Thursday, March 28, 2013

Last Dragonslayer review

Book talk: The world is running out of magic.  No one knows why for sure, but most think it has something to do with dragons.  There is only one dragon left, and the few psychics with any powers left all agree that its days are numbered.  On top of that, when the dragon dies, its land will be up for grabs leaving citizens, corporations, and kings willing to do anything to get a prime piece of real estate.  It's a media maelstrom: the last dragon being killed by the last dragonslayer. And somehow a young foundling named Jennifer Strange is right in the heart of it.

Rocks my socks:  Jasper Fforde is patently absurd and I love him for it.  He can never resist the chance to tweak something familiar to make it his own.  The story takes place in the Ununited Kingdoms, a mix of modern and feudal society with warring kings next to sensationalistic television news.  There is some magic left in the world, but not as much as there used to be.  My favorite imaginative and random addition is the Quarkbeast: an animal that acts a bit like a dog, but looks like it could eat metal and in fact does.  They tend to be solitary because if any two Quarkbeasts meet, they will disappear.  Jennifer Strange is a great female lead and I appreciated the way she weighed her decisions and struggled to balance her various responsibilities while remaining true to herself.   Many people tried to pressure her or take advantage of her as a young foundling girl, but she refused to let herself believe their low expectations and defied them all.

Rocks in my socks:  The story was focused on world-building more than characterization and especially considering the wonderfully large and quirky cast of characters I wish more time was spent on fleshing them out.

Every book its reader:  I'd give this to fans of humor and fantasy.  Those who enjoy Fforde's other novels or other absurd humorists like Douglas Adams will enjoy this imaginative tale.  There's almost no romance and surprisingly little violence for a book with 'dragonslayer' in the title, so I'd say it's fine for 5th and up.


Jasper Fforde has his own website with all sorts of features including the usual blog, pages for his books including this one, etc and because he is awesome he also has features like your wild library stories.  

Let Jasper Fforde take you on a tour of Hereford and tell you about the novel.  Find out how 'Old House' got its name (Spoiler alert: it may have to do with its being old and also a house)  and see the magical spokeless bicycle.  Fforde seems like he'd make a great travelling companion.  I'd totally watch a travel show hosted by him!

Source: school library

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde: Buy it or check it out today!

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