy parents, Christopher welcomes the affection and praise of his Uncle Ralph, who is fascinated by Christopher’s ‘dreams’ and runs several experiments with him, having him fetch various parcels and goods from these worlds to bring back to their own. Christopher’s father, however, hates Uncle Ralph and has Christopher taken away to Chrestomanci Castle, where Christopher learns that he is actually a powerful enchanter with nine lives, and destined to become the next Chrestomanci.
My Thoughts: The book never explicitly states this (and it’s not a spoiler at all) but Christopher Chant is the Chrestomanci from Charmed Life. Which is very exciting because Chrestomanci was my favourite from Charmed Life, and it was fun to read about Chrestomanci/Christopher’s childhood, how he became the Chrestomanci, and how he came about to lose seven of his nine lives (which, if you read Charmed Life, you already know he only has two. I still remember, from Charmed Life, when he told Cat how he only has two lives left after he lost seven of them foolishly in childhood — this is the childhood!!) You also discover how Christopher meets his future wife, Millie, and it’s actually kind of cute, although I never would have guessed that Millie was a living goddess from another world! It’s almost kind of sad how such an adorable couple end up having lazy, piggy Julia and Roger as their children in the future, hahaha. The only thing I’m not quite sure about is at what point did Christopher develop a taste for expensive silk robes?! (In Charmed Life, he has quite a flair for fashion)!
The Lives of Christopher Chant is a very fun and adventurous book, with a plot that’s more complicated than Charmed Life, and in some ways, more scary (chopped up mermaid body parts, anyone?) Not to mention some pretty frightening deaths that happen to Christopher! This book dives much deeper into the series of different worlds and parallel worlds, something that I was disappointed with in Charmed Life, but Christopher Chant more than makes up for it. Christopher’s personality in childhood is a little different from his adult form, but it’s not an unreasonable stretch; I suppose he grows into his adult personality later, in events that occur after this book. Millie is a bit of a surprise, I would have never guessed that she was this fiesty little girl in childhood, but despite all of that, the characters are lovable and endearing. I really loved Throgmorten, the cat who seems to be permanently pissed off.
If you’ve ever read any of the Chrestomanci books and enjoyed them, you should definitely read this one too. Chronologically in terms of story events, this is the first book of the series, so you can’t miss out on this. Even if you’ve never read a Chrestomanci book, this is a very fun story, very magical and funny. I’d still recommend reading Charmed Life first, because I think partly why I liked The Lives of Christopher Chant so much is because I already read Charmed Life and thus, know what the future holds for Christopher, but either way, this is a must read for fantasy fans.