Author: Jasper Fforde
The Chronicles of Kazam, vol. 1
My rating: 5 of 5
(Almost) 16-year-old Jennifer Strange finds herself with her hands quite full after her boss, the (once) Great Zambini, disappears, leaving her in charge of a collection of finicky, easily-offended, pretentious, and slightly-shabby magic users of various sorts. Did I mention that she has no way out of this situation, since the disappeared Zambini is the only one who can sign off on her indenture papers? Fortunately her new assistant, Tiger, seems bright and level-headed enough to be a big help . . . a help much needed when work on the street arises that Jennifer Strange is fated to slay the last dragon in the Ununited Kingdoms–next Sunday!
I really enjoyed this quirky, rambling fantasy. The Last Dragonslayer feels something like “Garrison Keillor meets Diana Wynne Jones”–unusual but fun. The characters are an intriguing bunch: some not so likeable, many quite surprising. I particularly liked the Quarkbeast (Jennifer’s unusual pet) and Tiger (the new assistant). The plot elements in The Last Dragonslayer are off-beat, but crafted to make rather a classic sort of fantasy. The combination works very well. Check it out!