Share on:. Despite a 30 year publishing gap, The Pinhoe Egg picks ups where Charmed Life left and it does it with remarkable continuity. Cat Chant, a fledgling nine-life enchanter is living in the Chrestomanci castle with the Chrestomanci family and is continuing to study, explore and recognise the nature of his own magic. In this, he gets help not only from his formal tutors and other members of the magical family and the Castle staff, but also from several unusual and unexpected characters and creatures including an untameable horse, an old unicorn and a creature that hatches from the large purple egg of the title and no, it's not a dragon. The main action plotline of The Pinhoe Egg , however, concerns the villages and countryside that surround the Chrestomanci Castle.
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Share on:. Despite a 30 year publishing gap, The Pinhoe Egg picks ups where Charmed Life left and it does it with remarkable continuity. Cat Chant, a fledgling nine-life enchanter is living in the Chrestomanci castle with the Chrestomanci family and is continuing to study, explore and recognise the nature of his own magic. In this, he gets help not only from his formal tutors and other members of the magical family and the Castle staff, but also from several unusual and unexpected characters and creatures including an untameable horse, an old unicorn and a creature that hatches from the large purple egg of the title and no, it's not a dragon.
The main action plotline of The Pinhoe Egg , however, concerns the villages and countryside that surround the Chrestomanci Castle. They are inhabited by some very old and very secretive clans of witchcraft-possessing people who have been successfully keeping themselves out of Chrestomanci's sight and doing their own thing, the thing they have always done, for several hundreds of years.
When an old and powerful witch heading one of the clans loses her mind while keeping her magic an out-and-out conflict erupts between the Pinhoes and Farleighs. From the plague of frogs and ants to nastier things like whooping cough and smallpox, mayhem ensues and it's up to Marianne Pinhoe and Cat Chant to sort things out. As in the Charmed Life , the cast of characters is wonderfully colourful, memorable and vivid without sliding into one-dimensional caricature. Moral judgements are often delayed and, as in real life, it takes time to work out what people's intentions are and there are very few easily condemned baddies.
His development in this story is directed towards finding about different kinds of magical talent people can posses and there is a particular focus on life-affirming, pantheistic, "life force'" ability which is as much about understanding and communicating with other living beings as about formulas, knowledge and technicalities.
The character of Marianne Pinhoe carries the serious moral message of The Pinhoe Egg , though it is so seamlessly embedded in the adventure story sprinkled with humour than it almost never become preachy or irritating, even to a jaded adult reader like this reviewer. The notions that The Pinhoe Egg touches on most are about self-belief and bravery, doing the Right Thing despite being discouraged, put off and even threatened.
Marianne is a marvellous character, strong and deeply good, but lacking in confidence and not only not recognised but actively dismissed by most of her family and other people that surround her, even the ones that wish her well. As befits a good moral and coming of age tale, she perseveres despite the setbacks and in the process grows up and develops as a person, while discovering things about her family including her parents that she would probably prefer not to be true.
In fact, the last sections of the The Pinhoe Egg read to an adult like a great pastiche of a soap-opera storyline, what with "living a lie" motif mixed with an idea known best from science fiction, of children survivors reinterpreting practical behaviour of their elders as cast-in-stone religious rules and taboos that are - senselessly - followed for generations. The paternalistically kind, but still identifiably policing-like role of Chrestomanci was tad too obvious though, and it all got wrapped up a bit too nicely.
Children probably won't mind though - in fact it's a hopeful and optimistic ending entirely appropriate for young readership, and in keeping with the way Wynne-Jones mixes the spectacularly magical, the cosily homely and the emotionally profound. The Pinhoe Egg contains a number of 'beyond the book' extras, which allow for clarifications and world building, while keeping the readers interested in further - and previous - books from the Chrestomanci series.
This book should appeal to similar readership as its predecessor, as it has a similar mix of colourful, fairly complex characters, truly enchanting magic described in detail, mayhem and humour typical of children's adventure stories and realistic psychology, this time concentrating on parents-children relationships.
I think the youngest children, who can enjoy Charmed Life , would probably not be able to follow the complexities of the story, narration switching from Cat to Marianne and the intricacies of the final explanation. Readers around 10 years old should be up to it. Despite deus ex machina resolution, I liked the whole of The Pinhoe Egg a lot and so would many of young fantasy fans. Ursula LeGuin's Voices , though perhaps better suited to slightly older readership, also has a character endowed with life-force type of magic and a young girl developing morally through a conflict situation.
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Category: Confident Readers. Reviewer: Magda Healey. Summary: A mix of colourful, fairly complex characters, truly enchanting magic described in detail, mayhem and humour typical of children's adventure and realistic psychology make for a captivating addition to the Chrestomanci series. Recommended for readers of 10 and up. Date: April
The Pinhoe Egg
Old School Wednesdays is a weekly Book Smuggler feature. We came up with the idea towards the end of , when both Ana and Thea were feeling exhausted from the never-ending inundation of New and Shiny and often over-hyped books. What better way to snap out of a reading fugue than to take a mini-vacation into the past? Cat Chant and Marianne Pinhoe have discovered something exciting—something truly precious, very strange, and valuable.
Wynne Jones is at the top of her form in this excellent addition to the Chrestomanci books, set not long after the events chronicled in Charmed Life. Marianne's summer gets off to an unpromising start, thanks to her grandmother, the willful and manipulative Gammer Pinhoe, head of all Pinhoe family witchcraft in Ulverscote and the other villages surrounding Chrestomanci Castle. Marianne becomes errand-runner for her entire extended family when Gammer lurches into a punning, malicious and wickedly funny form of dementia, the seeming result of a run-in with another local witching family. Meanwhile, up at Chrestomanci Castle, Cat Chant last seen in Charmed Life has inadvertently become the owner of a horse named Syracuse, whose powers include helping Cat recognize the presence of dwimmer, a mysterious, nature-oriented magic. On a trip to Ulverscote, Cat meets Marianne, recognizes her as a kindred spirit and becomes the caretaker of a mysterious egg they find in the attic of Gammer's house. Wild magic ensues as the egg hatches, long pent-up nature spirits are released, ugly secrets are revealed, and Marianne and Cat confront terrifying challenges.
It was the last published of the seven Chrestomanci books to It revisits Chrestomanci Castle and the character of Cat Chant from her first Chrestomanci book, but also introduces the character of Marianne Pinhoe, who lives in the village near the castle and whose family practices a rather different sort of magic from any that Chrestomanci or his charges have encountered. The Chrestomanci books are collectively named for a powerful enchanter and British government official in a world parallel to ours, who supervises the use of magic —or the Chrestomanci, an office that requires a powerful enchanter and is responsible for supervising. The Pinhoe Egg is set in our time, during the tenure of Christopher Chant, who is Chrestomanci in five of the seven books and is often called Chrestomanci as a personal name.