Monday, May 26, 2014

The Islands of Chaldea

The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones, finished by Ursula Jones

If you haven't read anything by Diana Wynne Jones by now, PLEASE go read another one of her books. She was an amazing author who always struck me as under-appreciated.

One of her most known books to me is Howl's Moving Castle which was adapted into an animated film.

Sadly, Diana Wynne Jones died in 2011 before she could complete this book.

Luckily, her sister, Ursula Jones, is also an author and managed to finish the book from what Diana had already written and the author's notes. Probably with a bit of her own ingenuity as well.

As a fan of Diana Wynne Jones, it was nice to read her last book with its rich story speckled with humor.

An amazon summary, "The Islands of Chaldea is a new novel of magic and adventure by the renowned fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones, who left behind many acclaimed and beloved books upon her death in 2011, including the internationally bestselling Howl's Moving Castle and the Chrestomanci books. The Islands of Chaldea was completed by Diana Wynne Jones's sister Ursula Jones, an acclaimed novelist and actress.

Aileen comes from a long line of magic makers, and her Aunt Beck is the most powerful magician on Skarr. But even though she is old enough, Aileen's magic has yet to reveal itself. When Aileen is sent over the sea on a mission for the King, she worries that she'll be useless and in the way. A powerful (but mostly invisible) cat changes all of that—and with every obstacle Aileen faces, she becomes stronger and more confident and her magic blooms. This stand-alone novel is a perfect introduction to the novels of the beloved Diana Wynne Jones." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

So that Amazon summary talked about almost everything except for the book. Like what?


Aileen is working on becoming a wise woman; a woman who can work magic. Her aunt is currently a wise woman and has raised her since Aileen's mother died trying to give birth to another child. Aileen undergoes her trial to see if she is a wise woman yet, but she has failed it this time.

Her father has been trapped by a barrier that was erected years ago that separates the island of Largo from the other three islands. Friends and family have been cut off from each other; the trade being cut off with Largo has devastated the islands economies, and the King has hatched a plan to get the barrier destroyed.

Aileen's Aunt is a very clever woman that sees through many strategic moves and manipulative actions people do. She's an advisor of sorts to the King; she's called upon to help bring down the barrier in utmost secrecy. It has been foretold that a group with a man from each island is present, it can bring down the barrier. Aileen's Aunt has been charged with leading the group across the land and gathering the necessary men from the other islands. They have one from Skaar and one from Largo already; but they'll need to pick up the other two along the way.

Their small group gets onto a boat where they open their bags to discover their clothes have been laced with poisons (the queen is potentially trying to kill them as she packed their bags), the sack of gold the King was to give them to aid in their travel had only a layer of gold on top but the rest was filled with rocks, and Aileen's Aunt doesn't care for it one bit.

There are many different colorful characters they run into along the way, the magic of the world is enchanting (pun intended), and I enjoyed ugly-pug's wiley nature the most (haha).

All in all, a good read. I might have to pick up some of Diana Wynne Jones' earlier books again.

Happy reading!

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