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In the very strange Pilgrim Parties of Diana Wynne Jones's Dark Lord of Derkholm, tourists from the next universe would come to wizards' lands expecting to have exciting battles with dwarfs, dragons, and the powers of darkness. Sadly, wizards were forced to host these hokey yet horrific pseudoadventures, and in the process, laid waste to their lands. But as its sequel Year of the Griffin begins, we learn with some relief that the mercenary Mr. Chesney's magic tours had ended eight years previous. While that is excellent news, the Wizards' University is now decidedly short of funds.
Wavy-blond-haired Professor Corkoran has plenty of schemes for extracting money from his students' families. But he always has plenty of ideas, and none of them work. Besides, he is too busy researching how to be the first man to walk on the moon to do much of anything else. As his new crop of students shows up, Corkoran is in for a surprise. Not only do none of them have any money, but one is a huge griffin, "brightly golden in fur and crest and feathers, so sharply curved of beak, and so fiercely alert in her round orange eyes that at first sight she seemed to fill a room." (Meet Elda, softhearted yet gigantic daughter of Wizard Derk.)
The hilarious goings-on begin when Corkoran's moneymaking schemes backfire horribly, and the motley crew of would-be wizards begin their studies. Comical tableaux involving spells that create deep pits and smelly winged monkeys alternate with suspenseful (yet always amusing) scenes involving tiny assassins who mean business. Jones's satirical pokes at academia, racial intolerance (the greenish and jinxed Claudia has mixed blood), and hierarchical societies (Ruskin is bucking the tyranny of the forgemasters to become the first dwarf wizard) keep the story lively, as do the realistic portrayals of her very odd and endearing cast of characters. You definitely don't have to have read Dark Lord to enjoy this wonderful sequel, but you may not be able to resist going back to it. (Ages 12 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Infused with all manner of enchantments, this boisterous spoof of the campus novel reads like a cross between David Lodge and a particularly buoyant incarnation of J.R.R. Tolkien. Standards at the Wizards' University have fallen grievously in recent years: under the leadership of Wizard Corkoran (a charismatic slacker preoccupied with dreams of moon travel), the school's main goals seem to be to enrich its coffers and graduate classes of mediocre bureaucrats. Into this unpromising situation bounds first-year student Elda, griffin daughter of the powerful Wizard Derk (the eccentric breeder of flying pigs, winged horses, etc., previously seen in Jones's Dark Lord of Derkholm). Elda becomes fast friends with other new students, among them a rebel dwarf, a penniless crown prince, the Emperor's jinxed half-sister and two youths who must hide their true identities. A newly kindled passion for the great works of magical literature and a shared struggle against such foes as a tyrannical professor and a band of trained assassins deepen the bonds of the students' friendship. One exuberantly inventive adventure follows the next all the way to the pleasing conclusion, in which matches are made, secrets revealed and numerous loose ends tied up. Great fun. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I haven't actually opened this yet as it is a Christmas present for me, but it arrived very quickly and it's an excellent book so I don't really care about condition :)Published 23 months ago by Kit
This book is as great as the origanel book, Dark Lord of Derkholm. It is about Elda as she goes to the Wizard's Universety. It also is about her friends and the problems they have. Read morePublished on May 11 2002
As a sequel to "The Dark Lord Of Derkhom", this book does not continue the plot of Derk, the former "Dark Lord", but instead follows his young griffin daughter, Elda, as she... Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2002 by Amazon Customer
Diana Wynne Jones is my all-time favorite author.
But she doesn't do well with sequels.
Her characterization is flawless. Read more
i'm an avid fan of DWJ's earlier works ... although i like the world of -dark lord- and -griffin- better than the chrestomanci or cart and cwidder novels, the characterization and... Read morePublished on July 11 2001 by spacedog
In this sequel to the terrific The Dark Lord of Derkholm, Derk's youngest griffin daughter Elda sets of for wizarding university. Read morePublished on Dec 6 2000 by Amazon Customer
I loved this book I couldn't stop reading it all day. I cannot wait untill she writes her next book in this series because a lot of things were left unfinished. Read morePublished on Oct. 5 2000
I love D.W.J, and this book is great! This time, the main character is Elda, Derk's griffin daughter, who has gone to school at the wizard university. Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2000 by Lindsey Conrotto