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,
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