Diana Wynne Jones: A Tale of Time City

Ngly young age I m not sure which event happened firstTrying to describe the complex plot of this book is probably too tall an order considering my fragile and weak brained bereaved state It begins with Vivian a girl being sent out of London to escape the Blitz which is occurring in 1938 instead of 1940 I might get some details wrong since I don t have the book with me and I haven t ead it since the early nineties Vivian winds up being kidnapped by two kids who spirit her away to Time City a place that s built outside of egular history and which somehow egulates the passage of time But there s a problem some nefarious someone the Time Lady has been screwing around with the mechanisms that keep time unning smoothly and Vivian and her two new friends Sam and Jonathan need to stop them and save Time City and history There s a lot of time traveling through different ages Bronze Iron etc and cool details like the special suits and desserts of Time City Everything ends in a huge chaotic catastrophic climactic mess that doesn t make a whole lot of sense which is one of DWJ s special and to me wonderful signaturesA lot of books I ve ead have had a great impact on me but when I m dead in my grave this one may have been the most important A Tale of Time City was the first book I ead that amazed me completely It was the first work of art I experienced that seemed absolutely perfect It took me outside of my piddling nine year old existence and gave me thoughts and experiences I never could have imagined on my own It made my life so much and so much larger than it ever could have been before A Tale of Time City introduced me to sorry guys the sublime capacity of literatureI was still a kid when I first ead it and didn t fully get yet that magic wasn t eal I didn t know for sure that time travel wasn t possible that time only moved in one direction brutally uthlessly forward and that you couldn t ever go back later and fix anything or change things around I didn t understand yet that I was going to get older and then keep getting older after that even if I felt done I didn t know that my uncle would get sick and lose the brain I admired so much or that my favorite writer would die before I ever got around to meeting her or sending the crazed fan letters I always meant to write Of course I d figure out all that depressing stuff later on as I d be crushed by the tyranny of lost time and an adult life that just keeps on passing me by But even this horror that s eality couldn t defeat me completely Diana Wynne Jones had evealed that there was a efuge a espite a place outside time That magic was eal and time travel was possible that I could duck outside the unmerciful lockstep of days marching me forward towards my own deathI ve been going through sort of an illiterate phase ecently haven t been eading much and definitely have cooled off on eviewing But Jones s death from lung cancer has eminded me that even at thirty two there are still a couple things I do believe in not time travel or magic in a child s literal sense but in books power to free their eaders and also to confer some immortality on their creators I know it s super corny to say but as long as people ead her books Diana Wynne Jones will emain in some vital senses alive Which is corny or not a magic that s eal A Tale of Time City is many things utterly confusing fantastically imaginative highly intelligent and unexpectedly complex Above all however it is entertainingThis book precedes the Harry Potter series but while eading it you eally wonder if JK Rowling was perhaps a Diana Wynne Jones fan I instantly get a familiar feeling with the way Jones describes her magic so belonging logical ational and wonderfully Beside that there s other things people walking through walls at train stations for example and certain types of charactersOn to the confusing part however This book is the most hectic I ve ever ead from J Wonderful children s time travel book One of the things I like best about Diana Wynne Jones is how her children are children and adults are adults What do I mean by that First children are not adults They can t do everything an adult might do They can t win a sword fight with an ogre But they are still competent they might trick the ogre or sneak past the ogre It has been a while so I don t emember an example from this book Second adults are adults In too many YA books the adults are simply stupid Time City I felt did a great job of showing adults who were just as concerned about the time crisis as the kids but because of factors like their age values and esponsibilities had a different view of what was important and thereby wound up hindering the children ather than joining with them Rated PG That Was AWESOME For the ecord I have never cared about historical dates before this book Now I actually emember the year that WWII started and if I learned nothing else from eading A Tale of Time City this alone would make St through the ages of history to save Time City Meanwhile someone seems to be tampering with history changing it over and over complicating everything When Faber John is at last aroused Time City's and Vivian's dilemmas are esolved in ways that are as satisfying as they are unexpect.

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As usual Diana Wynne Jones imagination uns ampant giving us a fun adventure with lots of amazing ideas packed in I want to know what a butter pie tastes like than anything but all of it was interesting and had me trying to puzzle it all outIt wasn t surprising in any way to me anyway because it somehow seemed very typical of Diana Wynne Jones But it was fun and hooked me in wellNot my favourite of her books so far but that would be difficult to decide anyway When your surname is Smith you need to make very sure that everyone knows just which Smith you are At the beginning of WWII Vivian Smith is on board an evacuee train when two boys decide to kidnap her ight out of time Jonathan and Sam are from Time City which exists outside of egular time and history Time and the city itself have suffered from disturbances and the boys hope that the Time Lady can put things ight again Vivian soon finds that they thought her to be the Time Lady in disguise and all three are in distraught over the mix up With nowhere else to go Vivian goes along with Jonathan and Sam to try and find the eal Time Lady A Tale of Time City has a lot of great ideas but wasn t uite what I wanted it to be this book had so many things going for and against it that I feel ather conflicted Time travel stories are awesome but eading this particular one made me ealise one thing I enjoy time travel stories in which the characters travel to the past or in which characters from the past come into our time whereas I am much less keen on ones where characters travel to the future Now A Tale of Time City is neither one nor the other it is actually very confusing But I am still inclined to say that it is on the side of travelling to the futureI like complex and overlapping plotlines but I found this book confusing to the point that I had a hard time visualising most of what was going on Vivian is a character from the late 30 s which makes her part of the past Time City seems a blend of different timelines but as everything is seen through Vivian s eyes many things that we know in our present are new to her As a esult Vivian describes items that are unknown to her but that we as eaders would already know eg swiping ID cards The fact that she describes these things ather than naming them constantly made me want to imagine something entirely different altogether Additionally so much of Time City is introduced within the first few chapters there are so many new names and places that I simply could not keep apart But the confusion aside Vivian is an awesome main character with a lot of spunk She has attitude and a neat thing or two to say I absolutely loved her as a main character and felt all the disappointed that the actual story wasn t living up to her She also seemed to be one of the few ational characters as well as being one of the few who didn t seem to act out of selfish motives While I loved Vivian I was less impressed with Jonathan and Sam I guess Sam was alright I just didn t eally care for him and I felt his personality was limited to the fact that he liked to eat and breathed heavily Jonathan on the other hand could and should have been a neat character He was the driving force behind most of their time travel adventures and he is at least part Chinese which I thought was ather nice But I still found it eally hard to like him What Vivian calls his lordly behaviour I would simply call arrogant He cares a lot about the fact that he is from an important family and he arely sees the error of his ways I also felt that he was often on the selfish side and it was only very late in the book that he was showing some edeeming ualities The other characters were uite the mixed bunch There is an android named Elio who was ather interesting it s a shame his background wasn t explored The villains turned out to be one dimensional in that they appeared to be doing evil things for the sake of being evil there was a definite lack of motivation Now Time City in itself had a very interesting concept I loved how it exists outside of or parallel to the est of time and how the inhabitants were in charge of making sure history flows steadily Diana Wynne Jones set up a complex and interesting system with how time is managed but she leaves it vastly unexplored I also wish there would have been time travel but there sadly wasn t all that much of it The few time travels we get are all set in the future and while not my favourite there were some clever and uniue ideas One period is eferred to as the Mind Wars and I must say it was uite the terrifying concept where peoples minds could be tampered with Like with most of Diana Wynne Jones books there is a lot going on leaving no space for any boring moments Although it may sometimes appear ushed she usually manages to wrap up her endings uite nicely This however was not the case here I felt terribly dissatisfied with the lack of explanation of so many things We don t get enough information about the Time City is built on a patch of time and space outside history It is full of wonders and haunted by time ghosts but it is nearly worn out and doomed to destructionIn September 1939 Vivian Smith is on a train being evacuated from London when she is kidnapped by two boys from Time City.

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Ime Lady and the choices she has made we don t eally get to see what happens to Vivian at the end of the book and there are just so many loose ends and things I would have wanted to know about It just did not feel like an end and I was ather annoyed when finishing the book thinking to myself That s it So as a conclusion A Tale of Time City has a brilliant main character in Vivian has several uniue ideas and is anything but boring But unfortunately it doesn t explore enough of all the interesting concepts and could have been so much Jonathan also needed space and time to develop into a likeable character he was showing signs of towards the end It s among my least favourite of Diana Wynne Jones books but is still a book that is worthwhile the mention A brilliant sci fifantasy story about a city out of time and three children one who s been kidnapped from her home in World War II who have to save it from destruction 8Please note this eview is meant as a ecommendation only If you use it in any marketing material online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first I will ask you to emove that use immediately Thank you I honestly don t know what my issue is with this book It s an interesting story with pretty cool characters But I found it mind numbingly dull Perhaps I went in with too high of expectations because Howl s Moving Castle is one of my favorite books Perhaps I just wasn t in the ight frame of mind I eally tried to like it I kept eading believing I would learn to appreciate it I never did The world felt haphazard and half explained I kept feeling that not only did the characters not eally understand what was going on the author didn t either Nothing was explained in detail from the science and politics to the setting and items they used I got so lost so many times The prose felt messy and jumbled and not just because of the many misplaced commas and periods I don t know who s to blame for those but they pulled me out several times There were definitely some interesting ideas in this book I loved the time ghosts but eading it was a slog Honestly I wish I d stopped eading early on instead of pushing my way through three hundred pages I need a butter pie ASAP Also Elio is the best XD Timey wimey and brilliant So glad I finally ead this one What s the trick with Diana Wynne Jones She was so prolific that uite a lot of her books necessarily fall below the highest standard and several of them are uite formulaic this is one but I have now ead at least 20 of her works and cannot say that I egret eading any even those I 2 starred as just okPerhaps I m touched by the way she sets up her universes She never wastes much space worldbuilding and freuently it all comes off as heavily underexplained but all the time you feel that those worlds exist egardless of anything lost in the tellingIn this one we get the all too usual elements for her young protagonists in secret from adults striving to understand the mysteries of their place in fantasy and save it from impending doom adults stuck in a ut and unable to help or even ealize help is needed conspiracy defeated at the eleventh hour ummm at 1159 would perhaps be exact of course no unnecessary omance no character growth to speak of the characters are too busy working out the things external to find time for eflectionBut the charm so apparent in her best works is definitely lacking here This is the first Diana Wynne Jones book I ever ead My uncle gave it to me one year for Christmas It probably changed my life though I d be hard pressed to say exactly how The above is an old eview Having just heard that Diana Wynne Jones has passed away I ve come back to press myself harder to say exactly how her book changed my life I d like to apologize in advance for my overwrought and melodramatic language I have a giant hangover and am in a highly emotional stateI was just explaining something from this book to my sister a couple weeks ago In Time City there are two kinds of ghosts apparitions of someone who performed the same action so many times that they make a visible imprint and then those left by someone who does something so significant that it leaves a mark in the air I guess my eading this book as a kid could have left either kind of ghost I eturned to A Tale of Time City enough times throughout my childhood that eading it was a epetitive activity but it s the memory of first eceiving the book that s the most burned into my mind My uncle sent it to me in California from New York City where he lived A voracious lifelong eader whose own kid hadn t yet eached eading age that uncle was my model of literary sophistication At Christmas and birthdays he d send carefully selected hardcovers that were clearly serious books children s Literature with a cosmopolitan capital L Each year after A Tale of Time City brought another Diana Wynne Jones hardcover until either I grew up or he developed Alzheimer s at a startli. Jonathan and Sam They mistakenly think she is the mysterious Time Lady disguised as a child Only the Time Lady can wake the founder of the city Faber John from his age long sleep and only he can save the cityVivian wants to get home; Jonathan and Sam want her to help them in their ue.

Diana was born in London the daughter of Marjorie née Jackson and Richard Aneurin Jones both of whom were teachers When war was announced shortly after her fifth birthday she was evacuated to Wales and thereafter moved several times including periods in Coniston Water in York and back in London In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted Essex where her parents worked running an ed