Pilgrim Parties: Reading through Dark Lord of Derkholm

After my summer reading list got slightly derailed earlier this month with the Hunger Games, I am finally finishing one of the books on my list.  I stayed up late last night finishing Dark Lord of Derkholm, a fantastic book by Diana Wynne Jones.

DarklordofderkholmcoverA couple of months back Melissa wrote a series of posts on The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, which is a companion book of sorts to Dark Lord of Derkholm. In Dark Lord of Derkholm, a business man has found a portal to the magical world, where Wizard Derk and his family live, and has been exploiting that world by making it an adventure theme park  for people who want to experience the quintessential fantasy adventure and defeat the Dark Lord and free the land. 

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because Jones’ storytelling is fantastic and I don’t want to deprive you all of the joy of reading her story her way.

I first fell in love with Jones when I read Howl’s Moving Castle.  Her worlds are vivid and full of marvelous characters that are at once ordinary and extraordinary, Dark Lord of Derkholm, is no exception. Wizard Derk is a middle aged family man who struggles with doing right by his family, doing his duty to fulfill a contract, and expressing his own creativity, which seem to be in consist conflict with one another.  His children, two human and four griffins, learn the strengths of their abilities, the value of loyalty, and assist in an epic adventure that is full of mishaps and magic.

What I love about Jones’ storytelling is that it come easy (not that telling a story is ever particularly easy but that her stories flow and come out naturally).  She never gets caught up in useless dialogue or explanations.  She lets her characters exist in the world and she doesn’t force them to behave in a particular way. All of their reactions and interactions fit who they are and who they are becoming. Jones also flits from one character’s perspective to another’s with ease and grace providing a full scope of the events and depth to the world.  Though it is never mentioned explicitly, the reader is aware that all of the characters have lives beyond what is actually told.  They have motives and intentions, which complicate and compel the story.

This is a great book for young and old fantasy readers and I cannot wait to pick up with sequel!

Happy Reading!


About LizzyBeth

There is a Story inside of me that I must give a voice. I write so that imagination can take me to Faerie and I can catch a glimpse of the Otherworld and hopefully so will you.

Posted on July 26, 2013, in Authors, Children's Literature, Diana Wynne Jones, Fantasy, Literary Criticism, Rachel Burkholder and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Five griffins… but yes, there are tiny details that expand the characters’ lives beyond the mere plot – Kit’s paintings, Elda’s stories, Callette’s engineering talent, Lydda’s plan to be a healer, Don’s simple reliability – sometimes only mentioned once. Blink and you’ll miss them. DWJ was a master.

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