Year of the Griffin

While not as riotously, gleefully parodic as the first in the series, Dark Lord of Derkholm (which I don't think I really properly reviewed, but bottom line: go read it), the sequel, Year of the Griffin simply oozes charm and wit and fun all over the page and onto the reader.  It's delightful.




Elda, one of the younger griffin daughters of Derk the Wizard (he of the titular "Derkholm" in the first book) decides to attend university for mages.  Unfortunately, since wizards had so long been practicing merely for profit for offworlders, their grasp of magic isn't that great.  In fact, it pretty much stinks.  Wizard Corkoran has become head of the university while its former president, Querida, is away fixing mountains and trees and such (which, to me, sounds infinitely preferable to running a school, but to each his or her own).  Unfortunately, Corkoran grew up giving tours and generally being flashy, so he thinks that his blonde hair and snazzy ties make up for his deficiencies in ... well, most everything else.  He neglects his teaching duties (except for the cute female students, of course) in favor of his research of going to ... the moon!


Notified by the Bursar that the school is dangerously in need of funds, Corkoran tosses off the idea of begging each student's parents for money.

This, clearly, was not thought through.  In his first class, Corkoran encounters a runaway prince, Lukin; a mysterious, rich, and beautiful girl, Olga; a dwarf slave on the lam; Ruskin, the half-sister of Emperor Titus, Claudia; and Felim, a fugitive from the Emirates.  Oh, and who could forget the massive golden griffin in the room: Elda, daughter of Derk, one of the greatest wizards in the world.

Nearly all of Elda's friends are in some sort of mortal danger, and they (rightly) don't believe that the school's wards can protect them.  So, they take it upon themselves to learn old magic and set up their own protective spells.  As you might imagine, things go horribly and hysterically awry, with shrunken assassins, mice assassins, and one deadly cockerel.  And that's just for Felim.

Jones just has heaps of fun with the magic school setting, and pokes fun at how fantasy characters of yore just fell in love at first sight (you'll be practically crawling over couples at the end), but it's all very tongue-in-cheek and wink-wink-nudge-nudge.

This is just a joy to read and made me feel happy.  What else could one ask for in a book?

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