The Islands of Chaldea – Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula Jones

It’s been a long time since I read anything by Diana Wynne Jones. Apparently not since I read Year of the Griffin in 2013. This is probably a slightly unusual pick as it is a book that was published only after Jones’ death. It was finished by her sister, Ursula Jones, who’s an actress as well as children’s author. THE ISLANDS OF CHALDEA was almost finished but DWJ died in 2011 before it could be completed. So it fit into a task: “published posthumously” for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks reading challenge on Storygraph. 

Aileen is the niece of a powerful Wise Woman on Skarr, and she’s supposed to have powers too, but it doesn’t seem to have surfaced. Aileen, Aunt Beck, Prince Ivar and his servant Ogo are sent on a mission to lift the curse that has divided the islands. 

I enjoyed their journey through the different Chaldean islands, which are based on the United Kingdom. Aileen is a lovely character, who grows from a girl doubting her abilities to a more confident, strong young woman. 

This was a cosy and comforting read, full of magic and adventure. It was a nice change to have one timeline and an easy to follow plot! Or maybe I have just been reading too many books that switch between perspectives and timelines. 

If you’ve read DWJ, what’s your favorite book of hers? Other than the Derkholm series (Dark Lord of Derkholm; Year of the Griffin), I’ve read only Howl’s Moving Castle and Hexwood.

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