Intro: It has been seven years since the death of Diana Wynne Jones, and I've been a fan of hers since childhood, but I had never read this series before.
The Dalemark Quartet, arguably the most effective series Jones ever wrote. Jones' genius didn't lend itself to sequels. When she created a world and characters she said all that she wanted to say in that first volume. That's why many sequels often had mostly new sets of characters, if not new worlds, and often, fell flat. Dalemark is a magical kingdom divided among feuding lords, with a sharp division between those in the North and those in the South. Ideology, prejudice, and history must be overcome and its fate rests in the hands of children, sometimes scattered over centuries.
The Spellcoats takes us deep into the history of Dalemark, before there was a kingdom to be divided. It is a story of survival and overcoming prejudice and becoming one's own savior. Treated with Jones' characteristic wit, this was my favorite of the quartet by a long shot. There were additional puzzles to solve and it was wonderful coming onto every new bit of lore Jones threw my way.
Next: The Crown of Dalemark
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