Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Last Dragonslayer

The Last Dragonslayer
by Jasper Fforde
296 pages
Middle School+

As a foundling, Jennifer Strange had a rough childhood: competing with the 40 other girls for the only handkerchief to use as a pillow each night.  But despite that, or maybe because of that, she is super strong, stands up for herself, and is capable of managing a magic company while the actual manager is missing.  Kazam Magic is one of the only two magic companies in the kingdom, in a world where magic is on the decline.  And Jennifer has to get their wizards jobs, keep the wizards on task (since they are notoriously scatterbrained), and budget the books.  A lot of responsibility for a (almost) sixteen-year-old.

And then, from one of her most dependable wizards, comes one of the most startling prophecies of all: the last dragon in the world is going to die. And not only that, but Jennifer is somehow deeply involved.  How can she run Kazam, teach the new kid the ropes, take care of her magicians, and resolve this issue with the dragons???

So, this book was GREAT!  I loved it!  Loved it so much I went out and found the sequel and devoured that book as well.  I liked the second, but not quite as much as the first.  Both are full of tongue-in-cheek humor and an amazing contrast between the practical way and the whimsical wizarding way.  It provides a new perspective on a world that is slightly familiar, but full of discoveries at the same time.

Jennifer is a great balance of practical thinking in a strange world. She has to have this endless patience to deal with the whimsies of the wizards and at the same time stay on target enough to accomplish what the company has been paid to do.  Great character for a teen book.  Lots of fun seeing how she approaches and solves problems.

Overall, definitely a book that recommend.  I can see this appealing to both boys and girls, starting in middle school and into high school.  Also a great introduction to this author for younger readers, since most of his works are aimed more toward adults.  Interesting book, fun read, and best of all, dragons!  (Yes, multiple!  But you have to read it to find out...)

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