My rating: 5 of 5 stars
To think, I almost put this book down. There is a very long section towards the beginning of the book that is a badly typewritten story on which parts of the plot depend (you find this out much later) but that is not very easy or enjoyable to read. I was going to throw Fire and Hemlock into the (small) heap of books labeled "books you hate by authors you love" but something - fate? good sense? literary adventure? boredom? undying love of DWJ? kept me going, and boy was I glad I did. Fire and Hemlock is really quite enthralling. Some of the time, you don't have the slightest idea what is even going on, but the characters grab you by the brain, the eyes, the soul, and keep pulling you into the story, not letting you go until the very last page. I kept having to go back and re-read bits and parts, to make sure I understood what was going on; I re-read the chapter twice, and I'm still not sure I understand the end (no spoilers though) A challenging story with a complicated and intricate plot, very unusual and/or unconventional characters and very smart humor (some of it too smart for me - although there was also a fart joke). Who would expect anything else from the majestic Diana Wynne Jones?
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