Year of the Griffin

A big part of my blog will be book reviews, so here is the first!

I just finished reading Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones.  A friend let me borrow her copy and said it was one of her favorite books.  Her copy didn’t have the book jacket on it, and since I hadn’t looked it up until just now to find an image, I didn’t realize it was a sequel until just now! I’m actually really excited since that means there’s another great book out there written in a similar manner.

The good news is, you obviously don’t have to read the first in the series to enjoy this book.  There’s enough background information to give you understanding and the character development is really thorough.  I love this book for its multiple dimensions.  It’s written as a children’s story, so it’s easy to follow and has a light-hearted, enjoyable fantasy plot.  However, Jones’ humor and wit is quite developed, which the older reader can enjoy.

The book follows a group of magical creatures (human, griffin, dwarf, and more) at a wizarding university.  The school has fallen apart for a number of reasons, which is a central part of the plot.  Each student also has their own problems and secrets about their past and family background.  Because of this, there are many unusual occurrences at the university, which include invasions of pirates, tiny men with swords, and royalty.

Meanwhile, each student fights an internal battle of self-discovery among all of this confusion.  While trying to discover and harness their own magical power, they must also discover who they are themselves.  As they do this, they learn a great deal about friendship, family, and love.  Furthermore, Jones’ makes clear the theme of diversity as the very different characters grow into a tight-knit family, despite their initial hesitations.

In the beginning, I found it difficult to keep all of the characters straight and remember the details, but I would prefer highly developed characters over easy-to-follow boring ones.  Nevertheless, at times Jones seems to flood the reader with information and sudden plot advances (especially since this book is aimed at children).  Still, I immensely enjoyed it and would recommend this book.  I hope to read it again at some point to gain more understanding of the subtleties.  Now that I know this book is actually a sequel, I’ll have to read the initial book as well!  Once I do, you’ll be hearing from me again.  Thanks for stopping by!

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2 comments on “Year of the Griffin

  1. mandala56 says:

    I love DWJ, so I’m glad to see a reference to a title I haven’t yet found! Thanks!

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