Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Release: The Last Dragonslayer

I forget where I was searching but, at some point late last fall, I discovered the fact that a new Jasper Fforde YA novel had been released. I immediately went searching and found that it was not actually released in the U.S. Well, I wasn't about to let that stop me from getting it so I promptly ordered it from a not-so-prompt store in the UK right after Christmas and received it about ten weeks later. Thanks to the Once Upon a Time challenge, The Last Dragonslayer didn't spend as many weeks on my bookshelves as it apparently did in transit.

Jennifer Strange is a foundling, raised by nuns, who is now an indentured servant and temporary manager at the Kazam wizarding agency. The wizards have been slowly losing their power but even they can't miss the powerful premonition that the last dragon in the Ununited Kingdoms is about to die -- on Friday, to be exact. Jennifer has the feeling that the dragon and the magic of the land are linked and so she sets out to find the current dragonslayer (there's always just one) and to figure out how to save the livelihoods of her wizard charges.

As with many Fforde novels, this one is also set in a world that has one toe in the real U.K. and the whole rest of the body somewhere else entirely. And, just as with his other books, it takes a while to get situated in the world but, by the end, it's as familiar as our own. I would venture that the only reason this book is a YA novel, is that it features a young teen protagonist. Otherwise, I found it to be just as well done as any of his adult novels. It was a bit less heavy on the wordplay and literary references, which might actually appeal to some readers who are intimidated by The Eyre Affair.

I'm especially excited to find out that this is the first in a trilogy, with the second book tentatively scheduled for November (though long-time Fforde fans will know never to put stock in dates because his genius is never on a schedule). In the meantime, I will be embarking on a re-read of the Thursday Next series, finishing up with the newly-released One of Our Thursdays is Missing.

Fetching a tin of food for the Quarkbeast,

Support our site and buy The Last Dragonslayer on Amazon or find it at your local library. We bought our own copy.


  1. I really enjoyed this book, I received it from my Secret Santa for Christmas last year. Have to say I gobbled it up in one sitting over the holidays. And I have just found the latest Thursday next installment at our local bookstore!

  2. This one sounds just as good as the other Jasper Fforde books.
    The first book of his I ever read was The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime Adventures) which was fun, but a little too light for my taste.

  3. Maybe I will love Jasper Fforde more in YA. I liked parts of The Eyre Affair a lot. I wanted to love it! A YA book might make me less frustrated with the slightly trivial nature of Fforde's writing.

  4. I am loving the Thursday Next books so much (just finished First Amoung Sequels) that I can't wait to read all of his books now. This one included and YA or not. He is so hilarious!

  5. What a find for you! Though I'm sorry it took so long to arrive. I love the cover!!!

  6. Not a blogger - What a fun gift! I'm excited to read Thursday Next too. It's one of my favorite series ever.

    Tracy - This one seems a bit more fleshed out than the Nursery Crime books in a way. The world is more interesting than the NC one.

    Jenny - It's possible! You might also like Shades of Grey better. I don't think it has much of that "trivial" aspect.

    Becky - He is quite an amazing writer. I wish I had his imagination!

    Jenners - The cover is raised in a dragon skin pattern too. It's awesome!

  7. Discovered this page last month and absolutly love it! Great find in the The Last Dragonslayer :)It is worth the effort of ordering Did you know there is an ipod/iphone app available in connection with it?!

    Check out my new book review blog, The Secret Life of Books http://lily-bookhaven.blogspot.com/

  8. Thanks, Lucy! I did read that there was an app but I can't seem to find it. I was wondering if it might only be available in the UK because that's where the book was published?