Review: Dark Lord of Derkholm (Derkholm #1) by Diana Wynne Jones

December 8, 2016 0 Stars, Book Review, Comedy Fantasy, Did Not Finish (DNF), Dragons, Fantasy, Flights of Fantasy, Hardback, series, War & Recovery, witches 4 DNF

Review: Dark Lord of Derkholm (Derkholm #1) by Diana Wynne Jones DNF
Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
Series: Derkholm #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on November 5, 1998
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 345
Format: Hardcover
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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.

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.

View Spoiler »

That was in Jan 2015.

It’s now December 2016…and I decided to call it quits. I hate rape and sexual abuse.

4 Responses to “Review: Dark Lord of Derkholm (Derkholm #1) by Diana Wynne Jones”

  1. =Tamar

    I hate that too, but I would like to point out that it may not have been completed. My reason for thinking that is a parallel image in the story, the goose that is accidentally swept into the dome for a very short time and then escapes unharmed, and then spends some time ignoring everything else while it unruffles its feathers. I consider this to be a coded message to the reader that the assault was not completed. Both the goose and the human character spend time ignoring everything else until they can regain their composure.

    • MrsJoseph

      I didn’t get to that part – but regardless, if you’re going to stage an assault-even an aborted one, don’t give me a “might not have happened” without true clarification. That killed anything good I felt towards this book.

  2. Cheryl Hart

    I was REALLY put off by the gang rape too. There’s no place for that kind of thing in a children’s book, and it’s completely inconsistent with rest of the story. AND if someone being gang-raped by hundreds of murderous criminals is SOOOO crucial to the story (which it was not), then why is it always a girl? Why not have one of the many young boys in the story be violated by many criminals? Rape is gross. But so is the embedded sexism that casts females as the inevitable (sexual) victim. And then to excuse the whole thing by her just hopping up with an “well it’s all over now, and I’m back to normal” attitude, is again, profoundly dismissive of females and the impact of gender-based violations upon them. I really like this author’s other works and I am shocked to encounter this in one of her books. UGH

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