Monday, November 26, 2012

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

In a near-distant future, magic exists. While it's been relegated to performing boring tasks like delivering pizza and rewiring houses without tearing up the walls, it does exist and is in use - and teen orphan Jennifer Strange is the girl who schedules the work and fills out the forms to make it legal.

But it seems there are bigger jobs for Jennifer to perform - this coming Sunday at noon, for example, she's supposed to kill the last dragon in existence. Not that she WANTS to, or even necessarily WILL ...  but Big Magic is afoot, and abundant soothsayers agree the visions include both Jennifer and dragon death.

The comedy is decidedly British (like Fforde's other books, and in the vein of Douglas Adams or Monty Python), and the setting is the Ununited Kingdoms. It's fairly obvious Fforde plans to make this a series - there are a lot of characters introduced here that could have a rich life down the line in another tale. And while there's a satisfactory ending to the tale, the climax of this story is almost an after-thought in the larger scheme of establishing mythology for another story.

While the main character is 16 years old (in two weeks), this story would easily be of interest to younger readers or adult readers too. Jennifer is a teen slightly wise for her years - but not dissimilar from anther magical orphan embraced by young and old alike (*cough*Harry*cough*).

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