I make no secret of the fact that Diana Wynne Jones changed my life. I have never loved and probably never will again love an author’s work as much as I love Diana’s. I’ve read her books countless times and am on a constant hunt for the ones I don’t own yet. Her characters and/or books will most likely make many more Sunday countdowns. Here are my 5 favorites.
5. Deep Secret
As soon as I read this one, I wanted to be a Magid. To subtly influence the world in secret? So freaking cool. This was also probably the first time that I ever read a book where the heroine wasn’t uncommonly beautiful. It gave me hope for us normal girls. And the fantasy book convention? I wish it was real SO BADLY. Everyone at the convention is hilarious and awesome.
4. The Merlin Conspiracy
This is one of the rare times when the sequel is as good as or better than the first. In The Merlin Conspiracy, Nick from Deep Secret becomes more of a main character. I LOVE Nick. I love his selfishness and his morning zombieness. This book has world-hopping, a belligerent goat, and fire salamanders. There’s really no way you can go wrong there.
3. Dark Lord of Derkholm
This book is a parody of fantasy tropes, and MY GOD is it done brilliantly with Diana’s signature unraveling of secrets at the end. Many characters are not what they seem. I love Derk’s family of human and griffin children. All are wonderfully and complexly drawn. I wish I had grown up with griffin brothers and sisters. Hilarity, emotion, romance…this book has it all (which can pretty much be said about every book she’s ever written).
2. Howl’s Moving Castle
Sophie made my list of favorite female characters in fantasy books, but it’s really Howl who makes this story so wonderful. He’s vain, selfish, and irresponsible while still being the hero. I think every girl who reads this book immediately falls in love with Howl.
1. Dalemark Quartet
Ok, I’m cheating because this entry is actually for four books. But you can’t separate a series! This is Diana’s epic fantasy, showing that she truly is the queen of fantasy writing. I love how instead of the books in the series being linear, each book covers a character who will play a larger role later on. Everything is connected, and it’s so wonderful to read them and see all of these storylines slowly converge. From the Undying to the incredible world of Dalemark to the beloved Mitt (flaming Ammet!), this quartet is Diana’s masterpiece.