I have had a most lovely read this past two days. We are beginning to get our book orders in at both my schools, and I snatched one of the books as I was cataloging them and could not put it down (an awesome perk of my job). It is a YA (young adult) novel, which is my favorite category of good reads. I just can’t get past them. I hardly ever read “adult” fiction anymore, I have such a wonderful supply of great literature at my fingertips.
This book, The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, is just spectacular! I could not put it down. Wonderful characters, great plot, and a lot of action go a long way to making this a book I was sorry to leave.
An alternate UK reality is the setting for the book. Magicians and sorcerers have been losing their powers and they fear the old magic is going to disappear. The main character, Jennifer Strange, is an indentured foundling who runs the Kazam Mystic Arts Employment Agency for wizards and magicians, and she is very creative in trying to keep the agency afloat. Of course, the 15 year old Strange is in for some riotous adventures as she discovers some things about herself along the way to helping ‘Big Magic’ return to the Ununited Kingdoms. My favorite character in the book was Jennifer’s loyal Quarkbeast (“a small hyena-shaped creature. . .often described as one-tenth Labrador, six-tenths Velociraptor, and three-tenths kitchen food blender”) who tries to protect her and can only say”Quark!”.
I have not read any of Fforde’s adult novels, but I may have to take a look. The Last Dragonslayer is a funny and clever send up of politics in general, and also takes a big stab at consumer-driven culture. Very witty and an altogether fun read. There is a sequel out which I am going to get as an audiobook so I can listen in the car (Song of the Quarkbeast). If you love Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde will not let you down!