Evilly-inclined twelve-year-olds are my jam. The moment I saw this book on Netgalley, I hoped I could read it. Plus there are hedgewitches, talking sheep, and unicorns! It sounded like the perfect quirky MG fantasy for me. I was not wrong.
Title: The Dark Lord Clementine
Author: Sarah Jean Horwitz
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: October 1
Genres: MG Fantasy
I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Dastardly deeds aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind when one hears the name “Clementine,” but as the sole heir of the infamous Dark Lord Elithor, twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous has been groomed since birth to be the best (worst?) Evil Overlord she can be. But everything changes the day the Dark Lord Elithor is cursed by a mysterious rival.
Now, Clementine must not only search for a way to break the curse, but also take on the full responsibilities of the Dark Lord. As Clementine forms her first friendships, discovers more about her own magic than she ever dared to explore, and is called upon to break her father’s code of good and evil, she starts to question the very life she’s been fighting for. What if the Dark Lord Clementine doesn’t want to be dark after all?
If you’re in the mood for witchy, magical books, then The Dark Lord Clementine is for you! It has a hilarious and relatable main character, a talking black sheep, hedgewitches, and unicorns! Such a good combination.
Our main character, Clementine, is a twelve-year-old girl learning how to become a Dark Lord. She loves doing dark magic and Dastardly Deeds with her father, but sometimes she feels the need to get away and tend to her magical garden. She is sometimes so fierce, but sometimes she’s unsure of herself. I loved seeing her struggle with her big questions and come to her own answers.
This book has quite the cast, but it doesn’t feel too big, especially because the secondary characters are well-rounded. I loved seeing Clementine making friends with some of them, even though sometimes she had a hard time. I won’t mention anything more specific, otherwise I’d be headed into spoiler territory. But the relationships Clementine makes are complex and interesting.
My favorite part is the way the author explores themes of evilness, goodness, and happiness. The story isn’t just black and white—there’s a bit of gray, a bit of black, and even some white in there as well. It makes me very excited for the next book (if there is one. There does seem to be potential for a second).
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys quirky MG fantasies. This was such a romp!