Thursday, August 14, 2014

'The Last Dragonslayer' by Jasper Fforde

14 August 2014

Regular readers will be aware of my enthusiasm for the work of the comic-novelist Jasper Fforde. Having exhausted his books for adults (all ten novels reviewed here between April 2007 and April 2012) I thought I would try his 'Dragonslayer' young-adult fantasy novels. I've just finished the first book in the series, 'The Last Dragonslayer' (which I read as an unabridged audio book, narrated by Jane Collingwood). It was a very enjoyable read – with much more in common with his other novels than I was expecting. This tale of dragons, wizards and magic is set in an alternative-reality version of Hereford (a similar model to the Reading of the Nursery Crimes novels and the Swindon of the Thursday Next series). We follow the perilous journey of teenager Jennifer Strange as she is drawn by her destiny into a struggle with royalty, the media, big business and big magic. There are some familiar Jasper Fforde themes and some recognisable villains, though this feels like a very stripped down version of Thursday Next and I was sorry there wasn't more of Fforde's trademark silliness. Nevertheless 'The Last Dragonslayer' is great fun, with some great characters. I loved the trivia-expert William of Anorak and the apprentice dragonslayer Gordon van Gordon, and who couldn't love the Quarkbeast with his one-word vocabulary. “Quark!”



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