book review – the dark lord clementine by sarah jean horwitz

i received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. all opinions below are my own.

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz


★★★★

The new face of big evil is a little . . . small.
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?

this was such a fun read! middle grade novels never fail to cheer me up, and oh my goodness, i’m so glad i decided to pick this up because it was exactly what i needed – i’ve been so stressed the past few weeks and the dark lord clementine put a huge goofy smile on my face.

the world building is incredibly amazing. clementine, the main character, is the daughter of a dark lord who lives in a castle and is somewhat regarded as a monarch in the local village. she is forced to take matters into her own hands and practise dark magic to perform a “dastardly deed” on behalf of the dark lord when he becomes too weak to do it himself. with the aid of a spellbook-turned-chicken and other animals, clementine sets off on a quest to recover her father’s health. i especially loved seeing mythical creatures in the book – unicorns, talking black sheep, nightmares and satyrs.

right now, i… i just want to do what most people do. i just want to be.

the dark lord clementine by sarah jean horwitz

i also really loved the process of self-discovery and growth clementine undergoes. in the beginning, clementine always scolds herself for the most ridiculous things – for showing kindness, and for not being “evil” enough, just because the blood of dark lords runs in her veins. as the story progresses, she finds out that her father’s reign of terror actually affects the local villagers in terrible ways, and starts to reflect upon what she really wants to be the one inflicting this dreadfulness when she grows up.

and there are also a couple of positive messages that can be taken away from this book.

first of all, friendship can be found in the most unexpected places if you’re willing to accept it. in the book, clementine befriends a descendant of a witch, a village boy aspiring to be a knight, and even a black sheep who likes to read! they seem to have nothing in common, but they always help each other out, and i loved that so much.

also, there isn’t a definite boundary between good and evil. clementine is a dark lord in training, while her father is a dark lord, but both of them aren’t completely evil. clementine has a heart of gold – she cares a lot about her friends, as well as her family, and she treats animals with so much gentleness and respect, while the dark lord himself is never fully committed in performing his evil acts. and the same goes for darka, who hunts unicorns. it’s evident that she cares about clementine, and wants to earn her friendship, but at times she lets her rage consume her.

all that being said, the dark lord clementine is a great book about friendship and bravery, set in a mythical world with unicorns and other mythical creatures. if you’re looking for a light-hearted, short read, i’d highly recommend this novel. ♡


have you read the dark lord clementine? what did you think? do you like middle grade novels and do you think they are still suitable for teenagers and grown up readers? let me know in the comments.

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