Title: Power of Three
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Series: – –
Genre: Children’s Fantasy
Gair is the only one in his family without special powers. His father is a hero and his brother and sister both have Gifts, while Gair is just ordinary. So when a powerful force threatens his people, he thinks he will not be able to help. But there is a secret about Gair that he will only discover in his time of need…
Source: Christmas present
I am a big fan of DWJ and this book has so many of the things I love best about her writing – an ordinary seeming child in an extraordinary situation, interesting family dynamics, the natural world, magic and a storyline that isn’t afraid to dig deep and ask important questions.
Gair is the middle child, born of a hero and a famous wisewoman, his older sister, Ayna, has the Gift of prophecy while his younger brother Ceri can find anything people ask him to. A serious and solemn child anyway, Gair feels distinctly ordinary amongst his talented family, unaware that he’s actually pretty special himself – he’s clever and likeable and a deep thinker. Because he doesn’t have a Gift of his own, he sets out to learn all that he can in the hope that his wisdom might make him feel less ordinary. It doesn’t, but only because Gair has enormous self-esteem issues.
Yet this book is about more than just Gair and his family; it’s also about the Moor on which they live and the dangerous Dorig that are the enemy of Gair’s people. It’s a feud that stretches back beyond memory, with the Dorig living under the waters of the marshy Moor and Gair’s people living in Mounds on the surface. There are also Giants to contend with, but since they’re so large and loud and often at war with themselves, the other races try not to have much to do with them.
The story itself starts with a curse between two ancient enemies, but it goes so much deeper than that. Gair has his own battles to fight with himself, while also tackling wider issues of the Moor and the troubles between the three different races who live there. Gair struggles with bullying and worries that he’ll never be good enough, yet at the same time he meets Giants and Dorig and discovers that for all their differences there are many similarities too. And that he has his own skills in dealing with them.
Overall I enjoyed this one. Gair is likeable, with his good qualities balanced out by his faults. I liked his siblings too, even if Ceri is a little spoilt. I really liked that his parents are real people, and that both the Dorig and the Giants were allowed to be people too. This is not a book of black and white, good and evil, but all the complicated shades of grey in between, mixed in with magic, wonder and enough humour to keep everything moving smoothly along. However, much as I liked the twists and complexities – often hidden just below the surface – it felt a little anticlimactic at times and didn’t quite wow me the way this author often can. So it’s not my favourite DWJ book, but I liked it and would happily read it again sometime.
The Power of Three is Out Now!
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