The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde

The Last DragonslayerI remember being really excited a couple of years ago to find out that my beloved author Jasper Fforde was coming out with a children’s book. I noted the release date and kept an eye out for it at my new and old libraries, but it never showed up. I was quite baffled by this seeming lack of love for the Fforde until I realized that, oh no!, it was only being released in the UK with no US date forthcoming. The agony!

Luckily I could content myself with One of Our Thursdays is Missing a few months later, and then things got real busy anyway and The Last Dragonslayer was relegated to the back of my mind until one day, a couple weeks before Christmas, it just showed up on my cart of books to catalog and I was like, so there is a Santa, then.

And oh, how delightful this book was to read. It’s your basic Fforde setup, taking magic and dragons and kingdoms in conflict and envisioning them tied up in eight layers of bureaucracy and apathy. We follow the exploits of Jennifer Strange, a fifteen-year-old who is acting head of a magical agency that sends out wizards to do things like rewire houses since magic is not quite as powerful as it once was. She’s doing quite all right until word gets out from some future-seers that the last dragon is about to be killed by the Last Dragonslayer, that the dragon’s lands are already surrounded by mobs looking to stake their claim, and that more than a few companies would be willing to pay good money if Miss Strange just hands over a bit of information from her agency’s own future-seer.

That’s not nearly all, of course; things get much weirder and even if you can tell where this plot is going, you probably don’t know how it’s going to get there. Fforde piles on the ridiculousness and the dry humor and all the fantastic-ness I’ve come to expect from him but still I’m never quite sure what is going on in that mind of his.

I think this book is especially good because it’s a first book in a series — Fforde excels in world-building and it’s always delightful to see how his new universes work. As much as I enjoy every Thursday Next book that comes out, it’s nice to have a fresh new set of characters and settings to cleanse the Fforde palate. :) How long until the second book comes stateside?

Recommendation: For lovers of the Fforde or weird things in general or dragons or magic or… really, I think you should just read this.

Rating: 9/10

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5 thoughts on “The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde

  1. I agree with basically everything you’ve said here. I think the next one should be released here in Sept – so far away!

  2. I saw this on the shelf in BN the day before yesterday in the teen section. Love the cover and have enjoyed Fforde’s work in the past. I can feel my ol’ animosity towards series popping up when I read that this is just the first of X many books. I’m really hypocritical that way as I do end up reading and liking series and yet I feel such a reluctance to get involved with new ones. I sometimes miss the one and done days of novel writing.

    1. I tend to do better if I know something is going to be a series, because then I can read one and decide if I’m going to care about the others, whereas sometimes I get to the end of a book and I’m like, oh, look, a cliffhanger, now I’m miffed and I’m totally not going to read the next book out of spite! But I do avoid some series, like the big epic fantasy ones, where I know I’d have to read several 800+ page books and hope that I remember all the plot from one to the next. I am not that cool. At least with Fforde I know that the books are going to be short and entertaining and that if something is important he’ll let me know!

      1. I am totally with you there. If a book is planned to end with any kind of loose ends because another volume is coming out I don’t want that kept a secret, I want to know it right from the start.

        I tend to avoid the big epic fantasy ones too…until my “friends” talk me into trying books like The Way of Kings and then I get hooked and can’t wait until the next one but I have to wait and I don’t like waiting and now I’ll be doing this for the next twenty years…..

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