DRUNK REVIEW: The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones (Derkholm #1)

The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

Reviewed by GGGinny

What I drank: rose. Its been a good day but I’m exhausted! Lots of skiing (yes, I know we’re well into spring), homework, and talking.

Goodreads Overview:

A hilarious adventure about a fantasy world in danger of destruction from that most vile of threats… tourism .Winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature in 1999.

A humorous fantasy from Diana Wynne Jones. In a world next door to ours, the tourist industry is devastating the population by its desire to experience all the fantasy clichés – Dark Lords, impoverished villages, dragons etc.

The Head of the University resolves to shut the tours down; the only problem being the ruthless tour-master – and his all-powerful demons. To save them all, the incompetent wizard Derk is appointed as Dark Lord in the hope that he will ruin the tours, and sure enough proceeds to fail at everything due to his general uselessness. But can failing at everything lead to a win this time?

Drunk Overview: some asshole is holding an entire world hostage by communing with a demon, and using the magical world as a tourist destination. A semi-crappy wizard is chosen to be dark lord with the help of his family and odd collection of animals. This is partially intended to end the tours but no one told the family in charge.

Drunk Thoughts: god I wish I had read this book when I was 14… for so many reasons.

  • There were so many plotlines and characters and things happened at a bit of a manic pace.
  • Which current me found really frustrating because you couldnt really get in depth on any one thing because it immediately led to another event.
  • (Kid me would have loved the pace)
  • But also, I found myself really frustratrd with the few women characters. Mara (the wife) was unnecessarily secretive, Shona (the daughter) while organized felt a bit bland, and Querida played a much smaller (and pettier) role than I had expected from the opening.
  • Also this book used convenient (or inconvenient) comas as plot points far too often
  • Okay, now that Ive complained
  • This book has some great fantasy ideas (gold being nutritious for dragons) that I just really enjoyed, even short/throwaway mentions were brilliant
  • The griffins were kind of awesome. The descriptions of them were great and their personalities were just fun
  • Blade and Kit were especially fun as the way they played off each other felt so real.
  • The guild system reminded me a lot of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (I dont know which came first, and Im not gonna check) but the guilds being a nuisance is always nice.
  • But, ugh, Im back on their being too many plotlines.
  • Its rare that I wish one book had been broken into 2 or 3 (vs being angry that one book clearly was split into two and now had way too much filler) but this one book had too many things for one book.
  • Blade, at some point, leads a tour group. But at that point so much had happened that I didnt care about how the tour group fit in with the rest of the plot
  • This doesnt even cover the dragon, fighting pits, Derk’s injury and recovery, the super creepy ‘dark army’, of half of the other plot points.
  • Again, this book would be so good for anyoung adult. Everything I found frustrating would work for someone younger. I’m just cursed by only finding this book 15 years too late.
  • Wht couldnt I have been obsessed with this instead of Twilight…

What it Pairs With: long island ice tea, all the flavors all too fast

Rating: 4/5. For all my complaints, this book was a fun read and a great fit for the right age group. I cant let the fact I found this at the wrong time ruin my rating of it.

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