Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

derkholmDark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

Greenwillow Books, New York, 2001

From my TBR pile. Read for Diana Wynne Jones month and Once Upon A Time VII.

The story takes place in a world of high fantasy, where griffins and young magicians are siblings, pigs fly and the mysterious Mr. Chesney runs Pilgrim Party tour groups from what appears to be our world.  Chesney insists on all the familiar scenes, wizards, demons and horrible battles, which include the deaths of some “expendable” tourists. The tours continually wreak havoc throughout the land and destroy many inhabitants livelihoods.  These people are tired of being exploited, but are helpless to fight back until the dragons show up.  No suprise there.

Dark Lord of Derkholm is a parody, filled with family squabbles, depressed and drunken wizards and adolescents yearling to spread their wings, both figuratively and literally.  It is a joy to read.  It won the Mythopoetic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature in 1999.  There is a second book in this series, Year of the Griffin, which I hope to read sometime in April.

What a master.  I was introduced to Diana Wynne Jones by Ana a couple of years ago, and felt robbed at not having found her sooner.  She was a British author who somehow never received the media push granted to J.K. Rowling.  I have since tried to convince every Harry Potter fan I know to read her books.


Filed under 2013 TBR Double Dog Dare, British, Fantasy, Once Upon A Time VII, Young Adult

6 responses to “Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

  1. Nothing makes me happier than spreading the DWJ love :D

  2. What a great review. I’ve not read Diana Wynne Jones before but I will certainly do so now.
    Lynn :D

  3. Yay! Have you read the sequel? I actually like it even better than this one, although it’s a completely different type of book — it’s about the youngest griffin daughter, Elda, going to school to be a magician. That’s really more my speed, the boarding school book. But both are wonderful because Diana Wynne Jones is wonderful!

  4. I hope you’ll get to read the sequel in April too! Like Jenny, I actually like it even better than this one, which given how good this one already is… <3 Have you read the "Tough Guide to Fantasyland" this is a companion piece to/based on as well?

  5. Oh I don’t know how I’ve missed this one! I’ve read two other Diana Wynne Jones books this month, but discovered that I don’t have Dark Lord on my shelves :-( so I will be getting it when I can find it, after Double Dog Dare is over tomorrow!

    I love your review, you make it sound so enjoyable. I like DWJ’s fantasies, and when I look back on the fantasy world for the last 30 years, she changed the landscape, I would have read her as a child if they had existed then. I’m grateful we can find her now. I’m thrilled you enjoy her so much, too :-)

  6. I somehow couldn’t quite get into this one–strange, since I LOVE DWJ’s books! Your review makes me want to attempt a reread…

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