- Hardcover: 287 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (2 October 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547738471
- ISBN-13: 978-0547738475
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 386 g
- Customer Reviews: 271 customer ratings
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The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1 Hardcover – 2 Oct 2012
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"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."
About the Author
Jasper Fforde is the internationally best-selling author of the Chronicles of Kazam, the Thursday Next mysteries, and the Nursery Crime books. He lives in Wales. Visit his website at www.jasperfforde.com.
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But that's just the setting for "The Last Dragonslayer," a clever and bitingly satirical fantasy about the girl destined to kill the last dragon in the world. Jasper Fforde takes potshots at government, media, corporations and the like, but the heart of the story is in an ordinary girl who is faced with an impossible choice.
Teenage Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, a run-down employment agency for sorcerers (most of whom are mad, elderly or both). But then all the kingdom's precogs receive a vision: the last dragon in the world, Maltcassion, will die at noon the following Sunday. When he does, the Dragonpact will end and the vast Dragonlands will be up for grabs.
And much to Jennifer's surprise, she is destined to be the Last Dragonslayer. The problem is, she doesn't WANT to kill Maltcassion, since he's an intelligent, cultured creature.
Unfortunately, everybody else wants her to do it, including the greedy King (who wants to start a war with the neighboring nation-state). Jennifer is pelted with corporate sponsorships, media appearances and countless others. But as the deadline approaches, the pressure becomes deadly to Jennifer -- and she must learn the true nature of the Dragonpact and Big Magic.
"The Last Dragonslayer" is both a very simple and very complicated story. On one hand, it's a simple tale about a girl with a destiny that she doesn't want to fulfill. On the other hand, it's tangled in a bunch of complex subplots, with conspiracies, brewing wars, dwindling magic, and the occasional murderous traitor.
His imaginary world has the charming whimsy of a Diana Wynne Jones novel (ex: the Transient Moose), and there's plenty of Fforde's hilarious dialogue ("Why is it called Exhorbitus?" "Probably because it was very expensive"). But as the plot winds on, it grows darker and more sharply satirical (especially of politics and/or corporations), and Fforde's writing is all the richer for the dark edge.
The biggest problem is perhaps that while the climax is absolutely brilliant... the post-climax events are rushed. Major elements of the plot are wrapped up rather hastily.
As for Jennifer Strange, she's a very unlikely heroine, with no special magic or skills -- she's simply a kind, strong girl who is desperately trying to do the right thing. Her clear vision and strong will are what makes her special. And the story is peppered with other delightfully eccentric characters like the childish king, Lady Mawgon, Mother Zenobia, Moobin, and especially the irrepressible foundling Tiger Prawns.
And the Quarkbeast... oh, the Quarkbeast. It's one of those wonderful imaginary creatures Fforde excels at -- "one tenth Labrador, and the rest was a mix of velociraptor and kitchen blender."
"The Last Dragonslayer" kicks off a new fantasy trilogy for Jasper Fforde, and introduces us to a brilliant new heroine and a solid fantasy world. A do-not-miss for fantasy fans.
Top international reviews
Up to about 5 years ago I was a huge fan of Jasper Fforde, I found the Thursday Next series witty and entertaining. For some reason I stopped reading the new books, I think that I picked one up and wasn't in the right frame of mind to get into it! Having seen that this book was being adapted for TV I decided to pull it off the shelf and see if I could rekindle my love for Jasper Fforde. This is a children's book and therefore is not quite as sophisticated as the adult novels in terms of in-jokes and links to other media but it is an amazing children's book. The ideas are just as crazy, the story entertaining and the writing is fizzy - it's like Harry Potter on hallucinogens.
If you like the Thursday Next books, imagine a younger version of Thursday, with an even cooler pet. The plot may be simpler, aimed towards younger teens rather than the usual literati, but the characters are as wonderful as ever, and the deft magical touches in the writing are an absolute treat.
Simple, beautiful, heart-breaking and funny.
My only criticisms might be a lot of explanation of everything that had happened towards the end, rather than writing tools more to help us work it out by ourselves and perhaps a lack of enough time for important relationship development between some of the major characters that slightly reduced the impact of some scenes.
But I’d like to impress these were only minor to my enjoyment of the book as a whole, a wonderful read for all the family!
Everything you expect fro Jasper Fforde is here, imagination, passion and laughs that keep coming.
The book works on multiple levels to suit all ages, I will be ordering volume two right away.
And what a plot that is! Highly enjoyable, full of moments of both humour and tension, it made me want to read more of these characters immediately.