Book Review: Witch Week

June 15, 2010


Witch WeekThe librarian recommended the audiobook version of Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones (narrated by Gerard Doyle) to my daughter several months ago.  The book is part of DWJ’s Chrestomanci series, which we didn’t know until after we finished the book.  In Witch Week, witchcraft is a burnable offense, so when someone in Class 6B is declared a witch, it causes lots of complications for the class as well as the school.

What I Liked

– Gerard Doyle is an AWESOME narrator.  Oh my goodness.  His line readings are amazing.  AMAZING.

– Fantastic characters.  What I really like is that one of the protagonists actually becomes unlikeable near the end of the book.  It was an unexpected turn, but works really well and makes perfect sense.

– That is because the storytelling is so neato.  Her descriptions are so vivid, the setting is believable, and, though there are a lot of characters, it’s easy to keep track of them all because their voices and characteristics are so unique.

– Not only is the book about magic and witchcraft, it is also thoroughly about the injustices of adolescence.  Getting picked on mercilessly, not being able to do anything right, the desire to escape.  But also, finding unexpected friends and allies.

– I love the humor in the book.

– “It hurts to be burned.”

What I Didn’t Like

– As mentioned above, we didn’t know the book was part of a series, so when Chrestomanci shows up, it didn’t quite make sense to us because, though he is explained, there is the idea that we should know something about who he is and where he’s from.  Also, he affects the narrative in a big way, so knowing a little about him would have helped.

That said, it’s perfectly clear in the narrative what’s going on, and his appearance didn’t detract from the narrative aside from a small discussion we had after the book was over.

In conclusion:  This book was a lot of fun, and it is an AWESOME audiobook.  Did I mention that Gerard Doyle is amazing?  I kind of want to listen to other books he’s narrated now.  My daughter and I are also interested in more Diana Wynne Jones.  It seems weird to mention the author second since she provided the source material, but Doyle is really that good.

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