How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying

In How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying, the first entry in a planned series, Django Wexler (Ashes of the Sun) introduces a sarcastic, punchy heroine. Davi is done with dying and starting over in a world that has kept her in a time loop for a thousand years, ever since she woke up from her life on Earth and was greeted by a wizard who told her she's the destined savior of the Kingdom. In her 238th life, she decides to become the Dark Lord herself. She starts by gathering a horde of minions from among the wilders, non-human beings who serve the Dark Lord and have been her enemies for the past thousand years.

Davi's first-person narration is electric, filled with obscenities and hilarities, as when she describes her method of killing the wizard as having "enmushified his head." She addresses readers within the narrative and in footnotes, providing context and making groan-worthy jokes, mostly sexual. But the novel is not all killing, sex, and jokes. As her quest progresses, Davi ponders the ethics of others dying for her, even if everything (including their lives) will just reset when she dies again. She's surprised by the loyalty some wilders develop for her but also begins to form feelings for them--one in particular. She acknowledges that her situation sounds like a video game or RPG, but she hasn't figured out the rules of this world. In choosing villainy over heroism, Davi may be getting closer to answers, but she might not like them.

Davi's questionable ethics, active libido, comfortable bisexuality, and leadership skills combine for a fresh and exciting take on the fantasy adventure. --Dainy Bernstein, freelance reviewer

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