Author: Diana Wynne Jones
My rating: 5 of 5
Unlike most boys, David is not excited about the holidays. You wouldn’t be either, if you had to go stay with an odious great-uncle and his family, eat awful food, wear clothes that make you feel like you’re smothering–and then be told you should be grateful for it all! This holiday, David is so frustrated by everything that he starts spouting nonsense in private, pretending to put a curse on his abhorrent relatives. Of course, nothing happens. Or so he thinks . . . but then, the garden wall’s all torn up, and this boy calling himself Luke comes along, saying David released him from a long imprisonment. David is less than convinced, but he’s certainly in need of a friend, and Luke seems a likely candidate. And the more he’s around Luke, the more David’s life gets interesting–maybe even better. He even finds that he has an unexpected ally in his relatives’ home!
As with all of Diana Wynne Jones’s books, Eight Days of Luke is an engaging, unique fantasy. Definitely super fun! For a greater part of the story, there’s a more slice-of-life feel to it, even though there are clearly fantasy–or shall we say mythological–elements at play. I can’t recall the story specifically stating the country it’s placed in, but it certainly feels Scandinavian. Which fits, considering the mythology woven into the story. And may I just say, it’s woven in expertly. There are enough clues scattered throughout the story that the informed and attentive reader could probably pick out who the characters are supposed to be . . . although I personally was oblivious until the end. I think it would be fun to figure out along the way, but it’s also completely enjoyable to read as just a story. Oddly enough, while this story is absolutely Jones’s to the core, it reminds me somewhat of Roald Dahl’s writing as well–partially setting, partially basic plot elements, and partially characters. I think the characters in this story are particularly human; they show an incredible awareness of the quirks, moods, and tendencies present in all of us as well as an amusing grasp of the odd ways in which those tendencies present themselves in various individuals. Expertly done, for sure. Eight Days of Luke is definitely a book that I would recommend highly to just about anyone, and particularly to those who love fantasy stories and/or Norse mythology.