Tuesday, September 24, 2019

MG Fantasy review of The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

43212931The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz
Format:  E ARC
Publisher:  Algonquin Young Readers
Number of Pages:  366
Publishing:   October 1st, 2019
Source:  Edelweiss Plus

Opening Lines: "Clementine Morcerous awoke one morning to discover that her father had no nose."  

The Dark Lord Elithor is under a curse and is slowly "whittling" away.  Clementine is determined to find the person responsible and reverse the curse before there is nothing left of him, but when you're an evil dark lord, you're bound to have made a few enemies.  

For hundred's of years Clementine's father has reigned over Castle Brack unchallenged, but now that he is indisposed,  Clementine must take over the day to day operations of the families estate, including all of the Dark Lord's responsibilities.  Everything from tending to the fire-breathing chickens and grooming the nightmares on the farm,  to performing the Dark Lord's dastardly deeds on the local villagers.  Lord Elithor has been preparing Clementine to take over, training her in the ways of being a proper Evil Lord, but Clementine isn't sure her dark magic skills are fully up to the task.  

At first, Clementine is concerned that she's not living up to the family name, feeling worthless, unsure of how she can help her father.  But, Clementine isn't easily discouraged from searching for answers and a cure for her father's curse.  As the curse takes further hold on her father, the magical charms on the farm and everything within the boundaries of the castle begins to change.  The magical scarecrows stop their chores, the witch in the kitchen has run away and the silence imposed on the farm by her father is weakening leaving the castle open for an attack.  Joining Clemintine on her adventure are an unusual, but humorous mix of characters;  there's Sebastian, a boy from the village who wants nothing more than to be a chivalrous knight,  Darka the unicorn huntress, Dave a book-loving, talking black sheep and Gricken the part grimoire part chicken, whose eggs contain magical spells.  Together they venture into the neighboring woods in search of the curse casting culprit.  

The Dark Lord Clementine has the kind of premise that I so love, with a character who's unpredictable, and not going to behave in a typical way that you'd expect.  I just adored Clementine and the way that she changed throughout the story.  How her search for answers to her father's curse allowed her to explore her own feelings about being the heir of Castle Brack and whether she really had what it takes to follow in her father's footsteps as an evil lord.  She does have all the makings of an evil lord, she's commanding, dignified, proper, but beneath that refined exterior is a girl that is also lonely.  Prior to meeting Darka, Sebastian and Dave, Clementine lived a very solitary life, a life that she no longer wants for herself.  Making new friends has taken on a new importance to her.   It's something that she's not willing to give up.  I so enjoyed the humorous way the story explored good versus evil and how happy thoughts and memories were the special ingredients needed for performing magical spells.  I'm hoping they'll be more stories for the Dark Lord Clementine.      


  1. I hadn't heard of this one before. It sounds great. I love the special ingredients needed for performing magic. :) Thanks for the introduction!

  2. This sounds like a fun read. It sort of reminds of Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain, in that a young girl is involved in 'evil' things where you wouldn't usually expect her to be.