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Year of the Griffin  By  cover art

Year of the Griffin

By: Diana Wynne Jones
Narrated by: Jonathan Broadbent
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Publisher's Summary

A hilarious fantasy sequel to The Dark Lord of Derkholm, set at the University after the ‘fantasy world' tours have stopped, and centred around six students (one a Griffin) and the bumbling new University Head Wizard. From the ‘Godmother of Fantasy', Diana Wynne Jones.

The Year of the Griffin is the sequel to The Dark Lord of Derkholm, set in the same world several years after the abolition of commercial ‘fantasy world' tourism from our world.

The University now aims to produce competent wizards to repair the damage caused by the tours. It's broke, and out of date in terms of what it teaches. The new head, Wizard Corkoran, is obsessed with becoming the first man to visit the moon, and so is mostly preoccupied, and the new faculty is mostly inexperienced.

Wizard Corkoran has selected children from wealthy families to fill his own first-year classes, hoping to beg for money. But his students turn out to be more than he expected in oh-so-many ways, and despite the incompetence of their teacher, it falls to them to save the university… and themselves.

©2013 Diana Wynne Jones (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

For Diana Wynne Jones:

"…Her hallmarks include laugh-aloud humour, plenty of magic and imaginative array of alternate worlds. Yet, at the same time, a great seriousness is present in all of her novels, a sense of urgency that links Jones's most outrageous plots to her readers' hopes and fears…" (Publishers Weekly)
"Truly magical - guaranteed to leave you gasping - even hotter than Potter" (The Bookseller)

For The Merlin Conspiracy:

"The characterisation is first rate, the ideas are fabulous … This is fantasy at its most inventive - canny, funny and far-reaching." (The Telegraph)
"A curiosity shop of a book … a pleasure to lose yourself in." (The Sunday Times)
"The Merlin Conspiracy is Wynne Jones on top form … [her] powerful narrative and her ability to create extraordinary characters with real emotions make her more than a worthy rival to J K Rowling." (Financial Times)
"A must for all Wynne Jones fans, past, present and future." (Limited Edition)

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  • FJM
  • 02-04-14

Enjoyable, but oddities in the narration

Would you consider the audio edition of Year of the Griffin to be better than the print version?

Frankly, I prefer the print version. Diana Wynne Jones' intricate plots seem to work better on the page somehow. And I was irritated by the narrator using completely different accents for the human and griffon siblings, something he also did in Dark Lord - wondering how members of the same family come to have accents ranging from Mummerset to Birmingham to cod French is a completely unnecessary distraction from an excellent novel...

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  • Cait
  • 07-23-15

Fantastic book from a sadly missed author

Love this book, my only quibble is with the narrator's use of different accents for the characters.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 02-01-22

Fun story a bit ruined by the ending

So the story is generally pretty fun and very well written. It's just a shame that the 'happy ending' required basically all the characters to pair up in nice neat het couples whether there's chemistry there or not. If this was romance novel then, sure, makes sense. This is a fantasy kids book about teenagers going off to find themselves at magic uni and fighting tiny assassins! There's a character who has escaped a forced marriage to go and get an education and their happy ending is getting engaged! It even ends with a weird conversation between two otherwise great characters talking about how the girls they fancy are a bit young to be in relationships so they'll have to keep hanging around for a few years hoping...?
Also it's heavily implied that one of the 30+yo teachers is sleeping with his (hopefully 18yo) students but it's fine because the student is dumb and pretty.
Otherwise it's a really fun book and very well written
The narration continues the weird choice from the first book that characters who grew up in the same household have completely different accents but I guess that's to make it easier for kids to follow? Anyway, you get used to it after a bit.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr Mark Ellis
  • 07-24-22

I love this story

I have listened to it maybe three or four times and it never gets old it is one of my go to sweet fun lovable stories