Danielle's Reviews > The Dark Lord of Derkholm

The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
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's review
Dec 09, 10

bookshelves: eng-420-required
Read in October, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

This book is a fantasy novel that actually has the courage to make fun of other fantasy novels. However, the extreme amount of fantasy in the book was too much for me to handle. This book is a fantasy novel that would be a good read for young adult readers, probably ages 13 to 18 and older. The book tells the story of Derk, who lives in a fictional world with Dark Lords, dragons, elves, farmers, kings and queens, wizards, minions and more. Derk is forced to pretend to be the Dark Lord so that the Pilgrim Parties can come experience an exciting adventure in their world. However, when Derk falls into a coma it's up to his family to take care of the Pilgrim Parties, launching them on an adventure of their own. When Kit and Blade return from being captured and saved by the dragon, they discover that Derk is still in terrible shape and the evil Mr. Chesney is on his way to Derkholm to cause even more mayhem. Now, its up to Blade and the rest of Derk's children to save the world from Mr. Chesney.

While this book had some great parallels to our real world and creatively examined exploitation, I found it much too busy and hard to follow. I was surprised how quickly Jones threw us into the story without warning. For the first few chapters I was simply trying to figure out what was going on and found that I was continually referring to the back cover of the book to remind myself of the general plot. One of the biggest issues for me was differentiating between the characters. Not only are there just a ton of characters essential to moving the plot forward, there are a bunch of characters that think, talk, and act like humans who are in fact animals. I have a problem remembering names in books I read so it was hard for me to figure out if I was reading about a griffin or a wizard a lot of times. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to get confused. However, once you can get past this and sort out who each named creature really is in relation to the plot, the story wraps you up in its humor, excitement and tension.

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