It’s Not Easy Being Evil

To keep your standing as a Dark Lord of the Seven Sisters, it’s a must to submit ample proof of dastardly deeds to the Council of Evil Overlords. Those embrace poisonings, unlucky transfiguration, a racket (tennis tools not acceptable), homicide, kidnappings, plague and/or enhanced climate phenomena. In Sarah Jean Horwitz’s THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE (Algonquin, 329 pp., $17.99; ages 10 and up), a hilariously heartwarming magical journey, that’s not as straightforward because it sounds.

Dark Lord Elithor Morcerous is notorious for his dastardly deeds, however he hasn’t been himself these days. He now not summons his 12-year-old daughter, Clementine, for magic classes. He doesn’t come out of his tower for meals. And there’s one thing unusual about his look. Has he obtained an unflattering haircut? No, that wouldn’t clarify his nostril, which “became skinnier and skinnier, and his chin weaker and weaker,” till his pores and skin “took on the raw-looking texture of freshly chopped wood.” When his fingers sharpen into lengthy factors, Clementine decides to broach the topic, regardless of their unstated settlement to by no means discuss something.

“It’s obvious,” Clementine says. “Something is … chipping away at you!”

Convinced her father’s been cursed, Clementine scours his cavernous library for clues, the place she learns (from the Witchionary, in fact) that he has been cursed by the Whittle Witch of the Woods.

Clementine desires to do one thing, particularly when their farm falls to near-ruin, however Dark Lord Elithor makes Clementine promise — “above all else” — that she’s going to not go in search of the Whittle Witch. He calls for to be left alone in his tower at Castle Brack so he can reverse the curse on his personal. But there is probably not time for that; quickly, Dark Lord Elithor is reprimanded by the Council of Evil Overlords, who remind Clementine that “the primary function of Dark Lords is to terrorize lesser beings through Dastardly Deeds.” Failure to meet this responsibility has many penalties, together with, however not restricted to, “transfiguration of the guilty parties into many small insects, which will then be individually squished.”

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