16 May 2012

Book (P)Review: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

This is the UK cover, not the US one
Full disclosure: I love Jasper Fforde's novels for adults, and if I happen to love the Thursday Next series and merely like the Nursery Crime series, then love trumps like and I can still say that I love his books.  (Did you follow that?) So I was already predisposed to like his first book written for the YA market when my coworker Marika pressed it into my hot little hands.  What ensued, however, was not mere liking.  My friends, this book provided me with the most enjoyable reading experience I've had yet this year! 

For those of you who have already read Jasper Fforde and grappled his books to thy hearts with hoops of steel, you know exactly what I mean.  For those unfortunate souls among you who have not yet discovered his genius, please imagine the literary offspring from the unholy union of Lewis Carroll and Terry Pratchett. It's difficult to imagine higher praise or a more precise comp.

Jennifer Strange, foundling, temporary caretaker of Kazam Mystical Arts Management, and non-magical being, is two weeks shy of her sixteenth birthday when she learns she is, in fact, the Last Dragonslayer (it must needs capitals to differentiate from merely the previous, or last, dragonslayer). She drives a beat-up Volkswagen that's more rust than orange, she loves a queer and fearsome little animal by the name/species of Quarkbeast, and she mentors another foundling by the name of Horton "Tiger" Prawns. They both hail from the Sisterhood of the Lobster, you see. 

If you're like me, then you're already nodding to yourself and saying, "Yeah. I *totally* dig that.  Where can I get my hands on a copy?"

If you're a little slower on the uptake when it comes to grasping Fforde's genius, I'll add that this book is funny and layered and clever and wildly inventive.  It slyly lays waste to things like commercialism, merchandise endorsement, double-crossings, and other treacheries. There's no reason I can think of *not* to read this book. 

Now I want a Quarkbeast.  Though I suppose my mastiff is as a reasonable facsimile as I'm likely to get.

The Last Dragonslayer, first book in the Chronicles of Kazam series, is already at large in the UK.  US readers will either have to order it internationally or wait for October, when Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will release it here.  I can't speak to other, international rights.


  1. Oh, my goodness! The most enjoyable reading experience this year, eh? I'm already a Fforde fan but this is definitely on my wishlist/must haves now!

  2. I didn't realize this is a YA book, although looking at the cover I suppose that makes sense. I'm excited for this book (finally) coming to the US.

    Have you read Fforde's other series, Shades of Grey? Well there's only one book in the series (so far) but still, it has plans to be a series.

  3. this sounds like a lot of ffun for Fforde ffans :-)

  4. I read a few of the Thursday Next books and found them smirkily fun. Methinks I should queue this one up once I finish The Fault In Our Stars (loving that one, btw).
    Are you writing your own fiction now? I hope so!

  5. YES. ♥ The world needs for Fforde love.


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