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Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones

  • Author: Diana Wynne Jones
  • Book title: Dogsbody
  • Category: Teen & Young Adult
  • Subcategory: Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Publisher: Greenwillow (September 1, 1988)
  • ISBN: 0688081916
  • ISBN13: 978-0688081911
  • Rating: 4.6
  • Votes: 376
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Found guilty of murder, the Dog Star, Sirus, is sentenced by his peers to live on earth as a dog, mistreated by the family of his young mistress and charged with a seemingly impossible quest

7 Reviews
Moonshaper
This British author has created another hit. This book is multi-layered and very interesting. It is a science fiction/fantasy type story but weaves in a lot of psychological elements and mystery. But, at the heart of it, it is a story about an orphan girl and her dog. Only the dog is actually a demi God-like star being who has been squished into a dog's body. He has to solve a mystery before his time on earth is up or he will fade into oblivion.

***Spoiler alert***

I have warned you. So here are my concerns: there are two characters that are very cruel to animals. At the beginning of the book a very cruel person tries to drown a bag of puppies in a river. We learn later much later that all puppies escape. Also, the adoptive mother figure in the story is emotionally and sometimes physically abusive. It's a strange thing to wave into a sci-fi story but it does work. I would not change a thing about this book, but I just wanted to warn any parents out there about the content. I would recommend this book to much older children because of this.
Berenn
I'm a late comer to the magic of Diane Wynne Jones, and I regret the wasted years. I read this one after the Howl series, and loved it just as much. Jones weaves her truths about people and relationships in a funny, and sometimes heartbreaking way. If you've ever loved a dog, or maybe several, this is a great story for you. Enjoy the magic of love, dogs and wonderful books.
Malogamand
The premise of this book fascinated me and I was not disappointed. There were many mysteries that weren't fully explained, and while it was published int he 70's I do hope the author decides on a sequel to expand on this very exciting and intriguing universe.

The stars and planets are personified, each with their own personalities, responsibilities and nuisances within their society. Referred to as luminaries, the lord of the dog star is framed for murder of another star- and is thrown to earth to find the murder weapon or perish as an earthly creature.

I cant believe I missed out on this book for so long! Highly recommended.
Wrathshaper
A beautiful book which combines knowledge of the firmament and knowledge of the bond between humans and animals. Sirius, the dog star, is tried, found guilty of murder, and sentenced to life on Earth, as a dog.

Diana Wynne Jones blends the worlds of the celestial and the mundane masterfully. We see the world through the eyes of Sirius/Leo as the dog comes to be known. We feel his frustration when he catches only glimpses of memory. And we feel his pain at the inevitable outcome of the story.
Lynnak
The story is absolutely fascinating. I first read this only a few years ago (around maybe age 20), and even though it's a children's book I still loved it. I was VERY excited to see this reprint, as I wasn't able to buy the book before since it wasn't being printed.

Definitely pick this up if you like animal books. But it's not JUST an animal book either. Foremost it is a story of friendship. It's really touching, and even bittersweet. And the fantasy elements give it a more magical feeling. Diana Wynne Jones's way of telling fantasy stories is absolutely wonderful (check out her other books as well! Especially the Howl's Moving Castle trilogy).

I love the added introduction by Niel Gaiman. I haven't read many of his books but I know he was a friend of Jones's. A worthy introduction of such a great book.

Some other reviewers said the (kindle) price is ridiculous and I agree. It's virtually the same price as the paperback, so just get the paperback! Trust me, it's worth it. (And the paperback price is fair, I think)
Usanner
Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones was an absolute page-turner. I was completely immersed within the first few pages of the book. It's certainly a unique concept: the book begins with the star Sirius on trial for a crime he claims he didn't commit. Found guilty, he is sentenced to life in a single solar system, where he will have the opportunity to put things right. If he succeeds, he will be restored to his astral position; if he doesn't, he will live out his alloted lifespan and die. The fates having a sense of humor, he's born on Earth as a dog. And the story presents a dog's view of life masterfully. The book was written in 1975, but is timeless--the humans characters could as easily move through this century as the last. There's an underdog appeal in the story of Kathleen, the human who champions and cares for Sirius as he grows. The daughter of an IRA terrorist, she is the unwanted/misused ward of her English relatives. Readers will likely care for this girl as much as the protagonist. I've read several of the author's books before, most recently _Howl's Moving Castle_, and find that this book, like that, is appropriate for young adult readers without being dumbed down or prettied up for them. I finished it in a day, and immediately set it into the "to read" pile of my 9-year-old son.
Zyangup
It's strange, the things that we can remember so well, and in what detail, even some 30 years later. I read "Dogsbody" when I was a youngster. When I finally moved away from home, I didn't have room for all of my books-most of which ended up in my parent's attic. Alas, I fear my copy of "Dogsbody" was most likely discarded during a parental cleaning of the attic. However, I loved this book so much, I find that I actually memorized many of even the smaller details to my memory, and was just now going over them in my mind. I feared that "Dogsbody" might be out of print, and am delighted to find this is not so. Here I am, in my 40's and I am about to go and order a copy of this delightful tale from Amazon!
I've read a few books by DWJ, with mixed results. I enjoyed this one. Cute story. Have to be hard-hearted not to connect with this puppy. Not a perfect ending (unless there's a sequel in the works), but then life isn't perfect, and seldom can we have everything we'd like.
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