21 October 2012

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (2010 -- 2012 US edition)

Jasper Fforde has spent the last decade writing about literary detective Thursday Next. He’s also started another trilogy detailing a dystopian future where color is more important than anything else. Now he’s turned his particular style of alternate universe and goofy sense of humor to a young adult trilogy called The Dragonslayer. The first novel, released over two years ago in England and finally available here, is The Last Dragonslayer.

We meet 15-year-old Jennifer Strange, who is filling in for Zambini, the missing manager of Kazam Mystical Arts Management, an employment agency for magicians. But the magic is drying up across Ununited Kingdom and there are prophecies about a last dragon will soon die, meaning that the dragon's territory will be up for grabs. Trying to find the truth of the matter, she finds the official Dragonslayer and is pushed into becoming his apprentice. Because Big Magic is at work and like it or not Jennifer Strange is a player in a story that began 400 years before she was born.

While the book is written for young adults, it will be also enjoyed by adults as well. Mostly, because like his Thursday Next series, The Last Dragonslayer has elements that make that other series so fun: a bit of slapstick, some irony and dry humor as he pokes fun at reality TV and corporations.  It’s amazing that his charming absurdism takes him so far.

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