The Last Dragonslayer

Monday, October 28, 2013

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Quick ROW80 update:
Goals: hahahaha Yeah, I didn't really do my goals too well this week. I'm not changing them, because they really had been doable. It was all me. At least I managed the book review, and it was nice to see so many people stopped by to read it, if only to also check out my ROW80 goals. I wrote on my story one day last week, and I commented on 2 or 3 people's goal posts, though I read a few additional ones beyond that. On to this week now and better self-discipline...

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The cover art and title make the book sound like a serious sort of book, despite the fact that I found it in the MG section of my library. Think about it. The last dragonslayer. And the cover is this antique gold color with a green scaled tail wrapping around from front to back. And resting on the tail is the front shot of a red Volkswagen Beetle. And there are dim copper swirls and stars around the title and edges of the cover....Okay, maybe not totally serious, but still, I wasn't expecting the whimsical zaniness of the story. Didn't matter though; I was hooked with the jacket description and first few pages.

In the good old days, magic was indispensable; it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain.

But now magic is fading. Drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets have been reduced to pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam Mystical Arts Management, an employment agency for magicians--but it's hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world's last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If that's true, everything will change for Kazam--and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as...Big Magic.

The writing reminded me a little of Floors, which I reviewed back in April, and a bit like Diana Wynne Jones' books. Jennifer herself is the strong-willed and mature acting manager of Kazam for all that she's only 2 weeks shy of her 16th birthday and technically an indentured servant to the Great Zambini until she's 18. But since he disappeared about 6 months ago, she's been running the business for him until he returns. She's rather good at her job and firmly believes that behind every great wizard in history, there'd been a talented agent.

She's the sort of girl I'd have loved to have as a friend or to be myself. She's loyal, caring, and determined, and those prove to be among her greatest strengths. Her friends and allies would agree with me. Fellow foundling Tiger, newly arrived at Kazam to help Jenny, becomes fiercely loyal to her, even taking on the wrath of Lady Mawgon, one of the residential wizards on contract with Kazam, over an ethical dispute in order to protect Jenny's position the way a younger brother might for an admired older sister.

I highly recommend this story for MG readers, and I plan to share it with my son. It's similar enough in style to some of the other books he's enjoyed with me, so I think he'll like it.


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