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The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1 Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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From School Library Journal
"With 'The Last Dragonslayer' fans of Jasper Fforde's best-selling 'Thursday Next' and 'Nursery Crime' series will be delighted that Fforde's talent for world-building, his skewed sense of humor and his searing satire come through full force."
—New York Times Book Review
“Features the same delightful mix of magic and everyday absurdity that characterizes [Fforde’s] other books. . . . Readers both young and adult will get hours of pleasure visiting these Ununited Kingdoms.”
—NPR Books, online review
"Fforde's foray into children's books will delight readers who like their fantasy with a dash of silliness.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Humor abounds, but so does heart, as readers are introduced to a heroine who is practical, smart, and true."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"Fforde's fantasy is smart, funny, and abundantly imaginative in its critique of commercial culture. . . . Reminiscent of Pratchett in tone, this is nevertheless Fforde’s own creature entirely—and entirely satisfying.”
“Fantasy readers with a taste for the silly should appreciate the subverted tropes.”
"Thoroughly entertaining . . . readers will easily sit back and enjoy the fun.”
Top Customer Reviews
While I had no idea this was coming out I'm glad that I came across it because it was pure entertainment to read. The book has a very British feel to it, which it should since British author + British environment, which includes the humor. There's a little slapstick (Gordon von Gordon taking care of some of the reporters was a good laugh), some irony (what happened to the Great Zambini...) and dry humor (The Blessed Sisterhood of the Lobster?). As the kid who grew up on the BBC more often than Nickelodeon it made me all warm inside.
Much of the world is built upon being like ours, but slanted a ways. The UnUnited Kingdoms? I'm guessing because of the magical influence, and the Dragons, things developed differently. The Dragons, after the Dragonpact some 400 years earlier, were each given a fairly large chunk of land, some of which sat in the middle of Kingdoms. Some things, like the Consolidated Useful Stuff business seems to be a direct jab at mega-corporations like Wal-Mart (aka The Evil Empire in my household).
Jennifer, indeed all the characters, don't act like you'd expect. There are several twists and clever plays on how the smallest idea can become a firmly entrenched belief. Or how prophecy will always find ways to make itself come true (though maybe not for the reason you expect).Read more ›
The Last Dragonslayer is the tale of 'foundling' (orphan) Jennifer Strange, and a re-imagined 'Ununited Kingdoms', a UK much similar to one we know, but divided into feuding kingdoms; a place where magic exists, but is dying.
Jennifer works at one of the last two remaining wizard agencies: talent agencies representing wizards. It's a bizarre place, filled with hilarious characters, unpredictable magic, and a Transient Moose.
The world, the characters--the creatures--are characterised by Fforde's typical brand of charming absurdism, and The Last Dragonslayer is genuinely one of the best children's novels I've encountered in a long time. Imagine you're a 10 year old, and Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett (both of whom I'm forever comparing with Fforde) write about a UK where dragons and magic still exist, adults are even weirder than they already are, and you can have a pet that's one part velociraptor, one part kitchen blender, one tenth golden lab, and eats tin cans for breakfast. Wow.
Fforde tells a magical story of corrupt government, corporate (and individual) greed, lobsters, personal sacrifice, values, and it's one where the good guy wins--but at a cost. The story is intelligent, yet never condescending. There's a very strong moral message in the book, butit's not at the cost of a marvellous story.
I often find Jasper Fforde's writing quite dense (not a criticism--just an observation), so it was very interesting reading this, as, while his trademark humour is still there, his writing is much changed for a younger audience.
The Last Dragonslayer deserves to be up there with Harry Potter and The Philospher's Stone and Artemis Fowl--and should appeal to fans of both.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1 Paperback – July 2, 2013
by Jasper Fforde - Oh Jasper Fforde, you amazing, totally bonkers, genius! Read more
This is the first book in the series. In a world similar to our own, but with magic, a magic that is dwindling, Jennifer, a 15 year-old orphan, is doing her best to manage a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michelle Boytim
This is such a fun book, and series. Jennifer Strange is an orphan who is managing a firm of magicians. Read morePublished 5 months ago by fatbroadrunning
I got the audiobook and listen to it to see if my kids would like it. I have a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old and I think this book is more suited to a younger age (8-12). Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kalan