SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1269 The Game, by Diana Wynne Jones Book Review |

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The Game, by Diana Wynne Jones
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Puffin
Published: 2007
Review Posted: 2/3/2009
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 4 out of 10

The Game, by Diana Wynne Jones

Book Review by Sean T.M. Stiennon

Have you read this book?

Since before she can remember, Hayley has been raised by her grandparents in a quiet English town, tended to by an endless series of nannies. When a mysterious street performer named Flute introduces her to the alternate realm of myth and legend known as the Mythosphere, her Uncle Jolyon--who seems to exert a powerful influence over her grandparents--is enraged. He removes her from their care and sends her to live with her aunts and cousins in Ireland.


There, however, she is included in her cousins' favorite game: A scavenger hunt through the Mythosphere, with such items as a scale from the Zodiac Dragon or a hair from Prester John's beard in demand. Hayley quickly discovers that her family--and her own identity--are inextricably bound up with the mythosphere, and that it may hold the key to finding the parents she's never known.


At less than two hundred pages, The Game is short even for Diana Wynne Jones, but it manages to cram several cool ideas into a small package. Central, of course, is the Mythosphere itself, a colorful amalgamation of legends and myths from across the world, with Greek cosmology holding pride of place. Particularly cool was her vision of the modern Hades as a soulless cubicle farm.


However, most of the book's supporting cast--including Hayley's grandparents, her various eccentric cousins and aunts, her sinister Uncle Jolyon, and the twin musicians Flute and Fiddle--get fairly little development, given the book's novella-length. All have mythological identities, but with varying importance to the story.


The book's strengths include a sympathetic protagonist: Hayley thinks and acts like a pre-teen girl moving from a sheltered existence and into a world far broader than any she had ever dreamed of. Jones also portrays the Mythosphere and its inhabitants in excellent, evocative prose, from the heavenly creatures of the Zodiac to the dark, wild forest that the Furies call home.


Although short, The Game is a nice, colorful read that will hold particular interest for mythology afficianados.

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