Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Imagine that your world has real elves, dragons, wizards, and all those items necessary for a good fantasy tale. Then imagine that an enterprising person from an "otherworld" much like ours stumbled through a portal and discovered this real "fantasy" world. Forty years later you might have a problem much like that in this book where Mr. Chesney's Pilgrim Parties come on tour wanting to enjoy a classic fantasy adventure.
The only problem is that Mr. Chesney's contract is so airtight that it devastates the fantasy world and everyone is at their wits' end trying to fulfill their obligations. So when the Light Oracle and the Dark Oracle tell the ruling council what to do to end this devastation, no one asks questions. Except, that is, for Wizard Derk since part of the requirement is that he becomes this year's Dark Wizard. This leads a mild mannered wizard who only wants to develop new forms of animals into an increasing spiral of management and chaos.
This is a unique concept for a story that hooked me from the beginning. When you add in Diana Wynne Jones' brand of humor you will understand why I read this book in a dead heat in one day, occasionally cackling with laughter ... which everyone got used to as the day progressed. I will never again be able to say, "when pigs fly" without cracking up.
Get this book and read it.
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