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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oustanding, As Always
I was so disappointed to see the negative reviews posted by other customers for Fforde's The Last Dragonslayer. Those that gave poor ratings because they failed to realise it was a "children's book". I have just finished it and I'm blown away. To create an original story that will enthrall and inspire younger readers is so difficult to carry out successfully nowadays,...
Published on 10 Feb 2011 by Noody

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely for young adults
I purchased this because I am a huge fan of every other book Jasper Fforde has written, and the fact that it is for younger readers never usually puts me off (Terry Pratchett and Philip Pulman, for example, can create YA fiction for everybody). The main negative is that The Last Dragonslayer is tragically short- in fact it barely gets started before it has finished. Each...
Published on 13 April 2012 by Amazon Customer


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oustanding, As Always, 10 Feb 2011
By 
This review is from: The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) (Hardcover)
I was so disappointed to see the negative reviews posted by other customers for Fforde's The Last Dragonslayer. Those that gave poor ratings because they failed to realise it was a "children's book". I have just finished it and I'm blown away. To create an original story that will enthrall and inspire younger readers is so difficult to carry out successfully nowadays, and Fforde's done an incredible job. I'm mid 20's, have loved all his books thus far (and am highly anticipating One of Our Thursdays Is Missing) and this one is no exception. Plus, if there was any doubt, surely the front cover would give it away?

Anyway.

I love his concepts - a wizarding agency when magics are diluted, where every spell is followed by the appropriate paperwork. Quarkbeasts. Like Fforde's other books, the ideas are far-fetched yet at the same time gloriously believable. It really is a sit-back and enjoy the ride kind of deal. And to bring the point back to my original reasoning for writing a review in the first place; Fforde really should get more respect and appreciation. There are so many 8-16 year olds so very bored with Harry Potter and all the churned out unoriginal literature that followed. They are just itching for something good. And Fforde brings it every time. Now he's bringing it to a younger generation who will grow up to love his other books as well.

Beautiful, really.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slight but nice - slimline Fforde "for Young Adults", 31 Oct 2010
By 
Henk Beentje "Henk Beentje" (Kew, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) (Hardcover)
The book: Jennifer Strange is acting manager for the Kazam agency of magicians in the Kingdom of Hereford - as the manager himself has disappeared under mysterious (and slightly shocking) circumstances. In a world where magicians have to cope with the realities of life, she books them jobs like the re-wiring of houses and the unblocking of drains; but always with an eye on possible good PR and threats of litigation. Then several magicians get powerful precognitions of a momentous event - which will have political as well of magical consequences. Jenny has to try and change the future - which might have some unforeseen results, of course...

The writer: Jasper Fforde (b. 1961) has written five books in the 'Thursday Next' series, two in the 'Nursery Crimes' series, and 'Shades of Grey'.

My opinion: this is, for Fforde, a slim offering: 281 pages in quite large print. Maybe it is meant for the teen market? Whatever the purpose, it is still very Fforde: imaginative in a very lateral way, full of jokes, puns, swipes at trashy multinationals, politicians and media people, and a runaway adventure. It feels to me more like a novella than a book; a nice story, but it lacks the complexity and depth of Thursday Next and Shades of Grey. Those were Big Ideas worked out very neatly; this one feels like a medium-sized idea worked out quickly. Unless you are really into dragons and magic, which, I suppose, goes for several hundred million HP fans...
All in all, this is nice - but not as good as his best; that still means better than most, though. Fforde is an acquired taste - once acquired, and used in moderation, it is a treat, a hoot, and a joy!

Postscript: I have checked his website, and this is a book for Young Adults. So who's that, then? I'm adult and feel young (I'm not really), and I've read it with moderate pleasure - so that's allright then. There are also apps to go with the book, RSS feeds, the full works. I don't read these things before I write my review, because I don't want to be influenced!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fforde does YA, and it's Ffabulous Ffun, 28 Nov 2010
By 
Annabel Gaskell "gaskella2" (Nr Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) (Hardcover)
Jasper Fforde has written a new book, and if it wasn't for heroine being two weeks short of sixteen, no swearing, and no overt classic literary references, you'd be hard pushed to know that it was written primarily for young adults. I expect that many grown-ups will read it anyway and some will be none the wiser as, although it is lighter fare than usual, it will happily sit along with his other titles.

Jennifer Strange is a foundling, not quite sixteen years old, and is running the Kazam agency for soothsayers and sorcerors in the unexplained absence of its owner Mr Zambini. In an age where magical power is diminishing, managing magical talent is an art in itself, and Jennifer has to massage the egos of once powerful mages who are reduced to doing plumbing jobs to make ends meet, as well as doing all their paperwork every time they cast a spell.

Power has been gradually draining away as the dragons started to die out, and now there is only one aged beast left living in the dragonlands between the kingdoms of Hereford and Brecon. Then premonitions start happening to all the soothsayers around - they are predicting the death of the last dragon, that 'Big Magic' is involved ... and Jennifer.

This book lacks none of Fforde's inventiveness and humour. It's set in a dystopian 'Ununited Kingdom' where the counties and shires have devolved into separate kingdoms again and are constantly niggling against each other, and as you might expect bureaucracy has gone mad too. Jennifer is thrust into a situation where it's difficult for her to know who to trust, everyone has their own agenda, and ultimately she must go by her own instincts to sort things out. She does have help though from young Tiger - another foundling, Kazam's magicians of course, and her pet Quarkbeast - the softest, yet scariest pet monster you'll ever encounter! Jennifer is a plucky heroine - the sort of girl who'll grow up into being the next Thursday Next - I really liked her.

In creating this richly detailed world, Fforde doesn't write down for the younger audience at all. I enjoyed it so much it was all over too quickly, but I'd heartily recommend to older children and anyone who is young at heart.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely for young adults, 13 April 2012
I purchased this because I am a huge fan of every other book Jasper Fforde has written, and the fact that it is for younger readers never usually puts me off (Terry Pratchett and Philip Pulman, for example, can create YA fiction for everybody). The main negative is that The Last Dragonslayer is tragically short- in fact it barely gets started before it has finished. Each chapter elaborates on a different character and many of those are dropped at the end of that chapter save for an appearance at the end- Jasper Fforde is a master at background characters taking centre stage and he doesn''t really use that here, which is a shame.

On the positive side it is a really good story, another alternate history and a completely different sort to the one in the TN books. The ending isn't what you'd expect and at no point does he talk down to his audience.

I give this 3 stars as I suspect that the following two will improve upon it drastically- a good book for teens, his older fans may wish to wait until all 3 are out and read them as one big novel
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, magical, 17 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) (Hardcover)
What a beautiful book.'Shades of Grey' left me feeling let-down. This one picked me up again. A true work of genius. Required reading for all young adults, age eleven to one hundred and eighty-two (though if that's their real age, don't tell them). And could Mr Fford please tell me where to obtain a Quarkbeast for a pet? It would solve the problem of what to do with the empty dogfood cans.

Avoid reading this at your peril: it's proof that a little magic still exists in our otherwise fraught times.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jasper does it again, 20 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) (Hardcover)
Brilliant! Buy it! Young or old (like me) will be completely entertained.
AND Thursday Next's new adventure is out tomorrow.Even better!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another work of genius from Jasper Fforde, 4 Nov 2010
By 
Jim J-R (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) (Hardcover)
Jasper Fforde's latest novel tells the story of Jennifer Strange, fifteen-year-old acting manager of a wizard employment agency, which is suffering due to lack of magic. When the death of the last of the dragons is predicted, it is to her that people come looking for ways to profit.

Fforde's writing style is easily recognisable and easy to fall back into reading. It's a comfortable and friendly read that reminds me of the pleasure I've received from his previous works. His writing gets better and better, this and Shades of Grey demonstrating a master at work.

While it is technically a children's novel, this book has none of the patronising and simplistic nature of many examples of the genre. The world Fforde constructs is just as detailed, if a little less complex, than in his other novels, with a rich range of characters, animals and alternative history. The book will appeal just as much to adults as to children - especially with the dragonhide texture of the dust jacket!

I actually find that I have no criticism to make. The story does contain morals, the classic hallmark of the children's book, but Fforde has no qualms in bending them when necessary to make his fantastical setting seem real. I'm very glad that there is plenty of opening for a sequel to be very different.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Dragon Slayer, 27 July 2011
This review is from: The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) (Hardcover)
Sold as a Childrens' book, but like Harry Potter, I think this works on many levels, from early teens to pensioners!

Jasper Ffordes' Thursday Next series was described as "1984 meets Monty Python" - this book could be described as "Harry Potter meets Monty Python". It has a good story-line interspersed with Fforde's irony and subtle jokes, and is completely "off the wall" in parts, like all Ffordes' works. But somehow there is an underlying message in tune with modern thinking.

If you like Jasper Fforde you will like this, if you like Harry Potter you will like this, and if you just like a good read, then you should give this a go!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for the Thursday Next books, 7 Mar 2011
By 
Patricia Grant "pattie" (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) (Hardcover)
Whilst waiting for the next Thursday Next book I bought this one, read it, and enjoyed it. Love everything that Jasper Fforde writes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It slayed me!, 7 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) (Hardcover)
Fantastic book!! Jasper Fforde is a great writer taking a 'normal' life and throwing in a fantastical element. The story is of a medium pace with little mini adventures happening throughout until the climax. The twisting plot keeps you guessing. It has an undertone of the struggle of decisions that need to be made against the will of the individual. Great read, gripping and wonderfull.
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The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1)
The Last Dragonslayer (Last Dragonslayer Book 1) by Jasper Fforde (Hardcover - 4 Nov 2010)
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