A long time ago magic faded away, leaving behind only yo-yos, the extremely useful compass-pointing-to-North enchantment and the spell that keep bicycles from falling over.
Things are about to change. Magical power is on the rise and King Snodd IV of Hereford has realised that he who controls magic controls almost anything. One person stands between Snodd and his plans for power and riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice.
Meet Jennifer Strange, sixteen-year-old acting manager of Kazam, the employment agency for sorcerers and soothsayers.
With only one functioning wizard and her faithful assistant ‘Tiger’ Prawns, Jennifer must use every ounce of ingenuity to derail King Snodd’s plans. It may involve a trip on a magic carpet at the speed of sound to the Troll Wall, the mysterious Transient Moose, and a powerless sorceress named Once Magnificent Boo.
But one thing is certain: Jennifer Strange will not relinquish the noble powers of magic to big business and commerce without a fight.
It was wonderful to return to the Jennifer and Tiger’s world! Jasper Fforde’s universes are always fantastical quirky and The Last Dragonslayer’s is that and just a little-bit mad as well. A perfect mix if you ask me! I’ll be honest, I didn’t find the plot this time around as compelling as in the first book. Not that there was anything particualy amis, I just don’t think it hung together quite as well.
It’s the mix of blatant and mischievous humor, along with brilliant characters, that really makes Jasper Fforde one of my favourite authors, and everything is present here, The Last Quarkbeast was a brilliantly fun read, that had me grinning stupidly for most of it, and, not just at the funny bits there’s the beginnings of a sweet romance for Jennifer and one of the trainee wizards, which is a really nice to watch unfold.
The partnership/friendship between Jennifer and Tiger provides a lot of the heart of the book as well (there’s an almost sibling relationship with them, having both come though the orphanage to become indentured servants – even with the apparent freedom life at Kazaam allows) and this also provides some fun banter.
Looking back, at all the things I liked about the book, I think I may be being a little hard on the plot, because it is perfectly fine, and keeps the pages turning, and the brain guessing. Perhaps I’m holding it to, too high a standard. But that is what you sometimes do with favourite authors, isn’t it?…
Oh, and the Transient Moose, just rocks!
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