The rain came down and we took refuge in the library, and although I knew I shouldn't, as I always lose books or the dog eats them, or the kids get goo on them or tear the covers off, I saw a Diana Wynne Jones I hadn't read, and pounced.
House of Many Ways is about a young girl house-sitting a Magicians Magical house and searching for a secret to save her kingdom, as well as finding herself gainful employment as the Kings Library Assistant - among many, many other things - including evil lubbocks disguised as normal people, deceitful princes and wonderful witches.
House of Many Ways claimed to be the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, which I love, although I was curious as I had always thought that Castles in the Air (another LOVE) was the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle.
And... House of Many Ways was inventive and playful and fantastical, with a lovely library-assistant as the main character (always something to make my librarian heart sing) but... the hype was too big. It didn't quite live up to my shiver-happy expectations of a book with Howl and Sophie in it.
For one thing, Howl and Sophie were minor characters at the very end (although I did enjoy Howl's appearance) and for another it seemed to lack the - I think I'm looking for exuberance of the two first books.
Howl's Moving Castle and Castles in the Air I found to be enjoyable, fantastical romps. This one seemed heavier. Less rompish and more like hard work - interesting hard work. But without the same light touch.
But maybe I just read it on a bad day. Maybe I let my expectations spoil me for it's true worth (and there were some wonderful scenes and characters)?
Have you ever had author let down - the first books in a series are great - the last... not as great?
Do you give them a second read - a second chance to love them on their own merits?