Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1 Kindle Edition
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Kindle Feature Spotlight
|Length: 296 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 10 - 12|
|Grade Level: 5 - 7|
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The story is about Jennifer Strange who is an orphaned indentured servant and current acting director of Kazam. Kazam utilizes magicians, who are no longer the power agents they once were, to now help people with their plumbing problems, wiring problems, finding lost things, etc. Strange keeps things running and helps the magicians keep their egos in check, even when at least one of them feels superior to Strange.
Strange has two more years with Kazam before she is thrust out into the real world and is now in charge of training her possible replacement Tiger, also an orphan and indentured servant. As she is training Tiger, some of the magicians tell her they have had a premonition that the last dragon is about to die on Sunday by the hands of a dragon slayer. Should the dragon die, the dragon lands are open to the other kingdoms and all out war will happen. Strange, it turns out, is the last slayer and must do her duty or face severe consequences.
The premise of the unlikely hero is one that we have read before several times, but Fforde plays with that a bit. Strange isn't just an unlikely hero, but the unlikeliest of unlikely heroes. She is sarcastic to a fault, is a servant, yet understands the power of her actions, should she decide to do her duty.
Fforde's characters are the charm of this book. All of his characters are developed well and full of life. The magicians Strange interacts with are all so much fun and just a joy to be with. Strange herself is placed in a no win situation and to see how she contemplates what to do without changing her character was just great.
This isn't just a great book for teens, but this is a great book for all ages. Yes, there are some "simple" aspects of this book, but it is still worth the read. I gave this one 4.5 stars.
I digress. I was supposed to review The Last Dragonslayer.
In the Ununited Kingdom, Jennifer Strange, an orphan from the Blessed Sisterhood of the Lobster (yes, that's where she's from), has been put in charge of Kazam. Kazam is an employment agency for magicians. Seems really bazaar, but wait there's more! It gets more bazaar. Pizzas are delivered on magic carpets. There's Tiger Prawn, Jennifer's assistant, there's the Transient Moose, who just sort of shows up wherever he likes. Then there's the Quarkbeast, and the dragon Maltcassion, of course, and there are many others. Don't for a minute think that all Fforde's silliness, satire and puns are for naught. Not in the least. There are a number of moral issues embedded in the story. Some messages relate to big business, others point directly to environmental issues. We also see a lesson about getting along with each other (an age old problem). You'll recognize your own world, but it will be slanted and twisted while the message somehow shines through. All and all, this is another wonderful story woven by the phantasmagorical mind of Jasper Fforde. Don't miss it, just for the fun of it.