I can’t believe I’m only reading my first Diana Wynne Jones novel now, at the age of 51! This is exactly the kind of book I have loved since early childhood, and I have no idea how they managed to pass me by?! This is a dark, witty and thoughtful look at traditional fairytale/fantasy storytelling. I’ve always wanted to watch the film, and never got around to it, although after reading some people’s reviews who have both read the book and seen the film, it seems like the film makes the characters nicer and less complex, and it was the fact that the characters had both light and dark in their personalities that I liked about the novel (or at least that was one of the things I liked!). Once or twice, the book seemed to suddenly burst into an action sequence and I’d get a bit confused and have to stop and read over the previous few pages to get my bearings again, but other than that (and perhaps that’s because I’m getting old, bless me) I loved every minute of it.