Cover image for Year of the griffin
Year of the griffin
Jones, Diana Wynne.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
267 pages ; 24 cm
When Elda, the griffin daughter of the great Wizard Derk, arrives for schooling at the Wizards' University, she encounters new friends, pirates, assassins, worry, sabotage, bloodshed, and magic misused.
General Note:
Sequel to: Dark Lord of Derkholm.
Reading Level:
830 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.9 14.0 44732.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.4 20 Quiz: 23957 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



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 hugh 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 at the Wizards' University spins magically and magnificently out of control.

This breathtakingly brilliant sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm is all one would expect from this master of genre.

Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL) andBest Children's Books 2000 (PW)

Author Notes

Diana Wynne Jones was born in London on August 16, 1934. In 1953, she began school at St. Anne's College Oxford and attended lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. After graduation, she created plays for children that were performed at the London Arts Theatre. Her first book was published in 1973. She wrote over 40 books during her lifetime including Dark Lord of Derkholm, Earwig and the Witch, and the Chrestomanci series. She won numerous awards including the Guardian Award for Children's Books in 1977 for Charmed Life, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1984 for Archer's Goon, the Mythopeic Award in 1999, the Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999, and the Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Organization in 2007. Her book Howl's Moving Castle was adapted into an animated film by director Hayao Miyazaki, and the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. She died from lung cancer on March 26, 2011 at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-10. The sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998) retains the goofiness of its predecessor, continuing Jones' spoof of traditional fantasy conventions. Set at the poorly managed Wizard's University, the story follows the exploits of a select set of students, who manage to create enough havoc with the magic to ensure that the problems at the school are eventually on the way to being straightened out. The main characters are the griffin Elda, daughter of the great human wizard Derk; Lukin, crown prince of Luteria; Claudia, half-sister of the Emperor of the South; Olga, daughter of a former pirate-turned-gangster; Felim, brother of the Emir; and Ruskin, a dwarf revolutionary. Throw in, among other things, assassins hunting Felim, rogue griffins, magic jinxes, dwarf forgemasters, and senators of the Empire determined to execute Claudia, and there's mayhem and mirth aplenty. References to Dark Lord may entice readers to seek out that book, but the detailed characters and situations allow this novel to stand on its own. There's also a chance for yet another sequel. With instructors and antics to rival those in the Harry Potter books, this book may help impatient Potter fans cope with the wait for Harry's next adventure. --Sally Estes

Publisher's Weekly Review

Infused with all manner of enchantments, this boisterous spoof of the campus novel reads like a cross between David Lodge and a particularly buoyant incarnation of J.R.R. Tolkien. Standards at the Wizards' University have fallen grievously in recent years: under the leadership of Wizard Corkoran (a charismatic slacker preoccupied with dreams of moon travel), the school's main goals seem to be to enrich its coffers and graduate classes of mediocre bureaucrats. Into this unpromising situation bounds first-year student Elda, griffin daughter of the powerful Wizard Derk (the eccentric breeder of flying pigs, winged horses, etc., previously seen in Jones's Dark Lord of Derkholm). Elda becomes fast friends with other new students, among them a rebel dwarf, a penniless crown prince, the Emperor's jinxed half-sister and two youths who must hide their true identities. A newly kindled passion for the great works of magical literature and a shared struggle against such foes as a tyrannical professor and a band of trained assassins deepen the bonds of the students' friendship. One exuberantly inventive adventure follows the next all the way to the pleasing conclusion, in which matches are made, secrets revealed and numerous loose ends tied up. Great fun. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-It has been eight years since Mr. Chesney's Pilgrim Tours ended, and wizard Derk's world is still recovering from the devastation described in Dark Lord of Derkholm (Greenwillow, 1998). Derk's griffin daughter Elda has just begun her studies at Wizard's University, without her father's permission and despite his belief that the university is no place to learn anything. In fact, several members of Elda's class are attending without their families' knowledge, and the misdeeds ensuing from various attempts to retrieve or retaliate against the young wizards provide most of the dramatic thrust for this hilarious ensemble piece. Jones cleverly intertwines elements of humor, fantasy, and character development, as in the case of Crown Prince Lukin, who accidentally makes large holes in the ground whenever he does magic. Lukin's jinx produces some of the book's funniest moments, but it also reveals much about the young man himself. Readers new to the series will enjoy Year of the Griffin without first reading the previous book, though they will certainly want to backtrack to learn more about Elda, her family, and the Pilgrim Tours. The foreshadowing is so deft that the rather complicated climax makes perfect sense, while still leaving plenty of room for another sequel.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.