Title: Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones
Scored a: A+
Hexwood was my favourite book for years and years. It didn’t fall out of favour with me so much as The Neverending Story fell into favour, but it’s still dear to me.
Hexwood is a book with a lot going on in it. And when you think you know the plot, it turns out you don’t. And even when I was rereading it with that fact in mind, it still totally side-swiped me, because my memory is terrible and I got caught up in believing the narration.
One of the plots is one day a young girl is very sick and notices that people are going into the Hexwood Farm and not coming out again, and she decides to investigate. In the process she gets caught up in an Arthurian legend. Then there’s all the other plots.
Diana Wynne Jones books have one major flaw, and that’s usually their endings. But in this case the ending is pretty solid and all the threads running around the story tie up together pretty tidily.
A problem with stories with a lot of moving pieces is they can leave you frustrated from the feeling things are being kept from you, but in the case of Hexwood you don’t get that feeling at all, as things aren’t kept from you, but things are added instead as things go on. You think you’ve got a stick figure and then it turns out to be an elaborate oil painting. Like pieces clicking into place.
If you forget things like I do, this book has an excellent reread value.
Just a warning though, later on in the book is some pretty intense child abuse. Like Dogsbody‘s animal abuse it makes sense in context, but it’s fairly shocking. When I got to that part I had to stop and look at the ceiling for a while. I’d managed to totally forget that part.
I’m glad a lot of Diana Wynne Jones’ oeuvre has been made available digitally, as it allows me to revisit my old favourites since my paper books seem to continually shift around the house and into hiding.