The Last Dragonslayer
The quick version: The most fun fantasy story--perhaps the most fun novel--that I've read all year, and despite it's "young adult" label, it doesn't feel like a YA novel. Keep reading for the detailed review.
Why is this series not simultaneously published in the US?
Jasper Fforde's The Last Dragonslayer is a perfect start to a humorous, imaginative fantasy series. In the Ununited Kingdoms, magic is on the wane, possibly linked to the dwindling number of dragons. That number has dwindled to one, and the once great wizards and sorceresses of Kazam Mystical Arts Managment have been reduced to using their powers for menial, mundane work, like finding missing cats or rewiring homes.
Jennifer Strange, foundling and indentured servant at Kazam, has been running the company since Mr. Zambini disappeared months ago. She's an enjoyable narrator and character, with all her smarts, independence, and well-delivered quips. Her good humor is very helpful as prophecies surface about the impending death of the last dragon. Does it mean magic will end? What will happen to the magical people in her service? Will the Transient Moose disappear?
This is a terrific blend of fantasy and humor, and though directed at young adults in the US market, it does not feel like a young adult novel--there's no coming of age, no message, no dominating insecurities, and blessedly no romance or love triangles. It's just a light, fun, fast read that I enjoyed so much that I could easily read it again. I'll have to get a copy for my personal collection.
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