The Last Dragonslayer (The Chronicles of Kazam Series #1)

( 27 )

Overview

In the good old days, magic was indispensable. But now magic is fading: Drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for ...
See more details below
Paperback
$7.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $3.18   
  • New (10) from $4.11   
  • Used (7) from $3.18   
The Last Dragonslayer (The Chronicles of Kazam Series #1)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$6.99
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$7.99 List Price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Note: Visit our Teens Store.

Overview

In the good old days, magic was indispensable. But now magic is fading: Drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Nobody appointed Jessica Strange to run Kazam, but when Mr. Zambini disappeared, this level-headed 15, almost 16-year-old decided that she decided that she had to keep this employment agency for magicians operating. As if that wasn't difficult enough, the new ad hoc manager faces a much, much larger problem: Land developers and real estate developers are greedily awaiting the arrival of the last Dragonslayer to kill the last defender of Dragonlands. Should Jessica jump into the fray or are there bigger issues at stake? Clever, charming, and original.

From the Publisher

"Fforde's forady into children's books will delight readers who like their fantasy with a dash of silliness."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
 

"Fantasy readers with a taste for the silly should appreciate the subverted tropes."--Kirkus

 "Thoroughly entertaining . . . readers will easily sit back and enjoy the fun."--Booklist

"Fforde's fantasy is smart, funny, and abundantly imaginative in its critique of commercial culture."--Horn Book

The New York Times Book Review
With The Last Dragonslayer, fans of Jasper Fforde's best-selling "Thursday Next" and "Nursery Crime" series will be delighted that Fforde's talent for world-building, his skewed sense of humor and his searing satire come through full force…The ending…is delicious and satisfying, yet it teases with a promise of a series.
—Lisa Von Drasek
Publishers Weekly
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.)
VOYA - Sherri Rampey
Welcome to Hereford, an alternate version of the modern day UK, where wizards are hired to do normal everyday jobs. Meet Jennifer Strange, manager of Kazam, who, for the time being is in charge of making sure quotas are met and rules are not broken. That is, until Jennifer Stranger learns she is a dragonslayer who does not want to slay the dragon. Fforde has inundated this story with quirky but likeable characters that are sure to make the reader laugh. It is wonderful that Fforde keeps the protagonist as a normal, down-to-earth, young teenage woman (except for being a dragonslayer, of course), who for all intents and purposes, wants to manage Kazam and lead a normal, boring teenage life. The fact that Fforde gives Jennifer a strong opinion only adds more emphasis to the character he has created. The secondary characters enhance and add humor to the plot of the novel. While the characters are the "meat" of the story, there could be more substance to the plot. It seems that the protagonist is constantly running from cameras and ad reps when there could have been more interaction between Jennifer and the dragon. Despite this minor set-back, those in middle school and junior high will flock to this book, especially boys (because of the awesome VW on the cover). It might be a bit harder to sell to the high school crowd. Reviewer: Sherri Rampey
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Jennifer Strange, foundling apprentice to a missing "agent/impresario," is a practical person. She knows how to get things done. Lucky, because the nearly sixteen-year-old has to do just about everything: organizing work for her hotel full of down-at-the heels magicians and keeping them fed and out of mischief. Then suddenly, she's promoted to official "Dragonslayer" of the Kingdom of Hereford and must learn to manage King Snood and any number of greedy others—all craving the last dragon's pristine, unsullied lands. With the help of her Quarkbeast (90% metal and 10% Labrador, whose favorite part of canned dog food is the can) and Tiger Prawns (the latest foundling sent by the Sisters of the Lobsterhood), all things are possible. Maybe. Perhaps. Teachers and librarians will be delighted to note that both good fun and an ethical heroine launch the "Chronicles of Kazam" series, serving as Fforde's (of "Thursday Next" literary mysteries fame) first foray into children's fantasy Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Orphaned Jennifer Strange, 15, is the manager of Kazam Mystical Arts Management, an organization that promotes the use of magic by its resident sorcerers, a quirky bunch at best. Within the course of one week, Jennifer becomes famous when she is named the Last Dragonslayer, and her already unusual life becomes one of danger, deceit, and dragons. She is called upon to kill the last dragon in the land and war threatens to break out as countries surrounding the Dragonlands vie for control of its vast and rich lands. Jennifer doesn't want to kill the dragon, but her duty and destiny are clear. Or are they? Mixing modern sensibilities, magic, and mayhem, Fforde has written an entertaining story that will appeal to lovers of magic and magical beings. Humor abounds, but so does heart, as readers are introduced to a heroine who is practical, smart, and true. More wacky adventures are promised in the next book in the series. Kathy Kirchoefer, Prince Georges County Memorial Library System, New Carrollton, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Finally, the first in Fforde's fantasy trilogy for young readers, published in the U.K. in 2010, makes it to this side of the pond. In the Ununited Kingdoms (whose names and political inclinations presumably hold more meaning than their United counterparts), (nearly) 16-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange (think indentured servant with pluck) has taken over running Kazam, one of the last Houses of Enchantment. She shepherds once-powerful wizards through pizza delivery and rewiring homes in Hereford, a kingdom bordering the last Dragonland. When the last dragon's death is foretold, Jennifer finds herself smack in the center of political maneuvering and foundering in massive tides of greed. Jennifer never comes across as adolescent or real; instead, her knowledge of her world and her even-toned narrative (even of high-intensity scenes) seem downright authorial. Too much of the novel is comprised of comic bits strung together with first-person exposition, and laughs fall flat when they depend on British slang, as with know-it-all William of Anorak. The obvious and clearly broadcast message ("Greed is all powerful; greed conquers all," tempered by Jennifer's innate goodness) further impedes the effect of the broad, sometimes ingenious humor. The second volume may fare better as it promises to highlight the aging, odd wizards and world rather than the less-than-sparkling Jennifer. Mostly for Fforde's fans, although fantasy readers with a taste for the silly should appreciate the subverted tropes. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
The Barnes & Noble Review

Wizards, dragons, orphans, and other familiar fantasy characters populate The Last Dragonslayer, the first novel in a series for young adults by British novelist Jasper Fforde. Just as his previous novels for adults, beginning with the comic adventure The Eyre Affair, have come loaded with sly meta-fictional asides, this novel plays with literary genre conventions that younger readers might find familiar from certain contemporary blockbusters in young adult fiction (Fforde also leaves room for social commentary on recession, environmental degradation, and greedy real estate moguls).

This time, however, the young orphan of indeterminate origin who will soon discover her mystical powers is a teenage girl. Jennifer Strange is the "acting manager" of Kazam Mystical Arts Management, an employment agency for down-on-their luck magicians from various disciplines. And do they ever need it: spells themselves have a success rate that hovers around a very unimpressive twenty-five percent; the houses of magic have dwindled from twenty to two; wizards cast spells to rewire houses and unclog drains; levitators work for the city moving illegally parked cars, while magic carpeteers transport organ donations and takeout food. Even Strange's boss, to whom she is allegedly apprenticed, has been unreachable for years, after a poorly executed spell sent him into unknown territory. Fittingly, the "pre-cogs" who work for him can predict either the place, or the time, he may reappear, but never both; thus, their leader remains in limbo.

Jennifer's main assets in her battle with disorder include her sidekick, the Quarkbeast, who only ?looks like an open knife drawer on legs" but is "actually a sweetie, and rarely, if ever, eats cats" and a rusty orange 1958 Volkswagen Beetle, in which she was found abandoned in front of the orphanage as a small child. But then she receives a new apprentice, Tiger Prawns, the seventh foundling (Jennifer being the sixth, and as she explains, "we didn't talk about the fifth").

At first, it seems the main tasks of the teen girl and her pre-teen assistant will be finding their leader and defending their livelihood against the likes of the king's Useless Brother, who undercuts Kazam's price quotes and thus steals their government contracts. But then Jennifer discovers — in a twist surely unknown to fantasy readers — that she is not like the others; she is the one, the only; the prophesied — well, in this case, the Last Dragonslayer.

Her mission, it seems is, to kill the last dragon on noon on the designated day. This is unfortunate, because the dragon, Maltcassion, has much more to recommend his character than the monarch ordering his execution; the king is dismissive of Jennifer's gender, while being less honest, skillful, and grammatically astute than the teen girl to whom he condescends. Also, the minute the dragon dies, so the legend goes, his lands go up for grabs, and thus news of his impending demise sets off an unseemly rush, with citizens prematurely staking out their claims.

Jennifer finds herself a freshly minted celebrity, with offers of talk show appearance, cereal endorsements, sponsorships and marriage proposals (from suitors who graciously agree to take her more celebrated name). The familiar orphan-slays-dragon conceit is merely a useful scrim on which Fforde projects multi-layered humor, characters, and social commentary. Familiar prophecies aside, this debut augurs an engaging, witty and intelligent series to come.

Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.

Reviewer: Amy Benfer

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544104716
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Series: Chronicles of Kazam Series , #1
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 73,211
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde is the internationally best-selling author of the Chronicles of Kazam, the Thursday Next mysteries, and the Nursery Crime books. He lives in Wales. Visit his website at www.jasperfforde.com.

Biography

Jasper Fforde is the author of four previous Thursday Next novels: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten. He is also the author of the Nursery Crimes Series, featuring Big Over Easy and Fourth Bear. All of Jasper Fforde's books are available from Penguin. He lives in Wales.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

Good To Know

Fforde's first novel, The Eyre Affair, received 76 rejection letters before it was published.

Fforde tells us in our interview that he got the idea for Pickwick, Thursday's pet dodo, from a visit to the Oxford Natural History Museum. "There was a stuffed dodo there and a withered foot and beak -- the only physical evidence aside from bones that they were ever alive at all," Fforde recalls. "I wandered for a bit and then asked the woman at the museum shop if I could buy a dodo home-cloning kit. She told me to come back in 20 years. That weekend, I wrote in Pickwick."

Fforde continued to reveal another fun fact: "The name of Thursday's husband, Landen Parke-Laine, comes from what happens if you are playing Monopoly and land on the first of the blue set -- a U.S. translation might be 'Landen Boarde-Walke.' Hence, his parents' names, mentioned in Lost in a Good Book, are 'Houson Parke-Laine' and 'Billden Parke-Laine.' "

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Brecon, Powys, Wales, United Kingdom
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 11, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, United Kingdom
    1. Education:
      Left school at 18

Read an Excerpt

ONE

Practical Magic

It looked set to become even hotter by the afternoon, just when the job was becoming more fiddly and needed extra concentration. But the fair weather brought at least one advantage: dry air makes magic work better and fly farther. Moisture has a moderating effect on the mystical arts. No sorcerer worth their sparkle ever did productive work in the rain—which probably accounts for why getting showers to start was once considered easy, but getting them to stop was nearly impossible.

We hadn’t been able to afford a company car for years, so the three sorcerers, the beast, and I were packed into my rust-and-orange-but-mostly-rust Volkswagen for the short journey from Hereford to Dinmore. Lady Mawgon had insisted on sitting in the passenger seat because "that’s how it will be," which meant that Wizard Moobin and the well-proportioned Full Price were in the back seat, with the Quarkbeast sitting between the two of them and panting in the heat. I was driving, which might have been unusual anywhere but here in the Kingdom of Hereford, which was unique in the Ununited Kingdoms for having driving tests based on maturity, not age. That explained why I’d had a license since I was thirteen, while some were still failing to make the grade at forty. It was lucky I could. Sorcerers are easily distracted, and letting them drive is about as safe as waving around a chain saw at full throttle in a crowded nightclub.

We had lots to talk about—the job we were driving to, the weather, experimental spells, King Snodd’s sometimes eccentric ways. But we didn’t. Price, Moobin, and Mawgon, despite being our best sorcerers, didn’t really get along. It wasn’t anything personal; sorcerers are just like that—temperamental, and apt to break out into petulant posturing that takes time and energy to smooth over. My job of running Kazam Mystical Arts Management was less about spells and enchantments, diplomacy and bureaucracy, than about babysitting. Working with those versed in the Mystical Arts was sometimes like trying to knit with wet spaghetti: just when you thought you’d gotten somewhere, it all came to pieces in your hands. But I didn’t really mind. Were they frustrating? Frequently. Were they boring? Never.

"I do wish you wouldn’t do that," said Lady Mawgon in an aggrieved tone as she shot a disapproving glance at Full Price. He was changing from a human to a walrus and then back again in slow, measured transformations. The Quarkbeast was staring at him strangely, and with each transformation there wafted an unpleasant smell of fish around the small car. It was good the windows were open. To Lady Mawgon, who in better days had once been sorceress to royalty, transforming within potential view of the public was the mark of the hopelessly ill-bred.

"Groof, groof," said Full Price, trying to speak while a walrus, which is never satisfactory. "I’m just tuning up," he added in an indignant fashion, once de-walrussed or re-humaned, depending on which way you looked at it. "Don’t tell me you don’t need to."

Wizard Moobin and I looked at Lady Mawgon, eager to know how she was tuning up. Moobin had prepared for the job by tinkering with the print of the Hereford Daily Eyestrain. He had filled in the crossword in the twenty minutes since we’d left Kazam. Not unusual in itself, since the Eyestrain’s crossword is seldom hard, except that he had used printed letters from elsewhere on the page and dragged them across using the power of his mind alone. The crossword was now complete and more or less correct—but it left an article on Queen Mimosa’s patronage of the Troll War Widows Fund looking a little disjointed.

"I am not required to answer your question," replied Lady Mawgon haughtily, "and what’s more, I detest the term tuning up. It’s quazafucating and always has been."

"Using the old language makes us sound archaic and out of touch," replied Price.

"It makes us sound as we are meant to be," replied Lady Mawgon, "of a noble calling."

Of a once noble calling, thought Moobin, inadvertently broadcasting his subconscious on an alpha so low, even I could sense it.

Lady Mawgon swiveled in her seat to glare at him. "Keep your thoughts to yourself, young man."

Moobin thought something to her but in high alpha, so only she could hear it. I don’t know what he thought, but Lady Mawgon said, "Well!" and stared out the side window in an aggrieved fashion.

I sighed. This was my life.

Of the forty-five sorcerers, movers, soothsayers, shifters, weather-mongers, carpeteers, and other assorted mystical artisans at Kazam, most were fully retired due to infirmity, insanity, or damage to the vital index fingers, either through accident or rheumatoid arthritis. Of these forty-five, thirteen were potentially capable of working, but only nine had current licenses—two carpeteers, a pair of pre-cogs, and most important, five sorcerers legally empowered to carry out Acts of Enchantment. Lady Mawgon was certainly the crabbiest and probably the most skilled. As with everyone else at Kazam, her powers had faded dramatically over the past three decades or so, but unlike everyone else, she’d not really come to terms with it. In her defense, she’d had farther to fall than the rest of them, but this wasn’t really an excuse. The Sisters Karamazov could also claim once-royal patronage, and they were nice as apricot pie. Mad as a knapsack of onions, but pleasant nonetheless.

I might have felt sorrier for Mawgon if she weren’t so difficult all the time. Her intimidating manner made me feel small and ill at ease, and she rarely if ever missed an opportunity to put me in my place. Since Mr. Zambini’s disappearance, she’d gotten worse, not better.

"Quark," said the Quarkbeast.

"Did we really have to bring the beast?" Full Price asked me.

"It jumped in the car when I opened the door."

The Quarkbeast yawned, revealing several rows of razor-sharp fangs. Despite his placid nature, the beast’s ferocious appearance almost guaranteed that no one ever completely shrugged off the possibility that he might try to take a chunk out of them when they weren’t looking. If the Quarkbeast was aware of this, it didn’t show. Indeed, he might have been so unaware that he wondered why people always ran away screaming.

"I would be failing in my duty as acting manager of Kazam," I said, in an attempt to direct the sorcerers away from grumpiness and more in the direction of teamwork, "if I didn’t mention how important this job is. Mr. Zambini always said that Kazam needed to adapt to survive, and if we get this right, we could possibly tap a lucrative market that we badly need."

"Humph!" said Lady Mawgon.

"We all need to be in tune and ready to hit the ground running," I added. "I told Mr. Digby we’d all be finished by six this evening."

They didn’t argue. I think they knew the score well enough. In silent answer, Lady Mawgon snapped her fingers, and the Volkswagen’s gearbox, which up until that moment had been making an expensive-sounding rumbling noise, suddenly fell silent. If Mawgon could replace gearbox bushings while the engine was running, she was tuned enough for all of them.

I knocked on the door of a red-brick house at the edge of the village, and a middle-aged man with a ruddy face answered.

"Mr. Digby? My name is Jennifer Strange of Kazam, acting manager for Mr. Zambini. We spoke on the phone."

He looked me up and down. "You seem a bit young to be running an agency."

"I’m sixteen," I said in a friendly manner.

"Sixteen?"

"In two weeks I’ll be sixteen, yes."

"Then you’re actually fifteen?"

I thought for a moment."I’m in my sixteenth year."

Mr. Digby narrowed his eyes."Then shouldn’t you be in school or something?"

"Indentured servitude," I answered as brightly as I could, trying to sidestep the contempt that most free citizens have for people like me. As a foundling, I had been brought up by the Sisterhood, who’d sold me to Kazam four years before. I still had two years of unpaid work before I could even think of applying for the first level that would one day lead me, fourteen tiers of paperwork and bureaucracy later, to freedom.

"Indentured or not," replied Mr. Digby, "where’s Mr. Zambini?"

"He’s indisposed at present," I replied, attempting to sound as mature as I could. "I have temporarily assumed his responsibilities."

"‘Temporarily assumed his responsibilities’?" Mr. Digby repeated. He looked at the three sorcerers, who stood waiting at the car. "Why her and not one of you?"

"Bureaucracy is for little people," retorted Lady Mawgon in an imperious tone.

"I am too busy, and paperwork exacerbates my receding hair issues," said Full Price.

"We have complete confidence in Jennifer," added Wizard Moobin, who appreciated what I did perhaps more than most. "Foundlings mature quickly. May we get started?"

"Very well," replied Mr. Digby, after a long pause in which he looked at us all in turn with a should I cancel? sort of look. But he didn’t, and eventually went and fetched his hat and coat. "But we agreed you’d be finished by six, yes?"

I said that this was so, and he handed me his house keys. After taking a wide berth to avoid the Quarkbeast, he climbed into his car and drove away. It’s not a good idea to have civilians around when sorcery is afoot. Even the stoutest incantations carry redundant strands of spell that can cause havoc if allowed to settle on the general public. Nothing serious ever happened; it was mostly rapid nose hair growth, oinking like a pig, blue pee, that sort of stuff. It soon wore off, but it was bad for business.

"Right," I said to the sorcerers. "Over to you."

They looked at each other, then at the ordinary suburban house.

"I used to conjure up storms," said Lady Mawgon with a sigh.

"So could we all," replied Wizard Moobin.

"Quark," said the Quarkbeast.

None of the sorcerers had rewired a house by spell before, but by reconfiguring the root directory on the core spell language of ARAMAIC, it could be done with relative ease—as long as the three of them pooled their resources. It had been Mr. Zambini’s idea to move Kazam into the home improvement market. Charming moles out of gardens, resizing stuff for the self-storage industry, and finding lost things was easy work, but it didn’t pay well. Using magic to rewire a house, however, was quite different. Unlike electricians, we didn’t need to touch the house in order to do it. No mess, no problems, and all finished in under a day.

I stood by my Volkswagen to be near the car radiophone, the most reliable form of mobile communication we had these days. Any calls to the Kazam office would ring here. I wasn’t just Kazam’s manager; I was also the receptionist, booking clerk, and taxi service. I had to look after the forty-five sorcerers, deal with the shabby building that housed us all, and fill out the numerous forms that the Magical Powers (amended 1966) Act required when even the tiniest spell was undertaken. I did all this because (1) the Great Zambini couldn’t because he was missing, (2) I’d been part of Kazam since I was twelve and knew the Mystical Arts Management business inside out, and (3) no one else wanted to.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

    Outstanding

    I loved this story! The way the author incorporated modern-day technology into the world of magic is just mistifying. Five stars for this! Hint: This is only for those who truly think that fantasy is not always bad, and who love a good story. SPOILER ALERT: Quarky dies ):

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Strange, who will be 16 years old in two weeks, is an


    Jennifer Strange, who will be 16 years old in two weeks, is an indentured servant till 18 and, as such, runs Kazam Mystical Arts Management. Jennifer has a knack for handling fractious practitioners of magic and is always accompanied by a loveable critter, Quarkbeast. Quark is 1/10 Labrador and 9/10 velociraptor and kitchen blender and absolutely adores Jennifer for taking him home when she found him at Starbucks.

    Then, one day, Jennifer meets a fellow named Brian Spalding who lives at the Dragonstation and drives an armored Rolls-Royce he calls the Slayermobile. Brian is the outgoing dragonslayer and he is intent upon making Jennifer his apprentice. Apprentice for what? Well, it seems an old dragon, Maltcassion, lives in a sanctuary/wilderness known as the Dragonlands and he is supposed to die next Sunday at noon at the hands of a Dragonslayer wielding a sword named Exhorbitus. Unfortunately, Brian disappears rather precipitously before Jennifer feels quite prepared so she hires her own apprentice Dragonslayer, Gordon van Gordon Gordonson ap Gordon-Gordon of Gordon.

    So why does Maltcassion have to die next Sunday at noon? Come to find out there have been three Dragonattacks and that voids the Dragonpact that has protected him. One minor detail—by ancient decree, a dragon’s land belongs to whoever claims it when he dies and that brings out the worst of greed in an awful lot of people. In this world, commerce is mightier than kings and celebrities and The Consolidated Useful Stuff Land Development Corporation is ready to take advantage of the decree.

    Jasper Fforde is one of my favorite authors and I so wanted to love this book but I just can’t quite say that I do. There’s not much joy in this story even though there is a lot of humor. Heavyhanded agendas like greed, environmentalism, trashy media and product endorsements got in the way of the pure enjoyment I usually get when reading a Fforde tale and I also felt there were far too many characters, making it difficult to care a lot about most of them. Have I been permanently turned off? Of course not—the author may not have been at the top of his game with this one, his first young adult novel, but it’s just as possible that I read it in the wrong mood. The second in the series, The Song of the Quarkbeast, is already out in the UK so it should be showing up here in the US next fall and I’ll definitely be reading it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Delightfully Absurd and Absurdly Delightful! This book wasn¿t m

    Delightfully Absurd and Absurdly Delightful!

    This book wasn’t my favorite by Fforde – that glorious honor goes to the Well of Lost Plots and the estimable character Miss Havisham. While not quite the crown jewel of his body of work it is still better than 78.6% of the best other authors have to offer and thus quite good.

    I quickly fell under the spell of this book. On the surface the story is fun and light and absurd, but as with all of Fforde’s writing there are layers. He builds a very rich and detailed world in the Ununited Kingdoms, creating an interesting well-constructed mythology, along with the creation of a quirky mundane world. Other reviewers have said this is one of his more accessible books and I have to agree. While I adore his writing, I have to concede- though it makes me a little ill to do so- it isn’t for everyone, but The Lastdragon Slayer does have a more universal appeal, while not losing its Ffordeness. So I say give it a try and let loose your own inner Ffordeness.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 12, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Quark! Firstly I will admit to buying this book because A) I lik

    Quark!
    Firstly I will admit to buying this book because A) I like dragons and B) the cover art was just fantastic.
    I absolutely adored this book from beginning to end. It's a quirky, whimsical and exceptionally silly. I could not put it down. I'm highly anticipating the sequel. This book was the perfect thing to read to break up the dark and heavy themes of the books I've been reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    Natsu

    I love this story!! It reminds me of Fary Tail in a way!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Strange isn¿t really a female Harry Potter¿she can¿t



    Jennifer Strange isn’t really a female Harry Potter—she can’t do magic for a start. But Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer could be the beginning of similarly enticing series. The story’s set in a slightly alternate world, where magic is dying in the Ununited Kingdom, and magicians are reduced to rewiring houses and unstopping drains. Jennifer’s a foundling office girl, but her boss seems to have gone astray, and now the dreamers and foreseers of the world are claiming the world’s last dragon is about to die. This event could have enormous political consequences as the dragonlands become available for development, and Welsh and English counties threaten war. But the magical ramifications might be even worse—what if dragons are the source of magic? What if magic dies with the last of the breed?

    Author Jasper Fforde creates a great cast of characters, combining the sublime and the ridiculous, adding convincing tones of voice, and giving Jennifer just the right amount of teen awkwardness and subservient common sense. The magic of this alternate world is just close enough to our own—“If you’re thinking of somebody and the phone rings and it’s them, that’s magic,” says Jennifer to Tiger at one point—and just far enough away to keep readers, young and old, entranced. Magical history is given very naturally in conversation, with details that reappear in the plot, lending a nice sense of depth and conviction. And there’s that delightfully English feel of forms filled in triplicate, rules and regulations, and a right way for everything, plus the odd cup of tea.

    And there’s a dragon! What more could you want? Funny, absurd, and delightfully daft, with a clever plot, enjoyable protagonist, and plenty of depth for a series, this is a really enjoyable middle-grade book for readers of all ages.



    Disclosure: The lady in the shop recommended it. Thank you!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Loved it!

    I'm looking forward to the 2nd installment! Great humor and cool way to combine a bit of fantasy with the familiarity of life as we know it. Fun read!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2013

    Fun read

    Looking forward to the next installment of this series. You will laugh and possibly growl out loud at the antics in this novel.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    Funny and enjoyable

    This is a funny story with many twists and unexpected developments. It is appropriate for everyone. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Two words

    Awesome

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 7, 2013

    Originally posted at Nose in a Book I have a love/hate relation

    Originally posted at Nose in a Book

    I have a love/hate relationship with Jasper Fforde novels. I love them, but I hate how much they make me think. I know, I know, such a problem! But when one is in grad school, they want to read for fun! Not for thought! This happens to be one of his books that I fell in love with. I love the world he built and I want more of it now.

    This is the story of Jessica Strange, a teenager who lives in an alternate-world 21st century. She works at Kazam, an agency that uses magicians to do the odd jobs around the Kingdom of Hereford. Kingdom of Hereford is located in present day England, which is broken up into small kingdoms that are ruled by commerce more than anything else. Wizards are forced to hire themselves out for small home repairs and any work they can get in general. Thankfully, Jessica can help them out. Jessica has been running Kazam since the disappearance of her boss, Mr. Zambini. How is a teenager running a store all by herself you ask? Jessica is an indentured orphan who is wise beyond her years and actually likes to work in Kazam.

    Jessica lucks out by getting an apprentice, Tiger Prawns, just about the time she gets a fairly lucrative opportunity in her life. She will be given a nice sum of money if she can predict the date the Last Dragonslayer will kill Maltcassion, the last dragon in the land. Slight problem with this, the dragon has done nothing wrong and oh yeah, Jessica happens to be the dragonslayer. Jessica has no interest in ruining this beautiful land so they can build more condos. But what about that lucrative deal? What's best for Big Magic?

    This is an interesting tale by Fforde, mostly because this is one of his first novels in the YA world. He excels at adult science fiction and this isn't yet the same quality as his adult novels. Yet Fforde creates an amazing vibrant fantasy world. I wanted more of it, even though in my brain I already had an awesome visual of it. I also love and adore Jessica and her journey, though there are things I would have liked to change: Jessica having more friends to help her, etc. I like that this was a journey she made on her own. It's nice to see a strong, female, teenager in a YA book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very Original

    Great story.
    I am looking forward to reading the whole Chronicles of Kazam, and getting to know the characters a lot better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2012

    Great book for fun

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast read that was entertaining and light.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)