Friday, 15 February 2013

The Last Dragonslayer - Jasper Fforde

This month's duel review was chosen by Colin and I'm awful because this was supposed to be the book for December and we're two months late and it's my fault I'M SORRY COLIN. 

Okay, now that that's out of the way.

The Last Dragonslayer is a young adult book by Jasper Fforde which I had not heard of until Colin suggested it and that is a travesty because it is a lovely book. Set in a world that is at once both recognizable and foreign, we follow the adventures of young Jennifer Strange, an (almost!) sixteen year old who is running a magic-for-hire company. See, in this world, magic used to be huge but as the world has become more and more modern, it has lost some of its former glory. Once proud and famous magicians are now doing mundane tasks to earn their keep and Jennifer handles the phones.

One day, however, almost all of the clairvoyants have a vision of the last known dragon dying. Due to law, whoever first claims land that used to belong to a dragon after it dies gets to keep it so this news is momentous. Jennifer thinks this doesn't affect her but she is very, very wrong.

I loved this book. I read it in one sitting, I was so into it. I loved Jennifer Strange's character and I was really excited to see where the plot was going to go. However, what I was really interested in was the world building. I've come to realize that the main thing I love about Fforde are the worlds he creates for his novels. I was blown away by Shades of Grey and this book was no exception. I loved reading about this place that had modern conveniences but also a history of magic. The folklore, the laws, the characters are all completely original and fascinating. I would happily read any other book set in that universe.

The Last Dragonslayer was very interesting and I really liked how it ended up with the dragon. I thought that it was a brave choice that Fforde made and very important for a children's book. The fate of the Quarkbeast, in particular, was definitely a risk but I think it was well done. 

I have already reserved the sequel at the library so I think you can tell what I think about it. I loved it and I will definitely be reading more. If you enjoy YA, fantasy or just some fun storytelling, check it out.

This is a duel review done in tandem with my friend Colin. You can find his review here.

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