Beyond Books

The Last Dragonslayer

The Last Dragonslayer
by Jasper Fforde

In the good old days, magic was powerful, unregulated by government, and even the largest spell could be woven without filling in the magic release form B1-7g. But somewhere, somehow, the magic started draining away.

Jennifer Strange runs Kazam!, an employment agency for state-registered magicians, soothsayers and sorceresses. But work is drying up. Drain cleaner is cheaper and quicker than a spell. Why trust a cold and drafty magic carpet when jetliners offer a comfy seat and an in-flight movie? And now potions are eligible for VAT…

But then the visions start. The Last Dragon is going to be killed by a Dragonslayer at 12.00 on Sunday. The death will unleash untold devastation on the UnUnited Kingdom, setting principality against dukedom and property developer against homesteader. And all the signs are pointing to Jennifer Strange, and saying”Big Magic is coming!”  (

As seems to be the case with this time of year, I am in yet another reading slump. Everything I pick up make me roll my eyes and sigh saying, “Gah! I don’t care about these people! Their problems are so superficial and stupid!” I tend to fall into a pattern like this every autumn. Last November I only read THREE books! THREE!

I am sort of hoping I can do better than that this year, but I have doubts. I am only thankful that I had an excellent reading start to the year and managed to meet my Goodreads goal early! If I had to rely on catching up this month, I’d be sorely out of luck.

In desperation, I picked up The Last Dragonslayer as it was sent to me last month by Harper Collins as something I might like to read. I had been looking forward to this title since Jenny @ Wondrous Reads mentioned getting it last year (as I think it came out in the UK in 2010?). My eyes were rolling and I sighed when I started the book, not because of the book itself, but more because this is what I seem to do when I try to start a new book now…but that slowly changed to giggles.

This book made me giggle a lot. It’s cute and funny and whimsicle and yet still taking place in 21st century Wales. Only with a twist – magic and dragons happen to be real.

Jennifer Strange was a highly enjoyable main character. At 16 and with 4 more years of endentured servitude left at Kazam! I thought she was smart, funny and likeable. I was of course madly in love with her Quarkbeast and think I need to find me one of my own. “Quark!”

Every character in this story made me laugh. They might have been helpful or evil but mostly they put a smile on my face. I read through this book in an afternoon, which right now? That’s like a miracle. I am ashamed to tell you how many books I have strewn about the living room and bedroom right now with bookmarks in them, only a couple of pages deep. I have 61 books on my TBR and I can’t find ONE that doesn’t make me feel like poking my eyes out. Ugh.

The book even managed to evoke some sadness within this jaded, cynical soul of mine. I didn’t want to feel sad, but I did. I got over it though and continued on. I would have preferred a different path than was taken at one point, but it’s ok. It added a lot of depth to the story that wasn’t really there before.

I think Jasper Fforde’s first ever book for young readers is a great job! I’d classify this more as middle grade, even though Jennifer is 16. It reads more like a MG novel than a YA one most of the time. The Last Dragonslayer was a fun and magical tale with bravery and good humour. This is the sort of book I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel to. I just want to


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