The Last Dragonslayer

Jasper Fforde. Harcourt, $16.99 (296p) ISBN 978-0-547-73847-5
Adult author Fforde's foray into children's books will delight readers who like their fantasy with a dash of silliness. Since the Great Zambini disappeared six months earlier, the job of running Kazam Mystical Arts Management has fallen to Jennifer Strange, a foundling two weeks shy of 16, but sensible beyond her years. Kazam is part boardinghouse, part employment agency for wizards and magicians whose talents are on the decline—a high maintenance bunch. Jennifer has just begun her mentorship of another foundling, Horton "Tiger" Prawns, when she learns she is the Last Dragonslayer (capitalized to differentiate from merely the previous dragonslayer) and that the last dragon on Earth, Maltcassion, is prophesied to die at her hand on Sunday noon. Comedic chaos ensues—the news of Maltcassion's imminent death paves the way for a major land grab. There's a lot of setup for later books in Fforde's Chronicles of Kazam, but it's so inventive and charming that readers will happily stick with it (though the tragic death of a major character will hit some of them hard) and be impatient for the next episode. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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