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Merle

Merle

Dark Lord of Derkholm  - Diana Wynne Jones Dark Lord of Derkholm is a comical parody of epic fantasy: Fantasyland is overrun by tourists expecting to go on quests and slay this year's Dark Lord: the wizard Derk, who breeds all sorts of magical animals, from sarcastic geese to carnivorous sheep, and has no interest in pretending to be evil. Hilarity ensues as he and his family (including seven children, two humans and five griffins) try to fulfill the Dark Lord's responsibility to keep the tours going.

This is a great book if you're looking for a laugh, and it has a few perks beyond that: many little truths about human relations appear in the interactions of Derk's family, and there are a couple of deeper themes. However, this book skims the surface of most of the moral and psychological issues the narrative runs into; I dearly hope that rape and Shona's reaction to it were meant as a parody of something, because otherwise the handling of it was shameful. Still, I'd recommend this one for comic relief and a few heartwarming moments.