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Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones

Year of the Griffin is the sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm, and takes place 8 years after Mr. Chesney’s tours have ended. Wizard Derk’s youngest daughter, Elda, is now at the Wizard’s University and finding her talons full of magical mayhem. The university itself is in dire financial straits. Now that the tours have stopped, along with Mr. Chesney’s payments, the university has considerably less money than it is used to, and turns to its students’ parents for aid. Unfortunately, these aren’t typical students with proud parents, and a number are on the run from their families. When the letters reach their homes, the students find themselves battling trained assassins and pirates, to say nothing of ineffable grading curves, incompetent professors, inedible refectory food, heartbreak, and renegade griffins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones is one of my very favorite authors, so this review of Dark Lord of Derkholm (which now officially one of my favorite DWJ books) will be somewhat biased (although I haven’t loved everything I’ve read by her, but I’ve never hated anything either). What I love best about her work is her uncanny ability to transport her readers to a different, fully-realized world. Not only does she take you there, but you want to curl up and take up residence—DWJ’s stories are never truly over. Even after you turn the page, you suspect that there is much more to the story, and you want to linger there long after she’s concluded her tale. To me, that’s what separates good stories from great ones. She also populates her stories with great characters—flawed, but memorable and sympathetic. There’s no sense in having a wonderfully detailed world, if the reader hates everyone that lives there. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones

Enchanted Glass, like all of Diana Wynne Jones’ novels, concerns the collision between the ordinary and the extraordinary, life and death. In fact, the novel opens with a death—that of Jocelyn Brandon, a wizard, who leaves his home and field-of-care (set in the fictional town of Mel Tump) to his grandson, Andrew Hope. Andrew, a history professor, finds himself in the care of two tyrants—his housekeeper, Mrs. Stock, and the gardener, Mr. Stock (the two are not related). Andrew happily goes about setting up his new home, while irking his employees. He is so single-minded about his quest to write a book about history—a new view of history—that he does not attend to his property’s magical nature or the fact that someone has been leeching his magic. As Mr. and Mrs. Stock plot to force Andrew to heed his magical duty, Aidan Cain, a twelve-year-old orphan, arrives at Andrew’s doorstep on the run from mysterious (and dangerous) stalkers. Aidan’s grandmother has just died and had once instructed him to see Jocelyn should anything happen to her. With Aidan’s arrival, Andrew begins to feel stirrings in his memory of the many lessons his grandfather gave him—lessons that will prove useful in defeating the dark powers chasing Aidan and leeching off his lands. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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