Read for the 2009 YA Reading Challenge.
In the Twelve Worlds, only an enchanter with nine lives is powerful enough to be the Chrestomanci – an enchanter charged with making sure magic isn’t misused among the different worlds.
This book is an omnibus of two of the Chrestomanci books. In the first (Charmed Life), when Cat Chant and his sister survive the terrible boating accident that killed their parents, Cat assumed it was because his sister Gwendolyn is a powerful witch. Cat himself can’t work magic.
It’s Gwendolyn’s idea to contact the Chrestomanci, who had written to their father at some point, and seems to have some interest in their family. Before long, Cat and Gwendolyn are installed in Chrestomanci Castle, and when Gwendolyn realizes that they’re not going to let her get away with as much magic working as she’d done in the past, she goes on a rampage. It’s funny at first, but Cat gradually realizes how far his sister is willing to go, and her actions have far reaching consequences for everyone at the castle.
The second book (The Lives of Christopher Chant) takes place about twenty five years before the first, and tells the story of Christopher Chant, who in the first book has become the Chrestomanci. Christopher has the ability to spirit walk, and for as long as he can remember, has visited many of the versions of the Twelve Related worlds. As fun as Gwendolyn’s rampages through Chrestomanci Castle were, Christopher’s adventures in the various worlds are better. He meets a whole cast of interesting characters, and is eventually forced to defend the castle against evil forces with the help of a living goddess, a cat, and the minor magic workers of the castle, after the Chrestomanci goes missing. Good fun, especially after seeing Christopher’s grown up self in the first book.
There are several more books in series, which I’m very much looking forward to reading.