Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones book review

Note: This is a spoiler free review!

This is the sequel to, The dark lord of Derkholm. Be sure to check out that review first!


It is eight years after the tours from offworld have stopped. High Chancellor Querida has retired, leaving Wizard Corkoran in charge of the Wizards’ University. Although Wizard Corkoran’s obsession is to be the first man on the moon, and most of his time is devoted to this project, he decides he will teach the new first years himself in hopes of currying the favor of the new students’ families—for surely they must all come from wealth, important families—and obtaining money for the University (which it so desperately needs). But Wizard Corkoran is dismayed to discover that one of those students—indeed, one he had such high hopes for, Wizard Derk’s own daughter Elda—is a huge golden griffin, and that none of the others has any money at all.

Wizard Corkoran’s money-making scheme backfires, and when Elda and her new friends start working magic on their own, the schemes go wronger still. And when, at length, Elda ropes in her brothers Kit and Blade to send Corkoran to the moon… well… life at the Wizards’ University spins magically and magnificently out of control.

Initial thoughts

The Dark lord of Derkholm was the first Diana Wynne Jones book I read and I think one of the first fully fantasy novels I’d read. By that, I mean, properly set in fantasyland. It being the norm. 

I loved that book and so was super excited to discover a sequel. (Took me long enough to read it though.)


Diana Wynne Jones seems to have knack for juggle several characters at once. It doesn’t read chaotic or annoying. I really like enjoy it.

She does the occasional head hope, but not too much and, if I’m honest, it has a certain charm. (Rules made to be broken, am I right?)


The plot is fun and light hearted. No angst. Now I like me some angst, but sometimes it’s nice to read something that’s just good fun.

But there was a whole other plot happening in the background that you never get to see which sucked because it seemed interesting. A few things happened off scene. And some plot elements were wrapped up too quick or not evolved on. I think the book was a bit too quick and short. I would’ve loved more book.

I think you’d get away with reading this without the first, although you’d miss a couple of ‘inside’ things. 


Many of the characters from the previous novel show up, but only one is a main character. I was really sad about this because I’d loved those characters. 

But I really enjoyed the new characters too. 

Overall thoughts

The main let down is plot for me, but I still considered it to be an excellent, well worth reading novel. If you’re looking for something light and fun, then I recommend this!

Was it worth the read? Yes

Would I re-read? No

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Flames: Flame 4 grey

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