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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


*Witch's Business

by Diana Wynne Jones

Reviewed November 10, 2002.
Greenwillow Books, New York, 2002.  Originally published in 1973. 201 pages.

I love some of Diana Wynne Jones’ books, so I was delighted to see another one come out.  When I found I didn’t like it very much, I was relieved to learn that it had been written so long ago.  I think she’s gotten better since she wrote this one, though it may be just that she has a wide variety of material, and I don’t happen to like this particular subject.

Frank and Jess Pirie need some money.  They decide to go into the revenge business.  They figure they can pay off the ten pence they owe by doing a couple of jobs getting revenge on someone.  What they don’t know is that the old lady in town who’s rumored to be a witch really is one.  She feels that revenge is her own business, and the kids get tangled up in it far more than is comfortable.

This is no light-hearted Harry Potter story.  That witch is truly evil, and the plot even involves a gang of bullies who sell themselves to her.  It almost seemed too realistic—some normal kids going about their business getting tangled with a nasty old witch.  Yes, I know that a lot of kids like scary stories, but this one seemed more unpleasant than scary.

Fortunately, I can report that Diana Wynne Jones has written some outstanding books in the years since she wrote this one.

Reviews of other books by Diana Wynne Jones:
Cart and Cwidder
Drowned Ammet
The Spellcoats
The Crown of Dalemark
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin
Conrad's Fate

Unexpected Magic
The Merlin Conspiracy
Wild Robert
The Ogre Downstairs

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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