The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
October 15, 2020 7:54 AM EDT

Christopher Chant is a rich but neglected English child, looked after by a rotating cast of nannies and governesses, when he discovers that his dreams are a little different than those of his peers. In them, he explores whole new universes, where mermaids swim and magical cats roam. This is the first sign that Christopher is destined to become the Chrestomanci, a fantastical job created by famed fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones. The Chrestomanci holds a unique position: blessed with nine lives and powerful magic, he is tasked with the responsibility of overseeing parallel worlds. But young Christopher doesn’t know that yet. He becomes a pawn in the illicit smuggling plots of his nefarious uncle, befriends a mysterious child goddess and—eventually—discovers his own formidable powers as an enchanter when he takes his rightful place as the heir to the Chrestomanci title. Published starting in the 1970s as one of Wynne Jones’s seven installments in this series, some of the alternate worlds Christopher ventures to can feel racially insensitive. Christopher’s journey to self-discovery and magical awareness, as well as the author’s creative use of parallel universe theory and a mix of magical powers, make The Lives of Christopher Chant a classic. —Raisa Bruner

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