Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Are you a fan of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series? Then you'll want to check out Katie's review of his first official book for young adults: 

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

In the grand tradition of the tales of orphans and wizards, Jasper Fforde has written The Last Dragonslayer. Some of you may feel a sense of deja vu creeping over you as you read that, but try to shake it off. Jennifer Strange is no Harry Potter. In fact, she’s not a wizard at all. Just an almost-16-year-old girl who has been left with the task of managing a company of wizards.

Jennifer lives in Hereford, part of the Ununited Kingdoms. That alone should give you a sense of the sort of tongue-in-cheek humor we’re dealing with here. It is a world where the magic is quickly being used up and wizards have been relegated to menial labor jobs to pay the bills. But Big Magic is coming. Everyone can sense it. And most likely it is tied up in the death of the last dragon, a event that is starting to be prophesied throughout the land. Without any magical abilities of her own, Jennifer initially takes only a spectator’s interest in the events that are unfolding, but when her name becomes a part of the foretold events to come, her life is turned upside-down and she must use all her wits to determine who to trust and how to save magic and the soul of the land.

This is a fun read--Jennifer and her partner Tiger are both in possession of sharp minds and keen senses of humor. The wizards who live with them are the most colorful cast of characters I’ve come across in quite some time. And somehow in between the subtle jokes and quick-paced plot, the author manages to squeeze in some interesting thoughts on commercialism and preservation. Which is to say, even if there isn’t something for everyone here, there is something--be it magic, humor, fantasy, insight--for most people. Enjoy!

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