There exists a small group of authors that leave me in awe every time I finish one of their books. Jasper Fforde is one, as is Charles de Lint. Patricia C. Wrede writes books that I would happily read over and over for the rest of my life. Another author on this select list is Diana Wynne Jones. Although I haven’t read all of her books, whenever I do read one I finish up almost wanting to cry in appreciation of her storytelling skills.
Her latest awe-inspiring story is Enchanted Glass. It’s more middle grade than young adult, but it’s a story that transcends labels. It’s quite simply a fun tale full of myth, action and spot-on characterization.
The plot is a common one – an orphaned boy finds out that he’s a terribly power person with lots of baddies after him. After many small adventures (but no quest) everything is resolved and the orphan ends up with a new family.
But as all good storytellers do Wynne Jones takes this well-known (and overdone) to tale and turns it into something brand new and exciting. She also does it in a way that most writing dbooks tells new writers to avoid like the plague.
She headhops. She doesn’t stick with a single character. Instead we finding ourselves inside the heads of several different characters. However, it’s not random. Wynne Jones has obviously chosen whose head we get to see into as well and when. New authors are warned away from this omniscient writing style because it can easily appear slopply, but Wynne Jones, being a master storyteller, uses this much malaligned way of writing with superb skill.
I can only wish to reach her level of skill one day.