2013 Reads: Forty-Two {The Last Dragonslayer - Jasper Fforde}

Saturday, February 1, 2014


All-Caps totally necessary.

And I love Jasper Fforde writing Young Adult perhaps even more.


In the older days magic was everywhere. It could unclog a drain or ensure the outcome of a war. But today it has all but disappeared from the world. Magic carpets are now used to deliver pizza and some of the best wizards of yore are using their powers to unclog drains and rewire houses. 

It is in this world that Jennifer Strange is the de facto head of Kazam, an employment agency for wizards. The owner of Kazam has mysteriously disappeared and with magic drying up, Jennifer must make Kazam run as smoothly as possible while all the employees are at each others' throats. 

And then, on top of all of this, the visions start. Across the country people are predicting the death of the last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If this is true, things are about to change for Kazan and Jennifer, because something is comimg. Big Magic is coming. And it can mean the end of life as they know it. 


I have no idea why I put of reading this book for so long. I adore Jasper Fforde, so it was only logical that I would, at the very least, enjoy this book. So, I didn't pass over it so often for fear of not liking it. Maybe it was because I hate when I can no longer anticipate a story like this one. Once I've read it, I can no longer read it for the first time again. Whatever the reason, I put this one off for long enough. And I am so glad I finally read it - because I loved every single page. It's a fast-paced, easy read. But you will not regret picking it up and getting lost in its pages. Promise.

It's fun to see Fforde working in Young Adult. I think, with how he looks at things and the amazing, fanciful stories he is able to weave, that Young Adult is particularly suited to him. It is true that at times Jennifer didn't seem like the fifteen years old that we're told that she is - but that can be said for a lot of other leading hero/ines of today's fiction. Harry is 11 when he first runs into Voldy. Percy is 12 in The Lightning Thief when he rescues Zeus' thunderbolt. We expect our leading characters to be of a mental age a whole lot more than what they are biologically. So, yes, sometimes Jennifer seems older, but I'm fine with that. She's fierce, but still insecure. She's braver than most, but things still scare her. She's a wonderful balance. And I loved her character through this novel.

I know I'm not the first to say this, but, I want a Quarkbeast. So much. Wherever Fforde created this magical and squirky creature, I don't know, but man is it awesome. A absolutely adore this ugly little guy.

Maltcassion is brilliant. What a fantastic (and hilarious) dragon. I'd tell you more, but then I'd ruin at least one full chapter for you. Seriously, though. This may be my favorite dragon yet.

Fforde has the remarkable ability to make you fully believe the things he tells you. Marzipan is an illegal and dangerous substance? Check. (PS. I love this part of his novels, akin to the illegality of cheese in the Thursday Next novels. I think it's such a simple yet brilliant piece of the novels). And this world that he creates? I mean, it feels as thought it's one we could totally be living in right now. Magic and all.  


Title: The Last Dragonslayer (The Chronicles of Kazam #1)
Author: Jasper Fforde
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Medium: Hard Cover, 287pp
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers (2 October 2012)
Date Read: 2 December 2013
Source: Purchased @ Barnes & Noble
Recommended For: Middle School +, Dragon Lovers, Fforde Fanatics, Those Who Love A Strong Leading Lady, Would-Be Quarkbeast Owners
Challenges: Goodreads, Off the Shelf, 

First Line: It looked set to become even hotter by the afternoon, just when the job was becoming more fiddly and needed extra concentration. 
Favorite Line: Cats aren't really friendly, they're just cozying up to the dominant life-form as a hedge against extinction.
Favorite Line #2: That's the thing about destiny: It cant be predicted, and it's usually pretty odd. 

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