The DWJ Project: Year of the Griffin

This is the third book in the “Fantasyland” set, following on Dark Lord of Derkholm, about eight years after the end of that book. It is less closely linked to Tough Guide to Fantasyland, though; the tours are done, and the world is sorting itself back into some kind of order, when Derk’s youngest griffin daughter Elda goes off to wizard college.

As I said before, I’m a sucker for the younger generation finding out just what they’re capable of. As a result, I really like Year of the Griffin, just for watching the protagonists deal with each other’s problems — Claudia’s jinx, the assassins after Felim, the dwarven rebellion that sent Ruskin, and so on. It’s amazing what you can do with a card catalogue and a bit of intellectual curiosity . . . .

I kind of want to kick Corkoran in the head for being so obsessed with his moonshot, even if I totally believe in that dynamic, academically speaking — the professor who’s more concerned with his pet project than with teaching. Wehrmacht I want to kick even more, for sheer incompetence. But they aren’t generally malevolent (not like Mr. Chesney in Dark Lord), and I’m not expected to sympathize with them as protagonists, so I can deal with that impulse. I quite Elda and Lukin and Olga and Claudia and Felim and Ruskin, and that’s the part that matters.

0 Responses to “The DWJ Project: Year of the Griffin”

  1. rachelmanija

    I love it for being one of the few books about college which accurately captures the student experience and isn’t about professors pondering their ennui. It’s so funny and true about so many college things, from broke students to student bonding to hopeless research projects to clever shortcuts for finishing assignments that turn out to be anything but.

    Also, the multiple traps for Felim’s assassins! The mouse-sized assassins in the cage!

  2. la_marquise_de_

    I found that one to be the funniest of the sequence: something about the way the young characters talk to each other, I think.

    • Marie Brennan

      It helps that they don’t have the grinding logistical problems that Derk does in Dark Lord.

      • la_marquise_de_

        Yes. Plus the problem with Dark Lord is that, funny though the Tough Guide is, it isn’t actually as real a reflection of formula fantasy as many people take it to be — and in particular as a background it’s way over the top in terms of viability as a writing project (and she’s wrong about stew). This means that the set-up Derk has to deal with is one that is designed to be impossible and that harmed the book.

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