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
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?