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Derkholm #1

Dark Lord of Derkholm

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Everyone - wizards, soldiers, farmers, elves, dragons, kings and queens alike - is fed up with Mr Chesney's Pilgrim Parties: groups of tourists from the world next door who descend en masse every year to take the Grand Tour. What they expect are all the trappings of a grand fantasy adventure, including the Evil Enchantress, Wizard Guides, the Dark Lord, Winged Minions, and all. And every year different people are chosen to play these parts. But now they've had enough: Mr Chesney may be backed by a very powerful demon, but the Oracles have spoken. Now it's up to the Wizard Derk and his son Blade, this year's Dark Lord and Wizard Guide, not to mention Blade's griffin brothers and sisters, to save the world from Mr Chesney's depredations.

328 pages, Paperback

First published November 5, 1998

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About the author

Diana Wynne Jones

164 books10.1k followers
Diana was born in London, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were teachers. When war was announced, shortly after her fifth birthday, she was evacuated to Wales, and thereafter moved several times, including periods in Coniston Water, in York, and back in London. In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked running an educational conference centre. There, Jones and her two younger sisters Isobel (later Professor Isobel Armstrong, the literary critic) and Ursula (later an actress and a children's writer) spent a childhood left chiefly to their own devices. After attending the Friends School Saffron Walden, she studied English at St Anne's College in Oxford, where she attended lectures by both C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien before graduating in 1956. In the same year she married John Burrow, a scholar of medieval literature, with whom she had three sons, Richard, Michael and Colin. After a brief period in London, in 1957 the couple returned to Oxford, where they stayed until moving to Bristol in 1976.

According to her autobiography, Jones decided she was an atheist when she was a child.

Jones started writing during the mid-1960s "mostly to keep my sanity", when the youngest of her three children was about two years old and the family lived in a house owned by an Oxford college. Beside the children, she felt harried by the crises of adults in the household: a sick husband, a mother-in-law, a sister, and a friend with daughter. Her first book was a novel for adults published by Macmillan in 1970, entitled Changeover. It originated as the British Empire was divesting colonies; she recalled in 2004 that it had "seemed like every month, we would hear that yet another small island or tiny country had been granted independence."Changeover is set in a fictional African colony during transition, and begins as a memo about the problem of how to "mark changeover" ceremonially is misunderstood to be about the threat of a terrorist named Mark Changeover. It is a farce with a large cast of characters, featuring government, police, and army bureaucracies; sex, politics, and news. In 1965, when Rhodesia declared independence unilaterally (one of the last colonies and not tiny), "I felt as if the book were coming true as I wrote it."

Jones' books range from amusing slapstick situations to sharp social observation (Changeover is both), to witty parody of literary forms. Foremost amongst the latter are The Tough Guide To Fantasyland, and its fictional companion-pieces Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998) and Year of the Griffin (2000), which provide a merciless (though not unaffectionate) critique of formulaic sword-and-sorcery epics.

The Harry Potter books are frequently compared to the works of Diana Wynne Jones. Many of her earlier children's books were out of print in recent years, but have now been re-issued for the young audience whose interest in fantasy and reading was spurred by Harry Potter.

Jones' works are also compared to those of Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman. She was friends with both McKinley and Gaiman, and Jones and Gaiman are fans of each other's work; she dedicated her 1993 novel Hexwood to him after something he said in conversation inspired a key part of the plot. Gaiman had already dedicated his 1991 four-part comic book mini-series The Books of Magic to "four witches", of whom Jones was one.

For Charmed Life, the first Chrestomanci novel, Jones won the 1978 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime award by The Guardian newspaper that is judged by a panel of children's writers. Three times she was a commended runner-up[a] for the Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book: for Dogsbody (1975), Charmed Life (1977), and the fourth Chrestomanci book The Lives of Christopher Chant (1988). She won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, children's section, in 1996 for The Crown of Dalemark.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 927 reviews
Profile Image for Celeste.
888 reviews2,333 followers
August 23, 2017
Full review now posted!
Original review can be found at Booknest.

You’ve probably heard it said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I think that’s true to an extent, but there is an art form that goes beyond imitation that, when done well, can often be the best representation of that which it set out to mock. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen is a perfect example of this. She set out to mock gothic literature, which she did beautifully, but what impresses me so much about that story is that she managed to craft a near-perfect gothic novel as the vehicle for her parody. Thus far, it remains my favorite example of a gothic novel, even though the entire book was written as a way to poke fun of the genre.

In Dark Lord of Derkholm, Jones accomplishes the same for classic fantasy, particularly the subgenre of portal fantasy. Here, we have a beautifully crafted fantasy world that basks in its own cliches. But there’s something plaguing this world: Mr. Chesney, a business mogul from a magic-free planet that must be ours, has basically enslaved this lovely world to his Pilgrim Tours, a way for people from our world to experience a fantasy adventure. While the residents of this fantasy world are supposedly reimbursed from their troubles, everyone is miserable and just wants out of the contract binding them to Mr. Chesney. So they select as the Dark Lord for this year the bumbling, affable, country-bumpkin Wizard Derk, with hopes that he’ll fail so miserably that Mr. Chesney will give up and go home. But Chesney has more invested in this world than they know. And Derk has built for himself a wonderfully supportive and capable family, including five griffins, and they are determined to help him succeed. Hilarity ensues.

This was such a funny book. It’s categorized as YA, but it felt more like some weird hybrid of middle grade and adult fantasy because of the tone. I don’t know how to describe it exactly except to say that the protagonists didn’t feel like YA protagonists. I loved watching Jones take cherished cliches and turn them on their heads. The cast of characters she built were incredibly varied, and the vast majority of them were very likable and sympathetic. I especially loved the Derk’s seven children, two human and five griffins. The siblings’ relationships with one another were wonderful. The premise of the book was very tongue-in-cheek, but Jones managed to insert an impressive amount of drama into such a short little book. So much was happening, and there were very few dull moments. (The marching, though. Too much marching.) Also, there were plot twists! Ones that I actually didn’t guess!

After the first couple of chapters, I stopped thinking of this as a parody and started thinking about it as a legitimate fantasy novel in its own right. The only book I had read by Jones prior to this was Howl’s Moving Castle, which is one of my favorites. I’m so happy that I enjoyed this. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still fantastic. I’ll definitely be reading its sequel, Year of the Griffin!
Profile Image for Toby.
829 reviews328 followers
April 30, 2014
Just over six years ago I met the person I want to spend my entire life with, in that time I was very quickly made aware of her affection towards the fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones and regularly told to give her a try. Being such a considerate husband I finally relented on the proviso that she choose me one that wasn't for kids, wasn't too massive and was one of her better novels. Apparently the first two choices are already lent to a friend of ours and so I was provided with a well loved copy of this Derkholm book. I quite enjoyed it, not that I'm surprised by this fact, she's a highly awarded and regarded author in the genre by all those in the know, and those that don't know are quite probably the type to gush over something interminably "epic".

The Dark Lord of Derkholm is actually just the wizard Derk, prophesied by an oracle to be the chosen one, the wizard who would finally bring the world peace and free it from an evil overlord who holds the world in his vice-like grip via a portal from Earth. Derk is an outcast in the wizard community, a man who prefers to invent interesting new creatures rather than focus on more every day spells such as conjuring feasts and enchantment. Every year a wizard is chosen to be the Dark Lord for a series of tourist parties from Earth arranged by the villainous bean counter Mr Chesney, a position of great importance as you're responsible for keeping the entire planet organised to service the tourists or face death by Chesney's pocket demon. How the hell did she come up with this stuff? Derk has help from his loving family of wizards in training and magical creatures adopted as children, even the genetically altered flying pigs are dragged in to things despite their only real desire in life to nuzzle their father, Derk.

The plot is labyrinthine, the characters plentiful, the prose incredibly playful, but it is the interraction between the many members of Derk's family that provide the real pleasure of this novel, they're all interesting and unique creations and they all have their own relationships with each other, factions and favourites etc, but as it's still technically a novel aimed at the teenage market they're all very loving towards each other when all is said and done. The other great skill displayed is that of world building without info dumps, the information is provided in short bursts as it naturally comes up in each chapter, sometimes only obliquely referenced and other times actually experienced by a character, in direct contrast to one of the major issues I have with most other books in the fantasy genre, "epic" books that take six pages to discuss the history of a valley that you'll never come across again in an entire sixteen novel sequence type of thing.

I won't be reading more of this stuff I'm sure but I had a great time discovering Diana Wynne Jones all the same.
Profile Image for MrsJoseph *grouchy*.
1,011 reviews83 followers
December 8, 2016

DNF at 45%

I've been sitting on Dark Lord of Derkholm for a while now. Initially I really liked it and found it humorous. It reminded me of Pratchett's DiscWorld a bit (in its humor only).

So color me shocked when I ran into a vaguely worded but pretty obvious gang sexual assault. There was no need for it but it still happened. I was shocked to find something so...dark in a humorous book.

The gang (rape?)/sexual assault just...threw me out of the book and I put it down.

That was in Jan 2015.

It's now December 2016...and I decided to call it quits. I hate rape and sexual abuse.
Profile Image for Julie Davis.
Author 4 books264 followers
January 4, 2020
Rereading via the Audible audiobook which is very good. I'd forgotten so many details and, indeed, the whole second half of the book since I first read this back in 2011. It is such a fun and enjoyable book. Original review below.


Imagine that your world has real elves, dragons, wizards, and all those items necessary for a good fantasy tale. Then imagine that an enterprising person from an "otherworld" much like ours stumbled through a portal and discovered this real "fantasy" world.

Forty years later you might have a problem much like that in this book where Mr. Chesney's Pilgrim Parties come on tour wanting to enjoy a classic fantasy adventure. The only problem is that Mr. Chesney's contract is so airtight that it devastates the fantasy world and everyone is at their wits' end trying to fulfill their obligations. So when the Light Oracle and the Dark Oracle tell the ruling council what to do to end this devastation, no one asks questions.

Except, that is, for Wizard Derk since part of the requirement is that he becomes this year's Dark Wizard. He's a mild mannered wizard who only wants to develop new forms of animals, but finds his life turned into an increasing spiral of trying to overcome chaos.

This is a unique concept for a story that hooked me from the beginning. When you add in Diana Wynne Jones' brand of humor you will understand why I read this book in a dead heat in one day, occasionally cackling with laughter ... which everyone got used to as the day progressed. I will never again be able to say, "when pigs fly" without cracking up.

Get this book and read it.

I'm rereading this for some light bedtime entertainment. Will it be as enjoyable the second time around? Let's find out. The answer to that question: yes. Yes it is.
Profile Image for Jonathan Terrington.
593 reviews559 followers
March 4, 2014

The Dark Lord of Derkholm is one of those novels that provides an entertaining story as well as subverting the typical ideas and expectations of the fantasy genre. Diana Wynne Jones is one of those authors who writes wittily and absurdly at the same time, weaving bizarre ideas together into a mix that perhaps should not work as well as it does.

The overall concept of this novel is one which hinges around the idea that people from our world (or at least a world very similar) travel across worlds into a fantasy land populated by peaceful groups of elves, wizards, dragons and so forth. The tourism company that manages these escapades happens to have made an arrangement with the people of this world, that every time a group is brought across a show of fantasy might and magic must be performed. A show that leads the tourists to believe that this world is one of magical battles and dark, evil lords. A kind of roleplaying adventure if you will.

The year in which the story begins features the Wizard Derk having been chosen to become this year's archetypal Dark Lord. Of course it also so happens that the inhabitants of this magical land have had enough of the tours, despite the tour organiser being backed by a powerful demon and so a plan begins to turn this year's tour into a means of removing the tours altogether.

I mentioned that this novel plays on the archetypes of fantasy cleverly. It does so by providing a world which pretends to be what people expect from a fantasy land, when in reality the inhabitants of this world are a little more settled and realistic than all of that. It is this subversion of fantasy that leads to plenty of humour and also plenty of clever moments within the book, and the major reason why I can recommend this novel as a fantasy book to investigate.
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
570 reviews212 followers
January 6, 2015
3.5 stars. Almost 4.0 (As I write this review, I'm actually rounding up to 4)

This was a fun read. I liked it better than Howl's Moving Castle, which I'd read earlier in 2014. There was a nice mixture of wit and magic, and some characters I could really get behind.

The concept was absurdly brilliant - a fantasy world used as a theme park by Pilgrim Parties that come to live the adventure. Derk is chosen to be this year's Darklord and must go out of his way to give the tourists the best possible epic thrillride.

Execution was nice too. Jones had a way of smooth prose and timing. This book was actually much darker than I'd expected (despite the title) and I'm not really sure I'd call it "YA", as the marketing has it. The light tone (though darker subject matter at times) and satirical approach might have played into that, but it certainly wasn't childish. Much.

There was a moment or two near the end that almost ruined the story somewhat, but things worked out fairly well by the end. The ending almost disappointed me too, but then I put into perspective the type of book I was reading. I'm actually giving extra props for Jones being able to make me take this story seriously enough to question that ending. Not to be vague, but I don't want to spoil any of it.

Anyway, this was an enjoyable read and I'm interested enough to consider the sequel.
Profile Image for Cynnamon.
532 reviews99 followers
May 24, 2022
English version below


Es gibt diese seltenen Bücher, bei denen schon auf der ersten Seite klar wird, dass man gerade beginnt, ein wundervolles Buch zu lesen. Dieses Buch ist eines jener Bücher und ich kann ihm nur ankreiden, dass es mir jetzt wieder schwer fällt, mich auf eine andere Lektüre einzulassen.

Der Roman wird als Kinderbuch beworben, wobei nicht klar ist, wieso eigentlich.
Ein Teil der Protagonisten sind Jugendliche, das Buch ist voller Humor, die Charakterentwicklung ist vielleicht nicht immer so tiefgehend wie man sich das bei ernsthafter High Fantasy wünscht, aber dennoch kann ich weder in der Ausgestaltung des Plots (na gut, er ist vielleicht nicht immer so besonders detailliert ausgeführt) noch im Schreibstil Merkmale erkennen, die eine Einordnung als Kinderbuch rechtfertigen würden. Damit will ich jedoch nicht sagen, dass Kinder oder Jugendliche keine Freude an diesem Buch haben können.

Ich habe mich bei dieser Geschichte um eine Fantasywelt, die von einem fiesen Geschäftemacher aus einer nicht-magischen Welt (alles deutet hier auf unsere hin) als Vergnügungspark ausgebeutet wird, ganz köstlich amüsiert und mich wundervoll und spannend unterhalten gefühlt. So ist es kein Wunder, dass ich hier glücklich und zufrieden 5 Sterne vergebe.


There are those rare books where it's clear from the first page that you're just beginning to read a wonderful book. This book is one of those books and I can only blame it for the fact that I now find it difficult to read anything else.

The novel is advertised as a children's book, although it is not clear why.
Some of the protagonists are teenagers, the book is full of humour, the character development may not always be as deep as one would like serious high fantasy to be, but I can neither in the setup of the plot (well, it may not always be so particularly detailed) nor in the writing style recognize features that would justify classification as a children's book. That's not to say, however, that children or young people can't enjoy this book.

This story about a fantasy world that is being exploited as an amusement park by a nasty profiteer from a non-magical world (everything points to ours here) was deliciously amusing and I felt wonderfully and excitingly entertained. So it's no wonder that I'm happy and satisfied assigning 5 stars here.
Profile Image for colleen the convivial curmudgeon.
1,155 reviews286 followers
May 29, 2012
From what I'd heard, this is meant to be a parody of the tropes of traditional fantasy - and all the tropes do seem to be represented - but , as a parody, I expected it to be much funnier than it was. Maybe it's just because when I think of parody I think of "lovingly tongue-in-cheek" but this book took itself far too seriously, in my opinion, to really be a funny send-up.

Coupled with that is the fact that there are just so many characters and things going on and it's hard to follow or to really emotionally connect with any of the characters. I mean, I get that part of the plot of the story was that there was so much going on and things were getting out of everyone's control... but it just seemed like it was too much. And there was one thing towards the end which tipped it over the edge - i.e.

Speaking of too much and too serious, there was some dark stuff that happened in this book, but it's all sort of glossed over either by magicking it away or by it not really happening.

I probably would've rated this a 2-star read for most of the book, but I liked the ending. It was a bit pat and even a touch anti-climactic, but it was a big 'ole HEA type fest which tugged the old heart strings.

Still, overall, it's probably 2.5, bumped up to three for leaving off with happy jujube vibes.

Profile Image for Tijana.
732 reviews190 followers
May 20, 2021
Često zaboravljam da je u stvari *ovo* prva knjiga Dajane Vin Džouns koju sam ikad čitala jer mi se nije previše dopalo i ubrzo sam je zaboravila. Ni ovo drugo čitanje nije mnogo popravilo stvari - iako je jasno da ovaj roman predstavlja odgovor na pitanje "a kome bi i kada bio stvarno neophodan The Tough Guide to Fantasyland ?" ipak je radnja i dalje nekako rasuta a likovi previše ocrtani lakom rukom a da bismo se stvarno saživeli sa njihovim vrlo ozbiljnim problemima. I dalje je prijatno čitati je, ali prosto previše često izaziva reakciju "pa čekaj, ovo zahteva jaču razradu".
Profile Image for Aleshanee.
1,392 reviews93 followers
February 7, 2019
Das Cover hat mich hier total neugierig gemacht, dazu der Klappentext, der auf witzige Fantasy schließen lässt, waren ausschlaggebend um es mit der Autorin zu versuchen. Sie hat ja schon einige sehr bekannte Werke geschrieben wie auch "Das wandelnde Schloss", das als Anime verfilmt wurde - mein Interesse war jedenfalls definitiv geweckt und meine Erwartungen hoch.

Wahrscheinlich etwas zu hoch.
Während ich am Anfang noch mit großer Begeisterung gelesen hab, hat sie sich immer mehr zurückgezogen.

Zu Beginn nimmt man als Leser an einer Ratssitzung teil, durch die man schon viel über das Dilemma erfährt, das die Menschen und Magier schon seit Jahrzehnten durchleiden: Die Touristen-Touren, die der kaltherzige Mr. Chesney jedes Jahr plant, fordern zu viel Tribut an Kraft, Ressourcen und ja, auch Menschenleben und deshalb beschließen die Könige und Kanzler, dem endlich ein Ende zu bereiten.
Hier erfährt man schon einiges über das Land und die Probleme, die es zu lösen gilt und wandert dann auch direkt weiter zum Hexenmeister Derk aus Derkholm, der in diesem Jahr den "Dunklen Fürsten" spielen soll und somit für die Organisation der Touren verantwortlich ist.

Ab jetzt ging ich davon aus, dass Derk im Mittelpunkt steht, denn er soll viel magisches Potenzial haben und ungewöhnliche Ideen, ich hab eine Flut von Touristen erwartet, die Abenteuer erleben in dieser magischen Welt und wie sich alle im Netz der Intrigen verfangen ... aber es fokussiert sich alles auf die Familie von Derk: seine Frau Mara, seinen Sohn Blade und seiner Tochter Shona. Aber es gibt noch einige mehr Personen im Hause Derk, denn die magischen Fähigkeiten des Hexenmeisters haben ihn zu vielerlei Experimenten mit Tieren verführt, denen er allerlei skurrile Eigenschaften angedeihen ließ. Neben fliegenden Schweinen und intelligenten Gänsen gibt es noch einige Greife, die in seinem Haushalt leben und die dem Rang seiner Kinder gleichstehen.
Ein wahres Sammelsurium, das leider auch die einzelnen Figuren etwas verblassen lässt und man sich erstmal an die vielen Namen und Gestalten gewöhnen muss. Und ich tu mich ansonsten wirklich leicht mit vielen Charakteren.

Sie alle geben ihr Bestes, um ihren Vater bei den Vorbereitungen zu unterstützen, denn Mr. Chesney versteht keinen Spaß, wenn es um seine Einnahmequelle der Touristen geht und schreckt dabei auch nicht davor zurück, unliebsame Querulanten aus dem Weg zu räumen.
So ist man also ziemlich lange mit den kleinen und großen Problemen der einzelnen Familienmitglieder beschäftigt, die auch ungewöhnliche Lösungswege kommen und an Ideen mangelt es hier wahrlich nicht.
Da aber immer mehr Figuren involviert werden, bleiben sie im Einzelnen auch im Lauf der Geschichte zu flach und auch wenn vieles auf eine witzige Art erzählt wurde, war der Humor einfach nicht so meins.

Die Handlung wurde mir viel zu lange reduziert auf die kleinen und für mich uninteressanten Unabwägbarkeiten, bevor es etwas mehr an Fahrt aufgenommen hat, aber leider fand ich es zwischendurch immer wieder ganz schön zäh ... Dabei hätte es wirklich Potenzial gehabt und eine Unmenge an Ideen, die für mich nicht ausgeschöpft wurde.
Trotzdem gab es einige Figuren, die trotz der eher nebensächlichen Rolle eine doch dominate Position gewonnen und mein Herz erobert haben.
Was ich auch noch positiv hervorheben möchte ist der Schreibstil. Durch die etwas zähe Handlung hat er leider an Schwung verloren, trotzdem waren die Wortspielereien und Satzkonstruktionen sehr unterhaltsam.

Profile Image for Kim.
401 reviews181 followers
May 5, 2012
I've only read a couple Diana Wynne Jones books before so I wasn't too sure what to expect. Lately I've not been reading reviews or even blurbs before starting a book because I want to go into it with a completely open mind. Unfortunately my previous experiences with her books led me to believe this would be aimed at a younger audience so as things started getting a bit darker I was a tad perplexed.

Eventually I managed to get my mindset in the right place and realise that this book was intended for young adults and the dark behaviours seemed less out of place. And at times it could be rather grim and a little unsettling. Derk has a little bit of a Dr Moreau meets Dr Doolittle feel about him. Blade needed (and I think at the end of the book still does) a good kick in the ass. That character annoyed me the most. I quite liked the griffins and Scales. I would have liked to have seen more of Mara and Shona. They got relegated to the sidelines for the most part.

Apart from requiring me to shift my preconceptions out this book was really enjoyable and I can see why Diana Wynne Jones was such an acclaimed author. I look forward to reading more of her work.
Profile Image for Sesana.
5,107 reviews348 followers
December 4, 2015
It took me some time to get into this book, which is likely my fault. I find it hard to read anything with more depth than your average bubblegrum wrapper when I have a head cold, so it probably isn't a coincidence that this book finally clicked with me the same day that I started to feel better. Because really, this book is often funny, wonderfully inventive, and features characters I came to care about a great deal. A literal family of characters! I love constructed families in my fiction, but I can also really get behind a loving biological family, too.
Profile Image for Nic.
1,582 reviews60 followers
January 20, 2011
What an excellent book! This is the fastest-paced DWJ book I've ever read, and several of the revelations at the end truly surprised me without seeming unreasoned. There were many powerful moments, both action- and emotion-based, and some great characters. There's a cast of zillions, but you get the hang of everyone pretty well. And of course, the book is full of Diana Wynne Jones' perfect word choices ("a tuft of flame"), neat critters and spells (Friendly Cows!), and great descriptions of feelings. I love that she's not afraid to make good characters feel jealous of other good characters who are stronger, smarter, etc. They feel jealous, and they feel bad about feeling jealous of someone so nice or helpful - just the way a real person would. I like that good characters can genuinely like, respect, and appreciate each other and still fight and feel envious or annoyed. The jumping not-quite-omniscient point of view, while sometimes frustrating to me, shows this pretty well.

The grittiness, too, is staggeringly well-done - I really get the exhaustion of the characters during the long marches. And the plot itself is sheer brilliance.


Like pretty much all DWJ books, this one has a sudden series of revelations at the end. Because the book is longer than many, this scene of discoveries is both longer and more intricate. Half the characters turn out to be other people, two-thirds of them provide answers to questions or solutions to problems, and everything is tied up in an incredibly complicated package. I'm actually really impressed by some stuff here - the Deucalion revelation and Geoffrey and Sukey's parentage, in particular, seem well set up but I never would have guessed. (I also never saw Barnabas' betrayal coming.) Brilliant.

I also think Kit's fake death is one of the most convincing I've ever read. I'm enough of a longtime fantasy reader to know that if you don't see a body, possibly with the head ten feet away, he ain't dead. This one is very well done, though. What's more, Kit's family's grief is so strong that I found my cynicism slipping - it's hard to keep saying, "Well, I know he's alive and will reappear later," when his family is sure (with good reason) that he's dead and they're so sad!

That's most of what I have to say, but I will conclude with a brief list of people who got better in the end than I thought they deserved.

1. Querida. The crazy crusty magical old bat bespells Mara into leaving her husband, tries to kidnap Callette, and mercilessly dooms Derk to fail in every way. It's only through luck and the intervention of other beings that half of Derk and Mara's family didn't die for real. I think Querida's new job, fixing their world, could be made to sound like just a little bit more of a punishment - after all, it's going to be a lot of work and trouble - but in a sense, they almost make it seem like a reward, what with her extended life and apparent new strength. And personally, if I'd been Mara or Derk (or any of their kids), I'd have thrown a pig at Querida's head. I guess they're just too happy to be back together.

2. Geoffrey. I don't actually have problems with Big G; I just don't see much reason to like him other than his making Shona happy. He's bossy and seems sort of too shiny and great. The only indication of his being less than "perfect" is that his feet blister after weeks of marching. What? :P Seriously, he kind of takes the Party over from Blade right away, steals Shona's attention with his dazzling-yet-totally-undeveloped character, and even bums Derk out by insisting on taking care of Shona himself. I didn't want anything actually bad to happen to him, and I'm fine with him staying with Shona; I just would have liked to see him fitting more neatly into her really cool family - maybe being forced to bow to the smarts/judgement/abilities of Blade or Derk.

3. Sukey. Again, not hating her, but I don't think she's one of DWJ's stronger examples of the seemed-to-be-annoying-but-really-isn't character, a type she ordinarily does really well.

4. Mr. Chesney. I would have thought his punishment was fair, except that Barnabas sets the bar pretty high by having his soul devoured by a demon in front of everybody. Barnabas is a total traitorous douche, yes, but Mr. Chesney could at least have been eaten by something . . .

I do really love the endings for Kit and Blade, the demons (Awww?), and Umru. This book is epic, and I was super-impressed. Go DWJ.
Profile Image for Punk.
1,498 reviews241 followers
August 20, 2007
YA Fantasy. The inhabitants of a magical world fight the evil forces of tourism. This book couldn't seem to get the bat off its shoulder -- baseball bat, not Chiroptera bat -- there was a lot of stuff going on, with a lot of different narrators, and I still didn't have the entire story. What's worse is that I wasn't satisfied once I did have it, thanks to the (anti-)climactic drawing room scene where the characters finally expose all the secrets they'd kept from me over the course of the book. Throw in the more or less ignored issues of genetic engineering, lousy parenting, and war for the sake of capitalism, and this just didn't feel put together right.

Two stars. Not Jones' best work.
Profile Image for Carrie .
979 reviews450 followers
November 2, 2019
Imagine being able to take tours of another world, another world that appears to be evil and sinister. Seeing demons and dragons, battles. Except this world isn't really like that and the people who reside are getting tired of the act they have to put on each tour.

I found this book to be delightful, entertaining and funny. I felt so bad for our main character, Wizard Derk, now this years Dark Lord. Derk is a kind wizard, who just wants to breed different animals and zero interest in pretending to be evil.
Profile Image for Melissa McShane.
Author 58 books738 followers
November 16, 2019
I don't think I've read this more than twice before. It's not one of Diana Wynne Jones' strongest books, though it's still excellent YA fantasy, but listening to the audiobook (the narrator is fantastic) slowed me down enough to appreciate it better. The concept is so good: a man from an industrialized world (it's never said that it's our world, but I like to think so) manages to enslave a world in which magic is powerful. He doesn't turn himself into its ruling lord. He doesn't take advantage of its magic--well, he does, but in a secondary way. No, he turns the world into a Fantasyland theme park. Every fall and winter, he brings "pilgrim parties" into the enslaved world to have a Fantasy Adventure, including war, enchantresses, wizards, slave girls, and a real-live Dark Lord.

What makes this work is that most readers of fantasy have at some point wished they could travel to one of the fantasy worlds in the books, and can you imagine a more exciting vacation? But DWJ chooses to tell the story from the POV of the people whose lives are annually turned upside down to cater to the tourists. Specifically, the POV of the current Dark Lord, Derk, and his family of humans and griffin children. Derk is a wizard who specializes in creating and modifying living creatures (hence the griffin children). He's at odds with most of the official wizards, but the Oracle decreed he should be chosen, and everything proceeds to go horribly wrong from there.

There's a lot of adorably ridiculous stuff going on in this book, all in a good way--flying pigs! the Friendly Cows! a 14-year-old wizard guide forced to grow a long white beard because Mr. Chesney, the slave master, insists that all wizards are male and have long white beards! And there's also a lot of serious stuff, some of which I don't think DWJ handles well.

But there are some great moments, such as Kit the griffin being made to face the reality of the battles he's planned so blithely, and how . I also am fond of the romances, though I'm a little sad they happen between non-POV characters. And the dragons are wonderful.

Now I'd like to borrow the other half of this idea, the one from the pilgrims' point of view, and tell a completely different story. If it turns out the sequel is read by the same narrator, I think I'll pick that one up.
Profile Image for Tyas.
Author 27 books75 followers
November 4, 2008
What I love about Diana Wynne Jones is how she can present a fantasy novel with a different angle than other fantasy novels with a standard plot - a boy or a girl, fated for something big, learning through ordeals, obtaining greatness.

In The Dark Lord of Derkholm , the world of magic had been forced to kneel down in front of a powerful force - namely, a Mr Chesney - and provide 'entertainment' every year for his Pilgrim Parties. These tourists from another world wanted to be involved in a fantastic adventure - fight bad wizards, fight fanatics, fight dragons etc. We might laugh at some of the rules Mr Chesney laid down for the ones organising the tours: Wizards must have long beards (well, we think of wizards as having a bushy appearance round the chin, eh?); normal name places must be converted into something sounding more fantastic like Gna'ash or the likes; etc. A bit of parody of the fantasy genre.

And the fights must be real. So real that cities were sacked down, people were killed, fields were destroyed.

After 40 years of devastation and slavery to Mr Chesney's moneymaking, the leaders of the world decided that they had had enough and went to the Oracles to consult for a way to end it all. It turned out that to banish Mr Chesney's Pilgrim Parties for all, they had to appoint an obscure wizard named Derk the Dark Lord of the year, and his son Blade as one of the Wizard Guides.

Well, Derk was not a household name in the world of wizardry. What he's interested in was creating new creatures: much like a geneticist. He had five griffin sons and daughters, apart from his two human children. He kept flying pigs, flying horses, friendly cows... how could this man succeed in playing the Dark Lord? He'd just fail miserably - wait, that could probably, eventually, put an end to Mr Chesney's tours. The problem was Derk tried hard to be a good Dark Lord...

I felt very entertained by this novel. It's not only about wizardry; it's also about family. Not only we observe how the whole world trying to organize the tours while trying to finish it at the same time, we also observe how Derk and his wife, Mara, and also their human-children and griffin-children, tried to stay together as a family. We may argue that the ending is a bit deus ex machina, but I think it still can be accepted by the way the story builds up to that ending.
Profile Image for Sydney White.
25 reviews2 followers
October 29, 2010
The first page of Diana Wynne Jone's novel Dark Lord of Derkholm felt like I had just turned on the TV to the fantasy channel in the middle of an episode half way into the forth or fith season of a new series I had never heard about. There I was sitting in the middle of a council of some type talking about a Mr. C-something that was repressing them. Various characters spoke out, even made allusions to past situations I obviously would not understand mid-way into the series. Unfortunately, the book continued like this throughout most of its pages. I was on my own as to figure out exactly what was going on, piece together a history of the civilization and make sense of the characters. I wished that she could have started the book with its pilot episode.
Profile Image for Miss Naseweis.
236 reviews18 followers
July 12, 2020
This was such a cozy, feel-good read. Perfect for rainy days, when you cuddle under the blanket and drink your favorite tea. The idea of Pilgrim Parties for profit to a magical world was unique (guilty as charged, I would participate as well) and the magical world itself was great. Dragons, dwarves, magicians, witches, elves – it had everything. Derk’s family was so precious and I found myself wanting a gryphon sibling as well. While the story wasn’t exactly gripping, I was constantly smiling or outright laughing. This book had such a subtle humor, not the slap-in-your-face comedy that many fantasy authors nowadays use. And those reveals at the end of the book! There were plenty and I didn't see them coming at all.
Profile Image for Juho Pohjalainen.
Author 5 books248 followers
July 28, 2020
This book came out a year after Ultima Online, a year before Everquest, and another few years before World of Warcraft. I wonder if Diana used to play enough video games to know what was going on, or if it was sheer serendipity. Either way, this book fits pretty well as an MMO parody from the angle of the final boss, who has to face like five raids a day and always respawns right after.

It's not the ha-ha-funny type of parody, though. It has very few laughs and most of the time is actually far more serious than you'd think from the premise.
Profile Image for Anja von "books and phobia".
761 reviews12 followers
August 11, 2021
Mit „Fauler Zauber“ wagte ich mich nun in eine Welt, außerhalb der von Diana Wynne Jones erschaffenen „Howl-Saga. Die Spannung war groß, da nicht nur das Cover ein absoluter Eyecatcher war, sondern auch die Kurzbeschreibung von einem interessanten Szenario erzählte.

Denn nach Derkholm kommen jedes Jahr, Pilger, welche zwar meist viel Geld mitbringen, aber auch viel Schaden anrichten. Zudem obliegt es den Bewohnern dieser Welt ihre Gäste zu bespaßen und ihnen Abenteuer und Spannung zu bieten. Doch damals soll nun Schluss sein, denn die Bewohner können und wollen nicht mehr.

Nach den ersten Seiten eine verständliche Situation, denn hier zeigte sich welche Ausmaße die Pilgerfahrten auf die Bewohner, ihr Land und ihre Ernten haben. Um so spannender fand ich es nun die Welt an sich kennenzulernen und gleichzeitig etwas gegen Mr. Chesney zu unternehmen. Dabei zeigte sich auch, welche Hintergründe die Fahrten hatten und wie geschickt er Personen aus seiner Welt, in dieser einsetzte.

Leider war ab der Hälfte die Spannung ein wenig bei mir raus. Nicht wegen der Story an sich, sondern von den teils sehr verwirrenden Handlungen der Charaktere. Ich verstand nicht, wieso man nicht eine Horde Soldaten an ihren rechtmäßigen Platz zauberte, anstatt sie querfeldein durch Wald und Wiesen zu bugsieren und dann auch noch aufzupassen das sie nicht Reißaus nahmen. Hier fehlte mir hin und wieder die Logik.

Dafür hatte ich um so mehr Spaß mit dem Zauberer Derk, welcher ein Geschick dafür besaß Tiere zu kreuzen. Egal ob Greife mit menschlichen Zügen und Sprechgewohnheiten oder fliegenden Pferden, hier fand man eine ganze Menge interessanter Kombinationen, welche mal mehr und weniger Sinn ergaben. Unterhaltend war es trotzdem. Für mich wurde es hier nur schwierig, wenn es um Derks Kinder ging. Da er hier sowohl seine vollständig menschlichen, als auch die Greifen, welchen er einen Teil seiner DNA gab, meinte. Da man es hier aber mit mehr als 5 Kindern zutun hatte, verwechselte ich viele oftmals. Man sollte zwar meinen, das man einen Greif vom Menschen unterscheiden könne, da aber oftmals nur die Charaktereigenschaften angesprochen wurden, fiel mir dies aber wirklich sehr schwer.

Zum Ende hin nahm das Buch dann zum Glück noch einmal ordentlich Fahrt auf und bescherte mir tatsächlich einzigartige Momente. Hier zeigte sich dann auch wieder, dass die Autorin wunderschöne Enden schreiben kann und es schafft, viele Themen unter einen Hut zu bringen.


Und auch diesmal bewies Diana Wynne Jones das sie wundervolle Geschichte schreiben konnten. „Fauler Zauber“ bot mir ein wunderschönes Setting, gepaart mit einfallsreichen Charakteren und tollen Wendungen. Es machte einfach Spaß dieses Buch zu lesen, auch wenn gerade das zweite Drittel etwas langatmig daher kam und es hin und wieder ein paar Logiklücken gab.
Profile Image for Marie Lewis.
57 reviews3 followers
January 21, 2022
Does anyone write such satisfying endings as DWJ? It has the feel of the summing-up from a mystery novel, with loose ends tied up and justice administered. The payoff is delicious.

There's some dark stuff in here for such a light treatment, but it mostly works, with the exception of an implied sexual assault that gets magically pushed to the back of memory and that's that.

Truly laugh out loud funny moments - the obnoxious geese are my favorites. I am also a big fan of grumpy old dragon Scales, who saves the day several times.

I really enjoy how these classic fantasies aren't afraid to have kids and adults, heroes and villains, as POV characters. It makes them feel like they really are for any age, although again I wouldn't recommend this to a kid that couldn't sort through the SA, obliquely handled as it is.
Profile Image for Meggies.
841 reviews11 followers
November 17, 2019
Derkholm wird jedes Jahr von einer Horde Pilger überfallen, die aus der Parallelwelt rüberkommen, um für viel Geld ein Fantasy-Abenteuer zu erleben. Die Bewohner von Derkholm jedoch finden dies so gar nicht gut. Ausnahmslos alle wollen endlich ihre Ruhe und fangen an zu protestieren. Zauberer, Drachen, Zwerge, Elfen und vor allem die Bauern wollen, dass die Pilgerfahren ein Ende haben. Doch der mächtige Mr. Chesney, der die Fahren organisiert, will von all dem nichts wissen und schickt die ersten Gruppen los.
Derk, der dieses Jahr die Aufgabe übernehmen soll, den Dunklen Fürsten zu mimen, ist mit seinen Aufgaben überfordert. Ihm zur Seite stehen seine Kinder Blade und Shona, die ihn mit allen Mitteln unterstützen. Aber auch seine Greife übernehmen einiges an Arbeit.
Bis die Protestierenden anfangen, die Pilgergruppen zu untergraben und damit das komplette Chaos entsteht.

So ein herrlich schräges Abenteuer habe ich schon lange nicht mehr gelesen.
Die Autorin erzählt mit einer Leichtigkeit die Geschichte von Derk, der von einem Orakel dazu bestimmt wurde, als Dunkler Fürst die Hauptrolle in dem Spektakel zu übernehmen, dass alljährlich über Derkholm hereinbricht.

Derkholm ist eine Welt, die vor Magie nur so strotzt. Zauberer, Elfen, Drachen, Zwerge und vieles mehr beherbergt diese Welt. Die Parallelwelt, die Erde, und insbesondere der skrupellose Mr. Chesney beuten Derkholm aus. Es werden Pilgerfahrten organisiert, d. h. das Gruppen von Fantasy-Abenteuer-Interessierten sich zusammenschließen, viel Geld bezahlen, um dann in Derkholm live zu erleben, wie es ist, in einer Fantasy-Welt zu leben.

Die Bewohner Derkholms sind davon aber nicht begeistert. Die Pilgergruppen zerstören die Landschaft, essen zu viel und sind auch sonst sehr nervig. Jeder will eigentlich, dass dies alles ein Ende hat.

Derk, der den Dunklen Fürsten spielen soll, ist hoffnungslos überfordert mit den Vorbereitungen. Er soll die Pilgerfahrten organisieren, Hinweise verstecken, sein Zuhause so umbauen, dass es einer Burg gleicht, Schlachten planen, Banditen für Überfälle buchen usw. Derk ist dafür aber gar nicht der Typ. Die Autorin beschreibt ihn leicht naiv, er will sich eigentlich nur seinen Forschungen widmen und neue Kreaturen erschaffen.

Ich habe oft lachen müssen, konnte ich mir bildlich vorstellen, wie das Chaos immer weiter auf seinen Höhepunkt zusteuert. Derk tat mir so leid, weil er einfach heillos überfordert war. Er bekommt zwar Hilfe von seinen Kindern, doch sind diese ganz nach ihrem Vater geraten und auch nicht gerade organisatorische Talente.

Die Geschichte bedient alle Klischees einer typischen Fantasy-Geschichte und widerlegt sie auch gleichzeitig. Aber vor allem ist es einfach anders und herrlich schräg. Für Fantasy- und Magieliebhaber definitiv ein Genuss.

Meggies Fussnote:
Ein richtiges Lesevergnügen.
Profile Image for R.F. Gammon.
470 reviews178 followers
April 3, 2017
This was definitely a fun story. I didn't like it as much as Howl's Moving Castle, but there's not much to top Howl, so that's not bad.
Basically, the idea is given in the synopsis. Derk is a nice, mild-mannered man who just wants to be left in peace and make weird animals, such as pigs and horses with wings, griffins that behave like members of the family, geese that are out for blood, carnivorous sheep, and friendly cows. His wife, Mara, is a master at making mini universes, while his (human) daughter Shona is an aspiring bard and his son Blade is a wizard in his own right.
The characters in this book were amazing. There were a LOT of them, but I didn't have any trouble keeping them all straight after the first couple of chapters (I may be weird in this respect). I especially loved the griffins.
-Kit: The oldest and biggest griffin. He's fifteen or so, a year older than Blade, and he's very sour and very intelligent. He's also kind of a magic user.
-Calette: The oldest girl griffin. She's very fast, very bossy, and very self-conscious of her looks.
-Don: The other boy. He had kind of the smallest part, but he may have been my favorite one of the five (besides, of course, Kit :D) because he was so understated.
-Lydda: A great cook whose food is constantly declared "godlike". She thinks she's fat, and can hardly get off the ground to fly. It's great.
-Elda: The youngest, and as such acts like it. A general worrier.

Overall verdict: This book fell a little flat, especially in the last few chapters where it was sometimes difficult to have any idea what was going on. However, on re-read it may prove much the same with as with Howl and Dark Lord of Derkholm will become one of my favorites.
Profile Image for Rosamund Taylor.
Author 1 book119 followers
January 5, 2021
Two stars seems like a low rating, but I didn't hate this book: it's just not up to the usual standard of Jones's work. The pacing is all wrong, with a slow and confusing beginning and a rushed ending, and the tone is strange. Some of the time this is satire, sometimes it's drama. The story is about a world that has become overrun and destroyed by tourists: they come to experience a Dark Lord tour, in which they travel the land, fight in armies, and ultimately triumph over a Dark Lord. Every year, a new Dark Lord is chosen: this year, it's Derk. The country is desperate for exploitative tours to end, and they hope Derk's incompetence will bring this about. Derk is the father of two human children and five griffin children, and creates many strange hybrids, including flying pigs and horses, and geese who can do magic. The story veers around: there are some very entertaining griffin shenanigans, various encounters with livestock, and an excellent dragon. There are also some very gritty moments with soldiers, including a heavily implied gang rape, which feels completely tonally inconsistent with the rest of the book. The story, overall, is jarring: there are a lot of ingredients, some good, some bad, a lot of sudden changes in tone, and a very swift resolution. I was entertained while I read this, but I don't know if I'd recommend it.
43 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2010
Wow. After waiting excitedly to get to the fantasy unit, I was grossly disappointed by this parody of fantasy. The idea was clever, showing how stale and cliche the fantasy genre was at the time, but the book really consisted of about a thousand characters doing nothing but planning. There were some really good scenes and exciting parts, but they were so few and far between that by the time you got to one, you'd lost the last one amid the pages and pages (it's a long book) of tedious planning and traveling from place to place. The basic idea of the parody is that an American businessman, Mr. Chesney, owns a business where he sends tourist groups into the fantasy world where the book takes place. Each year, the citizens of this fantasy world have to set up an elaborate "quest" for each of the groups to go on. Derk, an oddball wizard, is called to be the Dark Lord and his son Blade (one of his human children- some of them are griffins) is assigned as a wizard guide. Things start out all right, but soon the whole show begins to unravel, and the whole land is panicked about how Mr. Chesney will react. Some bright spots and a clever idea, but overall a chore to read.
Profile Image for Marisa.
804 reviews45 followers
November 6, 2015
This was a book that I loved so much growing up that I was actually quite nervous to re-read it as an adult. Could it really live up to expectations? Not only did it live up to them, this book knocked it out of the park. “The Dark Lord of Derkholm” has the kind of societal commentary that both young and old can understand and appreciate all while being set in an awe-inspiring fantasy world.

I love Derk’s family as well. It’s the kind of chaotic, somewhat-unorganized, close-knit family that I think everyone aspires to. Having a griffin in the family wouldn’t be bad either - though the grocery bill would be atrocious. Jones is a master of weaving in basic truths during absurd circumstances tempered with British practical responses that creates a hilarious and fantastic story. I had to immediately re-read the sequel to the book and will soon move on to Jones’ other books. I just wish there were more in the series!

Warning: Contains violence.

Who should read it? Fantasy fans of all sorts – this is one of the classics that will last for many years to come!

See all my reviews and more at www.ReadingToDistraction.com or @Read2Distract
Profile Image for lucky little cat.
546 reviews102 followers
June 29, 2018
This YA fantasy from the incomparable Diana Wynne Jones reads as eerily prescient, but also homespun and of course, funny.
Derk was no ordinary wizard
Citizens of a fantasy alt world rebel against the Trump-esque fat-cat tycoon who has exploited them for decades with Westworld-style tourist quests. Warmly comforting for underdogs everywhere.*

*Perhaps Trump, like the Derkholm villain, carries an all-powerful demon in his pocket? That would explain a lot.
Profile Image for Mariann.
628 reviews112 followers
March 29, 2022

Diana Wynne Jones "Pimeduse Isand Derkholmist" jõudis minuni raamatuvahetus.ee kaudu ja on mul nüüd mõnda aega riiulis oodanud. Autor on tuttav, olen varem lugenud võlur Howli sarja - "Howli liikuv kindlus", "Kindlus õhus", "Paljude radadega maja".

Võiks arvata, et kui kohtuvad meie tänapäevane maailm ja maagiline paralleeluniversum, siis oleme meie need, kes ikkesse pannakse, aga võta näpust. Ärihai Mr Chesney on võlurite maailma muutnud suureks teemapargiks. Iga-aastased ringreisid võimaldavad turistidel võlurist giidi saatel teha läbi palverännaku, mis tipneb Pimeduse Isanda alistamisega. Teel kohtavad nad kõike, mida ühelt suurejooneliselt fantaasiaseikluselt võiks oodata, iga detail on täpselt orkestreeritud. Retked laastavad maad, aga keegi ei julge Mr Chesneyle vastu seista, kuna mehe käsutuses on võimas deemon. Oraakel ennustab, et kui Pimeduse Isanda rolli valitakse Derk ja viimaseks võlurgiidiks tema poeg Blade, lõppevad ringreisid ära. Pealtnäha ei sobi Derk kuidagi, ta on heasüdamlik võlur, kes tegeleb uute loomade aretamisega. Kahe inimlapse kõrval on ta isaks ka viiele greifile.

"Pimeduse Isand Derkholmist" võtab kõik tuttavad elemendid fantaasiaromaanidest ja keerab need kokku unikaalseks looks, mis on kaootiline, pilkav ja tulvil üllatusi. Raamat on nii tegevusrohke, et raske on sisu kokku võtta ilma poolt sündmustikku ette jutustamata. Kirjanik on teosesse mahutanud kõik tüüpilised fantaasiaolendid - võlurid, päkapikud, bardid, haldjad, lendavad sead, preestrid, piraadid, draakonid, deemonid, jumalad, oraaklid jne - ja teinud seda nii, et ükski ei tundu üleliia. Mõnda mainitakse vaid möödaminnes, aga kõigi jaoks on maailmas koht olemas. Ainult üks detail on puudu - kaart!

Kaanel oleva tutvustuse järgi ootasin küll veidi teistsugust lugu, mis keskenduks rohkem maailma saabuvatele turistidele, aga selle asemel on fookus ettevalmistustel ja telgitagustel. Kõige viimase turismigrupiga saab siiski veidi kaasa rännata ja enne seda on ka üksjagu ringi vantsimist. Sisse elamisega läks mul kaua aega, sest algus oli üpriski segane. Sündmustik hüppas ühest kohast teise ja tegelasi oli rikkalikult. Enamasti suudan ilusti järge pidada, kui raamatus on palju tegelasi, aga sellega läks ikka tükk aega, et saada aru, kes on greif, kes inimene. Osades (vanemates) raamatutes on alguses tegelaste nimekiri. "Pimeduse isand Derkholmist" oleks ka säärasest võitnud.

Kui tegelased selged, läks palju huvitavamaks. Muidugi veab neil nii mõndagi viltu ja ühele viperusele järgneb teine. Derk ja tema lapsed on aga nutikad ja kuigi näib, et neil puuduvad Pimeduse Isandale vajalikud oskused, suudavad nad leida viisi oma tugevuste rakendamiseks. Kõige rohkem meeldiski mulle just see osa raamatust, kus neile aina uusi takistusi teele paisati ja nad kõigele kiirelt reageerisid ning kavala lahenduse suutsid leida.

Edasi hakkas aga lugu allamäge kiskuma, sest läks täitsa sõjaks ja see oli küll viimane teema, millest ma hetkel lugeda tahtsin. Ma ei osanud üldse oodata, et huumoriga vürtsitatud lugu nii vägivaldse pöörde võtab. Lisaks ei saanud ma ühel hetkel ma ei saanud aru, kas hoida pöialt, et ringreisid õnnestuks või ebaõnnestuks. Üleüldse tundus raamatu keskel, et tegevus on väga laiali valgunud, ja võimatu oli aimata, kuhu lugu tüürib või mida öelda tahab. Kirjanikul on varuks õige mitu üllatust. Romaan võetakse aga hästi kokku ja eriti jäin rahule sõnumiga, mis lõpus välja tuli. See illustreerib suurepäraselt, miks ma fantaasiaromaane armastan - ulmeline lugu peegeldab täpipealt päris elu probleeme.
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