The Year of the Griffin
by Diana Wynne Jones
Greenwillow/HarperTrophy, 2000, ISBN 0-065-447335-X
A book review by Elisabeth Carey
Elda, Wizard Derk's griffin daughter from Dark Lord of Derkholm, is a first-year student at Wizards' University, seven years after the events in the previous book. Unfortunately, the finances of the place have collapsed utterly due to the end of the tourist trade which was otherwise such a curse to their world. The University is severe danger of bankruptcy, and the wizardly education isn't all that good, either, since for decades previously it had been focused entirely on producing showmen for the tourist trade. Things go from bad to worse when the University sends letters to the families of all the first-year students begging for money. Every single one of those students was there in defiance of either their family or their government, and once the letters are received, the school is beset by assassins, renegade griffins, armies, and pirates. Elda and her fellow first-years organize in an attempt to save themselves, save the school, and somehow or other pick up a wizardly education. Great fun.