Dark Lord: The Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson
|Dark Lord: The Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: The Dark Lord has been defeated by his archenemy, and banished to earth in the form of a teenage boy. Back home he visited torture and death upon those he conquered, but now he has to face even greater challenges: a caring foster family, school, and worst of all – friendship!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: October 2011|
What would you think, if you met a thirteen-year-old boy who turned up out of the blue and insisted, loudly and colourfully, that he was an evil demon and that he intended to smite you dead or submit you to a thousand terrible torments? Or both? Yup – the kid's nuttier than a fruit cake. Got a screw loose. Several sandwiches short of a picnic. And he's clearly played way too many computer games in his short life. So, despite his threats and protestations, he's got to go into foster care until his real family is found: after all, he can't be left sitting in a car park forever, can he? And once you realise there is no sign of a relative anywhere, well, there's his education to consider.
So the Dark Lord, now known as Dirk, finds himself at the local school, and in no time he has acquired a couple of friends, which is an entirely new and disturbing experience for him. It is more shocking, even, than the human transport system, where chariots like the ambulance which takes him to hospital run on wheels made apparently from the hard-set mucus of the Giant Spiderbeasts of Skorpulos. The only thing which makes him feel at home is the horrible ugliness of the Saveco supermarket.
This book has hit upon a clever and extremely funny concept, and the author manages to keep the reader, and towards the end, Dirk too, in some doubt as to his sanity. Is he really a demon, or just a confused and angry boy? We see his bewilderment and his fury at the beginning of the book, as everything he sees reminds him of home, but in a twisted and muddled way. The point is laboured a little, and the two specialists from the Child Psychology Unit (two? Is that usual?) are even less believable than he is, but once the story gets into its stride it is full of comic gems and laugh-out-loud moments. He somehow manages to make a minion (or, in the parlance of this world, a friend) of Sal, a popular Sports Captain, because although Dirk has no skill at sport himself, he is brilliant at strategy. Sal, Chris (the son of the couple who are fostering him) and Sooz, the Goth girl he insists on calling Child of the Night, accept his craziness and play along with his tantrums and demands as he tries various spells designed to get him home, simply because he is so funny. In fact, Sooz becomes rather too fond of him, a fact he of course fails to notice.
The reader is unsure if Dirk is deluded or not until very near the end of the book, and once that question is resolved the plot has an intriguing twist. Enough of the story is completed in this volume to leave the reader feeling satisfied, and there is the pleasure of knowing a second book in the series is due out in spring. It is a funny, utterly silly and enjoyable book, which lots of young readers will love.
Further reading suggestion: Another thirteen-year-old boy who feels he is in the wrong place will be found in The Space Crime Conspiracy by Gareth P Jones, which also contains lots of laughs and wonderfully silly humour.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dark Lord: The Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dark Lord: The Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson at Amazon.com.
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