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The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

Review by Caleyna

Though this is technically a YA book it has some adult themes (broken marriage from hubby's view point, possible rape) and an adult main character. I found it to be both funny, serious, silly, and just plain good.

The World
The book takes place in a magical world with dragons, demons, dwarves and elves. The world is being exploited, and though the people living there are peaceful they are forced to fight world crippling battles on a constant basis just for the entertainment of outworld tourists.

The Characters
Our main characters are Derk, the unwiling Dark Lord, his son Blade, his daughter Shona, and his griffin children, Kit, Lydda, Elda, Callette, and Don. There are many other characters, but these are the people we follow most closely. Derk is an unconventional wizard who specializes in biology. He's created his griffin children, flying horses, flying pigs, sarcastic geese, intelligent dogs, and super stupid cows. His plantation is a haven, but that safe haven is destroyed when his son, Blade, insists on going to Wizard school. Blade is just a teenage boy who wants to master his magic. B/c of this he is forced to grow up quickly and learn responsibility.

The Plot
Mr. Chesny, an offworld citizen, has a demon in his pocket that keeps the world under control. He runs tours called Pilgrim Parties through the world every year and the citizens much show the tourists a real "fantasy" experience--dragons, gods, evil overlord, bloody battles, ect. The world hates this arrangment, and in an attempt to overthrow the evil Mr. Chesney Derk is forced to take on the role of Dark Lord. This causes all sorts of problems since the Dark Lord is ultimately responsible for the tours running smoothly. Derk and his children must work incredibly hard to pull everything together, totally unaware that they are supposed to be the key to ending the tours altogether.

The Grade
I really enjoyed this book and am giving it a 4 out of 5 amulets. I thought that the middle as a bit slow, but I totally loved the concept and had a very hard time putting the book down the whole time I was reading it. One night I stayed up till almost 2 am reading it. I need to buy more books by Jones, but I can't right now! No fair!


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