In the good old days, magic was indispensable - it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery.
Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians - but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer.
If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam - and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.
©2010, 2012 Jasper Fforde (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Not complicated, but has all the charm of Fforde's other works. Definitely geared for the young adult market, but still fun to listen to. The narrator did a nice job, although I found her breathy, male voices a bit annoying, but not enough to distract from the story. Worth a listen.
I consider myself a fan of Jasper Fforde's. I've now read everything he's published in the US, and I've enjoyed rather a lot of it. I like his weird worlds, his twists on reality that are almost plausible, and I like his sense of humor. This being a whole new series, I wasn't sure what to expect. I wound up liking it, though, and plan to read more.
The Last Dragonslayer is about Jennifer Strange, who's (almost) 16 and is a foundling in a world where magic exists. She runs an agency of magic users in the absence of the manager, who vanished in a magical accident. Her replacement, Tiger Prawns, arrives, and through his eyes we learn of the odd world Jennifer lives in, where there's one surviving dragon and magic has been steadily dwindling for years. Then, all of the world's precogs (seers and psychics, basically) have a vision of the world's last dragon dying, and millions of people converge on the dragon's territory hoping to grab a piece of land when the barrier keeping people out drops.
Jennifer is confused for two-thirds of the book, and, because the book is in first-person, that means the reader is, too. She pieces together the puzzle slowly, but all isn't revealed until the very last chapter. The action of the last third makes up for a lot of the confusion of the earlier sections.
I wondered, for most of the book, why the protagonist was female. She has a lot of traditionally masculine traits, and romance never comes into the equation. It would be a spoiler to say why I felt this choice was a masterful one, in the end.
Jennifer is a flawed hero. She takes on too much, says the wrong things at the wrong time, and often trusts the wrong people. She muddles through a lot of the plot, and she lets her anger get the better of her judgment more than once. She also has agency, sensitivity, and a strong sense of who she is.
This book has a lot less of the quirky humor I've come to enjoy in Jasper Fforde's books. There were some jabs here and there, but the book's tone is mostly serious.
It also lacks a lot of the YA trappings, though it is a YA book. There's no bad language or sex. But then, I don't recall a lot in Fforde's other novels. The biggest thing that marks this as YA is the age of the protagonist.
I listened to this book on audio. For the most part, Elizabeth Jasicki's narration was good and clear, and she sounded like a teenage girl. But, narrating dialogue, she often drawled, whispered, or did some combination of the two that quickly became grating. If she narrates the next books, I do hope she finds a better way of narrating dialogue.
I found the book light and refreshing. It is a well written pre-teen book but something that an adult can slip into and let the cares of the day fade. If you are looking for something more serious or along the line of Jasper Fforde's other novels this might be the book for you. If you can enjoy a basic story line with only a few minor twits this is a good one.
The description of the quark beasts statue.
First, I am a Jasper Fforde fan, having read all of the Thursday Next, Nursery Crimes and am anxiously awaiting the next Shades of Grey book. I was certainly not disappointed in the ideas in this book and would love to have an elevator that swoops me upwards. However, I just didn't feel as satisfied after finishing this book as I have after other Jasper Fforde books. Perhaps it's because it's the beginning of a series but it just seemed to lope along and then suddenly end. Though there was excitement and chases, I never felt like the book properly took off. I still give the book four stars based on the world and all of the fun little jokes. I just wanted a bit more.
On the surface, this book might seem like a light read. But, it actually is packed with spot-on satire that are delivered in a highly entertaining way.
Jasper has done it again. He has taken all the sophisticated goofy wit and Monty Python style charm of his Thursday Next books and distilled into the character of 16-year-old Jennifer Strange and the insane world she inhabits. I loved it and just purchased the 2nd book in the series and will be back for each new installment. Elizabeth Jasicki is superb!
My name is Kira and I work as a librarian in utah. I love all kinds of books, but especially like fantasy and mystery.
fantasy adventure funny
That's tough. It would have to Jennifer Strange or the precog friend of hers. They seemed to stick in your mind and you wanted to follow their stories.
The Silent Governess, but they didn't really compare in terms of story. As a narrator, she did a great job portraying the heart of the main character.
Laugh, it was hilarious.
I love Jasper Fforde. I like Thursday, love the Nursery Crimes, and go back often to Shades of Grey, which keeps turning up new shades of meaning. I actually pestered Audible to make The Last Dragonslayer available in the U.S. Although I'm not at all sure that my pestering helped, I feel a bit responsible, and therefore want to warn others. This is in no way up to Mr. Fforde's standard.
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