What Diana Wynne Jones book should the Folio Society publish next?

Now that they’ve published two titles by Diana Wynne Jones (see my post on the latest, Castle in the Air), the Folio Society has surely seen the wisdom of producing more. But which ones?

House of Many Ways, which has been marketed as the third book in the “trilogy” that started with Howl’s Moving Castle, would seem to be the obvious choice. We are a series-obsessed culture, and marketers love this because they can thereby sell many books in the place of one. But unless Folio is planning to publish the complete works of DWJ (a fantastic idea that is unlikely to come to pass), I would venture to say there are much better choices for a third, fourth, fifth or even a dozen or more further Folio editions.

Before you shout “series completion!” please note that Howl’s Moving Castle was never conceived as the first book of a trilogy. Castle in the Air followed quite soon, but it’s more of a companion book than a sequel. House of Many Ways was published only many years later, as a sort of afterthought, and I personally find it one of Jones’s weaker works. It’s far from the brilliance and originality of some of her earlier books, although it does have its fans, and features an extremely unpleasant character that actually gave me nightmares and that I have no desire to see in illustrated form. I’m afraid that if this is the next book published, Folio readers who don’t know better will be unimpressed or even repulsed, and squash any further publishing plans.

So what would be a better choice? My top suggestions are:

  • Charmed Life – the first of the Chrestomanci books, which if you insist on publishing a series, is a much stronger choice. There are six books in the sequence, which is not really a series, but are set in related worlds and share some characters. And it includes some of my all-time favorites.
  • Fire and Hemlock – Jones’s masterpiece, which really deserves the Folio treatment and would provide some fantastic visuals.

I also recommend:

  • The Homeward Bounders
  • Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy
  • Power of Three
  • Archer’s Goon
  • Dogsbody

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not against publishing House of Many Ways or any other book by Diana Wynne Jones. I’d just love to see her best get the honor, preferably sooner rather than later!

What book by Diana Wynne Jones would you put on that special list?

Linked in the Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts At Midnight.

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12 thoughts on “What Diana Wynne Jones book should the Folio Society publish next?

  1. I second Fire and Hemlock, and like the suggestions Charmed Life and Power of Three (the latter with an almost timely environmental strand) but I’d like to put a word in for a couple of others. I found the autobiografictional Time of the Ghost to be even better than I remembered from a first reading; also Black Maria (Aunt Maria for North American readers) is a chilling study of a sociopath on the verge of being psychopathic.

    And you remind me that my reread of Archer’s Goon is well overdue…

    1. And I should really reread Black/Aunt Maria. The need to combat sociopathy is only growing in our world, so it would be good to have some tools.

      Time of the Ghost is also very powerful. Recently it struck me as a kind of warm-up for Fire and Hemlock, with which it shares many elements, but in a more autobiographical form that becomes transformed in F&H. Publish them both, please!

  2. Absolutely definitely Fire and Hemlock. Though there’s no DWJ book that I *wouldn’t* want to see get the Folio Society treatment! But yeah, Fire and Hemlock seems like the obvious choice.

  3. Fire and Hemlock gets top spot for sure. Power of Three would make for some lovely illustrations, as would Homeward Bounders. Chrestomanci books would probably be a good seller, but I would go for Lives of Christopher Chant before Charmed Life!

    1. Those two would make a good “duology” – that would nicely complement the two Howl books.

  4. I wasn’t hugely keen on House of Many Ways, either, compared to the first two. I think Charmed Life would do well as it’s my favourite of hers and would give some great illustration options!

    1. I think it’s a favorite for many and would introduce those who aren’t familiar with DWJ to another aspect of her work. Fingers crossed that this wish might come to pass.

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