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The Chronicles of Chrestomanci Vol II: The Magicians of Caprona / Witch Week (1980)

por Diana Wynne Jones

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1,80498,879 (4.07)25
Adventures of the Chrestomanci, an enchanter with nine lives, whose job is to control the practice of magic in the infinite parallel universes of the Twelve Related Worlds.
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it took a little bit to get into these worlds, especially the second story, but once I did I couldn't put them down! ( )
  yonitdm | Sep 1, 2022 |
"The Magicians of Caprona": third in the Chestomanci series, like the first, focuses on other main characters, with Chrestomanci mostly a walk-on deus ex machina. The multi-universe aspect of the series is used just to set up an alternate Italy where city states continue to war with each other, in this case, the underdog is the small city state of Caprona. The context is a Romeo and Juliet families at war situation, but the driving plot is the gradual loss of magic, due to an unknown magician working in league with the enemy city states. The primary protagonists are several young members of the Montana family, forced by circumstance to work with members of the hated Petrocchi family. The warring families aspect of the story is annoying because it's so obvious where things will go. Fortunately other threads in the story line keep things moving in enough of an unpredictable way to make for a fun story.

Recommended as an entertaining colorful story.

"Witch Week" is the fourth Chestomanci novel, though the connection is delayed for the bulk of the book. It's one of a number of her boarding school novels, and as negative on the experience as the others I've seen. But if school is stressful and unfair, the world at large is worse: the students are at the school because they are witch orphans. That means their parents were burned as witches. Burnings are a regular event. The threat of being exposed and burned is an accepted danger of everyday life. The story follows Nan, whom everyone suspects is a witch, and Charles, who fairly early on discovers he definitely is a witch. Both have a rebellious streak but Nan tries to suppress it, while Charles revels in it.

Recommended as a prime example of the distinctive voice of Diana Wynne Jones ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Apr 26, 2022 |
This volume holds two stories from the Chrestomanci series: The Magicians of Caprona and Witch Week. Each story focuses on a different alternate dimension, with the Chrestomanci serving as the ultimate go-to for all magic-related weirdness going on, so he serves as a unifying force throughout the stories.

The Magicians of Caprona

This is a loose retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story, but more focus on magic and war rather than romance. Two houses of famous magicians are feuding, because–well, reasons,–and they each think the other one is horrible. Because of that, Caprona is weakening and there is a war on the way that they probably can’t win. It looks especially dire when two young magicians (one from each family) go missing and each house thinks the other kidnapped the missing child.

I loved this so much. Jones just has such a way about her writing to make the stories particularly magical. Many of the twists were predictable, but the simple telling of the story was wonderful. The characters are brilliant and so vivid, they’re practically jumping off the page at you, walking around with you as you read. There were some characters that revealed unexpected depths in this story, and I enjoyed how everything was woven together. Magic, romance, action, adventure, mystery — this story has EVERYTHING you could possibly want. I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s my favorite Chrestomanci story so far.

Witch Week

In a dimension where magic is outlawed, there seems to be a whole lot of magic happening at a boarding school. A teacher gets an anonymous note from a student that hints that the person using magic might just be in their own class. Drama and suspense ensues.

I didn’t like this as much as Magicians of Caprona, but I still liked it quite a bit; it just took a lot more for me to get into this one. Much of the beginning just seemed to focus on some whiny teenagers, which I didn’t find particularly interesting. What hooked me in, though, was the idea of magic being outlawed in a dimension where there is clearly a lot of magic going around. The best parts in this book for me were when magic was used and how BRILLIANTLY it exploded out of people who so desperately tried to keep it in. The action picks up a great deal halfway through when Chrestomanci shows up, and I enjoyed the resolution a lot. These twists were less predictable than Magicians of Caprona, and I liked how it tied in nicely with a previous book in the series.

Overall, though, I greatly recommend the entire series. Diana Wynne Jones is a gem and writes such brilliant middle grade fantasy; it’s stuff that will keep you thinking about long after you’ve read it. She’s definitely an inspiration and one of my absolute favorite writers of the fantasy genre. Her Chrestomanci series is no exception.

Also posted on Purple People Readers. ( )
  sedelia | Feb 5, 2018 |
Review from The Cosy Dragon

After reading the first book in this pair, I realised that I hadn't read either of them before. I was glad, as it would enable me to review the book from an adult's perspective as well as a teen's.

The first novel 'The Magicians of Caprona' is very similar in nature to Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' or the film 'West Side Story', although of course it is set in a world with magic. The protagonist, Antonio Montana, is able to speak to cats but his magical skills seem lacking. The spells in his part of the world are fading - Caprona is under internal and external attack. Then, when things just seem to be sorting themselves out, Antonio Montana and Angelica Petrocchi are kidnapped.

Although this book is in the same world as Chrestomanci, those hoping for a sequel to Volume 1 in these Chronicles will be disappointed. These books are chronicles, not sequels. That being said 'The Magicians of Caprona' was an enjoyable read, and I'd recommend it for ages 10 and up. Not a speck of bad language, and only a small fear element. You'll probably never look at Punch an' Judy the same way again though!

The second novel 'Witch Week' is still light hearted in tone, but deals with heavier issues, such as bullying and individualism. The four main characters who happen to be witches cause mayhem in school. This is in a world which burns witches where the worlds have no split correctly. It is a problem that only the Chrestomanci can solve, but he needs a lot of help as he's out of his home world. Again, the Chrestomanci element comes in only at the end of the narrative to save the day.

It is the vivid characterisation that makes this book, rather than extensive descriptions of Larwood house. I would probably recommend this book for ages 12 and up due to the somewhat contentious themes. ( )
  Rosemarie.Herbert | Feb 14, 2013 |
In two very different worlds, one in which Italy is still divided into city states, and another, which split off ours when Guy Fawkes managed to blow up Parliament, the Chrestomanci has to intervene to solve problems. In the first novel (which riffs brilliantly off Romeo and Juliet at a couple of levels, with some nice visual wordplay on a famous race-car driver) it's about conflict in the Tuscan state of Caprona, and how that is solved. In the second, a crisis at a boarding school in a late twentieth century England where witches are still being burned. This story has some rather interesting echoes of the Holocaust as well as every boarding school novel I've ever read.
  Fledgist | May 21, 2012 |
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Adventures of the Chrestomanci, an enchanter with nine lives, whose job is to control the practice of magic in the infinite parallel universes of the Twelve Related Worlds.

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Média: (4.07)
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