Tag Archives: alternate worlds

Unexpected Magic (Anthology)

Jones, Diana Wynne. Unexpected Magic (2004). 590 Pages. Greenwillow Books. $7.99

There are 16 stories here (fifteen of which are short stories, and one of which is a novella), all written by Diana Wynne Jones (which of course means that they’re fabulous). The highlight of the book is definitely the novella at the end, but all of the short stories are fun, and a bit witty with just a hint of magic. Of course, with a title like Unexpected Magic, one expects a lot of magic, and this book is certainly not disappointing. Despite the fact that the magic is entirely expected, it does find new and creative ways to manifest itself, ways which are certainly not what you thought they would be without feeling like a forced twist. For the sake of space, I’m attempting to keep the blurbs brief (bear with me where I fail.)

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Filed under Book Review, Children's Fiction, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Humor, Romance, Sci-Fi, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Deep Secret

Jones, Diana Wynne. Deep Secret (2002). 375 Pages. Starscape. $9.95

Cover: Deep SecretThe Earth is part of a multiverse; infinite worlds stretch into an infinity symbol. One half represents the “ayewards” side, which is where people believe in, and use magic, while the other half is “naywards” where magic is denied, or does not exist. On many of these worlds are Magids- people who use magic and manage the balance of the multiverse.

Rupert Venables is one such Magid, in charge of Earth and the Koryfonic Empire, and between the two he’s got his hands quite full. His mentor Stan has died, leaving Rupert to find his successor- a search which in-and-of itself is quite a handful. Meanwhile, the Emperor of the Koryfonic Empire has died, and Rupert has to find any of his heirs- a feat which the paranoid Emperor has made all but impossible.

Somehow, all of this takes place at a Science Fiction convention, which makes the whole situation more impossible, and more entertaining. Convention-goers, potential Magids, evil mages, possible heirs and centaurs get all tangled up over the course of Easter weekend. Rupert bungles everything, and yet he somehow manages to sort it all out in the end.

This book starts with an entertaining plot, is paced wonderfully, and keeps you interested from start to finish. None of the characters are particularly bad, and many of them develop between the start of the story and the end. It concludes itself nicely, leaving you satisfied.

The Quick Version:

Though originally marketed to adults, this version is more appropriate for young adults. The book itself is interesting, well-paced and entertaining. The characters all add to the story, and there is nothing at the end which leaves you wanting. Deep Secret is apparently the first of several set in the multiverse, but it stands alone just fine. It gets a 4.5 of 5, if only because there is apparently an uncensored version out there which is much better*.

I’m sure you’ll want to read it, so you can trade for it on Swaptree, or buy it on Amazon.

*Jenny’s Books has an amazing blog post about this censorship. It is well worth the click, because it is so full of win.

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Humor, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction