Diana Wynne Jones: The Game

I read this because it was Diana Wynne Jones and the library had it; if they hadn’t, I’d have waited and bought it once it was in paperback (or possibly earlier, if I’d checked the price; it’s only $11.99 in hardback). This is a young adult novella, 176 pages double-spaced with large margins; I assumed hardback book = hardback price and so did not consider buying it at this time, but I’m glad to see that the price is reasonable.

Hayley is an orphan and lives with her grandparents. Her grandmother is very strict (everything has its place and must be in it); her grandfather is less so. He works at home, and has rooms full of newspapers and books and maps and computers (rooms for each). They have a large house on the outskirts of London, and she is home-schooled and only occasionally leaves the property, always in the company of a maid (and often just shopping for the household). Her grandfather often gives her books to read and shows her various things on the computer (sometimes cartoons, sometimes more educational); her grandmother is often upset by whatever he shows Hayley. One day, Hayley wanders into his rooms while he is looking at the mythosphere and feels drawn to it; her grandmother is appalled and tells her to forget about it. Of course she doesn’t forget it, and ends up being sent off to relatives in Scotland, where she finds out more about it and spends time wandering through it.

I feel kind of culturally-ignorant for failing to identify many of the characters, even when called by their full names or otherwise blatantly identified, but they were not strictly mythological. I was happy to see the guide at the end. I really enjoyed this (only put it down long enough to change rooms); I do like anything that involves wandering through worlds, changing things as you go; I also enjoy books loosely based on fairy tales, myths, and/or legends or books using those sorts of characters in other settings, especially the ancient gods or heroes are still among us type stories. My only complaint is that the ending seemed a bit abrupt. This is an extremely minor complaint; the resolution was satisfying, but happened too fast. I will buy this book eventually.

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