I have just finished reading Diana Wynne Jones’ “Fire and Hemlock” and as usual, my mind is buzzing around with questions and trying stressfully hard how to connect the dots in the story. This is only my first reading but I do know that in order to understand her story, I have to go through at least another round, as suggested by Garth Nix in his introduction to my copy of the book.
“Fire and Hemlock” is my third book of hers; the first two were “Howl’s Moving Castle”and “Castle in the Sky”. What I like about her books is that the stories she wrote are all in connection to some older literary works, for example the latest book I have just put down. In “Fire and Hemlock”, there are references and usage of two older poetry-texts: Thomas the Rhymer and Tam Lin. These two texts are linked to solving the mystery of the story, which I will not summarize. After reading the story and finally deciphering the puzzles, my mind would say “Wow! That IS clever of her!”.
My brows are still furrowed, as if I had just gone through a History or Science class and have to fit all the information into my head. That is the feeling. It is not a bad feeling; it only means that my brains are working. Lol!
To Ms. Diana Wynne Jones, thank you for the awesome and mind-wrestling stories you had written over the decades and I am quite sad to say that I have only just started reading your books a few years back. RIP.