Charmed Life (Chrestomanci #1)

Charmed Life


Cat doesn't mind living in the shadow of his sister, Gwendolen, the most promising young witch ever seen on Coven Street. But trouble starts brewing the moment the two orphans are summoned to live in Chrestomanci Castle. Frustrated that the witches of the castle refuse to acknowledge her talents, Gwendolen conjures up a scheme that could throw whole worlds out of whack. (Summary and cover courtesy of


When I read this book as a tween I remember liking it a bit better, but I do remember I was more interested in “The Lives of Christopher Chant” than of Cat and Gwen.  The problem with this book is that as an adult you look at Cat’s actions and wonder why he doesn’t do something.  He’s very passive and will let himself go with the flow much to his detriment.

The Chrestomanci family is never explained much until the very end and even then it’s only barely in passing.  I wasn’t satisfied with the explanations and wondered why there wasn’t a greater reveal.  In summary, though I enjoyed world-building and setting of the story, I wasn’t particularly impressed by the story itself.  That being said, however, I think this would make a wonderful book to read to kids before bed.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Younger fantasy fans or adults looking for a very light read.

Want to read the whole series?

  • The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci #2)
  • Witch Week (Chrestomanci #3)
  • The Magicians of Caprona (Chrestomanci #4)
  • Conrad’s Fate (Chrestomanci #5)
  • The Pinhoe Egg (Chrestomanci #6)