The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde (review)
Category: MG/YA Fantasy
Series: The Chronicles of Kazam #1
Publication date: Oct. 2, 2012 (HC)
Book source: Public library
The Last Dragonslayer is a highly original fantasy chock-full of the sort of somewhat wacky humor that the British do so well. It’s light, easy to read, and a whole lot of fun.
Jennifer Strange is an almost-sixteen-year-old foundling and indentured servant. She’s also the acting director of Kazam Mystical Arts Magic, ever since the disappearance of the sorcerer Zambini. Magic has been dwindling for years, even centuries, so Kazam’s wizards and sorcerers are reduced to enchanting moles out of gardens (or off your face), unblocking drains (that’s unclogging toilets in American), influencing the weather, and finding lost objects. Jennifer schedules jobs for the magicians and tries to keep things running smoothly. But Jennifer’s life is about to get a lot more interesting. Precognitives are getting strong intimations that the last dragon in the Dragonlands will soon be killed – and Jennifer discovers she is destined to be the Last Dragonslayer. Both Hereford’s king and the Duke of Brecon (not to mention Consolidated United Stuff Land Development Corp.) are eager to lay claim to the Dragonlands as soon as the dragon is dead. In fact, just about everyone is in favor of killing the dragon – even if the dragon hasn’t actually done anyone any harm. The only person who doesn’t seem to want the dragon dead is the Dragonslayer herself.
Jasper Fforde’s humor lurks on every page, from names (Tiger Prawns, Yogi Baird, the sword Exhorbitus) to dialog to events and explanations. For instance, here Jennifer explains why she doesn’t talk about Zambini’s disappearance:
“…money was short, and he was forced to do the one thing that sorcerers should never do. An act of such gross betrayal to his art that if it were made common knowledge, his reputation would be destroyed forever, and he would die a broken man, humiliated and shunned by his peers.”
“Right. He did children’s parties.”
There’s a lot more, and it’s all funny, even when it’s also exciting or sad or profound. I finished the book in no time flat, and there was hardly a page that didn’t make me smile or even laugh out loud. Luckily there is already a sequel; it has been published in the UK, and I hope it will be released in the US next summer or fall.
This review is part of the Read and Review Hop hosted by Anya of On Starships and Dragonwings. If you’d like to browse the other reviews, please click on this image.