Book Review: The Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones

Book Review: The Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones

Title: The Power of Three
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Paperback: 336 pages
Source: Chicago Public Library
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Ayna could predict the future.
Cari could find what was lost.
Gair thought he was ordinary. The three children of Gest, the chief of Garholt, know the perils of the Moor on which they live. The Dorig, their people’s enemies, are cold-blooded, fierce underwater creatures who terrify anyone unlucky enough to happen upon them. The Giants are dangerous and violent.

But it’s not until their home is invaded that Gair learns of a dying curse that endangers all three peoples of the Moor. A curse that ordinary Gair, with the help of his extraordinary brother and sister, may be able to break, but only at the most dreadful risk to all three, and to the Moor itself.

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Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I can’t believe this Jones book isn’t as popular as Howl’s Moving Castle, because it is just as good and is easily one of my favorite fantasy reads this year. I came across it just by browsing books by Jones — I was in the mood for a decent young adult fantasy and I’m so glad I came across this gem.

The Power of Three is about Gair, the oldest son of of Chief Gest, a hero, and Adara the Wise. His siblings both have extraordinary gifts, so he thinks he’s ordinary, even though everyone else looks up to him and seeks counsel from him because of his wisdom. However, he gets stuck in a feud between his people and the Dorig, little knowing that he and his siblings are being drawn into a war that started when his parents were children.

This is my favorite kind of fantasy book. Everything is set up to seem a certain way, but then it turns on its head halfway through and you find out you’re reading a completely different book than what you thought you were. I absolutely loved that, it added an entirely new dimension to the story and the twist is really what makes this book so spectacular. Aside from that, however, the concepts at the heart of this novel are incredibly important; essentially, this story shows how prejudices and assumptions color our perceptions and serve to keep those prejudices and assumptions alive, even if there are facts and truths that are showing us something completely different. I love how brave Gair and his siblings are in exploring new things and being willing to accept new truths, mirroring the hope many of us have for our young people to have open minds and be brave enough to point out the flaws in the adults’ ways of thinking.

The worldbuilding is absolutely fantastic, but I expected nothing less from the queen of young adult fantasy, and the storytelling is just exquisite. I love how the internal struggle with Gair and his ordinariness is coupled with external struggles like Dorigs attacking or being on a dangerous hunt. I feel like Jones included everything about regular life in this book so that it feels perfectly complete and whole. There’s adventure, familial tension, internal struggle, and unlikely friendships, and it really is just perfect.

I highly recommend this book to any fantasy fans, especially those who love young adult fantasy. It’s wonderful.

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