//by Diana Wynne Jones//published 1997//
So it’s been a while since I read a DWJ book, and Deep Secret was an excellent read to jump back in on. (Wow, terrible grammar. Oh well.) In Deep Secret, DWJ again shows her fantastic world-building skills by creating an alternate universe just enough like our own to make you wonder if she is, in fact, writing about an alternate universe, or simply the way it really is.
Rupert is a Magrid. These powerful magicians are given jurisdiction over various worlds, and are in charge of making sure things happen the way they are “supposed” to. This way is determined by a group of magic workers/possibly gods/goddesses who live in the Upper Room and make decisions about what all needs to happen throughout the universes. We start our story with Rupert having a Very Bad Day as he is called to his least favorite world to solve a problem (and doesn’t; things go rather dreadfully) and then returns home only to find out that his friend and mentor is dying. Not only is Stan’s death sad on a personal level, it means a lot more work for Rupert. There must be a constant number of Magrids, so the loss of Stan means Rupert is now in charge of finding a replacement.
Frequently, I find DWJ’s stories very confusing or garbled, but Deep Secret really made sense for me. I found I was able to keep characters straight (mostly), and the magic made sense, too. I also really, really liked Rupert, and ended up liking pretty much everyone on Rupert’s team of friends. Per usual, the villains are quite villainy, and they meet some very strong just desserts in the end.
This is another of DWJ’s “adult” fantasy books, but far more PG than the last one I read (A Sudden, Wild Magic).
Overall, Deep Secret was a 4/5. It has a loose sequel, The Merlin Conspiracy, that I’m getting ready to start, so I’m pretty excited about that as well, as it really felt like DWJ had created a very intriguing world in Deep Secret.