Dark Lord: The Early Years by Jamie Thomson Book Review

While I absolutely love and don’t discount middle grade as a whole, sometimes books can skew a little young for me and thus I end up not really being a fan. Unfortunately, this was the case with Dark Lord: The Early Years by Jamie Thomson. It’s not an awful book by any means, but it’s not one I would go about recommending to people whose tastes are extremely similar to mine. I guess if I really had to boil down my opinion of Dark Lord: The Early Years, I’d say, on the whole the main character was a little MUCH for me.

Dark Lord The Early Years Jamie Thomson Book Cover

Dark Lord: The Early Years opens with the main character, Dark Lord, waking up in the parking lot of a grocery store in the body of a young boy, missing all of his evil powers. He is taken to the hospital and has like zero concept of how humans work. Then he is sent to a foster home where one parent is a doctor, the other a pastor and they already have a son. From there we see Dark Lord, whom everyone else calls Dirk Lloyd adjust to life on Earth. He keeps scheming to go back to his universe and if that doesn’t work, enslave humanity. Along the way important lessons are learned.

Straight up, as a grown up, I found Dirk Lloyd, the Dark Lord, whatever kind of annoying. I imagine some people will be charmed and amused by him, but I don’t know he just seemed like the type of person who takes Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer a little TOO seriously. It’s kind of a bit much to read long rambling bits about how in his universe lots of creatures suffer under his evil dominion and he would have magical powers, blah blah blah. And then all the weird evil laughing. I don’t know? What I do know is reading and thinking I am way too old for this, which I do not often think while reading middle grade speculative/science fiction/fantasy.

On the upside, Dark Lord: The Early Years was a pretty quick read. It’s kind of a short book and besides all of Dirk’s rambling about his home universe, gets right to the point. So, on the whole I wasn’t too upset about wasted time while reading Dark Lord: The Early Years.

Look, obviously Dark Lord: The Early Years did not work for me, but honestly I could really see a set of young middle school male readers LOVING this book. I think a lot of kids would get a kick out of Dirk. In all honesty, this is one of those times where a book didn’t click with me but that is absolutely not to say that it would not click with other people and judging by goodreads and the people I am friends with, plenty of people actually enjoyed Dark Lord: The Early Years but I am not among those people.

Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley

Other reviews of Dark Lord: The Early Years by Jamie Thomson:

Mundie Kids – “I feel like my review needs to start off with an evil laugh

Evergreen Library – “I think that this book is a SPOT ON choice for middle school boys

The Fake Steph – “an imaginative story with characters that are easy to root for

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I can see how this may not work for some people. But yes, some MG books that I find silly are loved by my relatives. I have to remember that there are many years and experience between us.

    • Yes, exactly! There’s plenty of younger books that I just don’t find appealing (particularly the kinds with gross out humor) that lots of kids love and there is nothing wrong with that at all. Good point about the years and experience, I agree.

  2. It does sound very young. and yeah, that can be a problem with MG though I do love the whole bulk of it, sometimes there are books that don’t really do it for older readers.

    I looks somewhat cute – the cover at least – but the dark lord does sound a little annoying.

  3. Honestly? This review makes me glad that I decided not to pick up a galley of this one. We all know I too am a huge MG reader, but I completely feel ya on some MG coming across too young. I still read a number of them, and try to put on my librarian hat and determine if I would recommend it to kids rather than to adults. They’re usually readable, but also fairly forgettable.

  4. I think I’ll have to read this one because of how many people (you included!) are saying this could be a great MG boy book and I always need more of those to suggest. Great honest review.

  5. The premise sounds great, but I think I would end up having a similar reaction as you. For the most part, middle-grade just doesn’t work for me anymore.

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