Read for the RIP VI and 2011 YA Reading Challenges.
While this book isn’t a sure fit for the RIP Challenge categories (this picking things only out of my TBR stash is hard!), it is a great deconstruction of the take no prisoners dark lord tries to take over the world kind of stories, so I’m going to sneak it into my challenge reading.
For years, Mr. Chesney has been running tourist packages into a neighboring universe that happens to have magic. His guests pay lots of money to met elves, see dragons, fight various bad guys, and generally have a magical good time. Of course, the people of the other universe aren’t having such a good time, because they’ve been compelled to provide guidance and fighting forces.
This year, it’s Wizard Derk’s turn to play the Dark Lord. Derk’s a bit of an odd ball - he left the academy to go off on his own, so he could do what he does best, create new and interesting forms of life, including carnivorous sheep, intelligent geese, and his crowning achievement, griffins. The griffins are as much his children as his two natural children, and they've all grown up considering each other brothers and sisters.
And so, it becomes a family affair of trying to portray the Dark Lord, while maybe, just maybe, managing to find Mr. Chesney’s weakness, so they can get him to stop the trips once and for all.
This book is great. There’s a cast of thousands, and they’re all interesting, and funny. There are clichés galore, and lots of tossing (and perhaps hacking them) out the window. This is definitely great reading for any fantasy fan.