The Last Dragonslayer

The Last Dragonslayer

Audiobook CD - 2012
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In the good old days, magic was indispensable; it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading. Drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets have been reduced to pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam Mystical Arts Management, 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 that's true, everything will change for Kazam -- and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.
Publisher: Grand Haven, MI : Brilliance Audio, [p2012]
ISBN: 9781455857340
1455857343
Branch Call Number: Y SF
Characteristics: 7 sound discs (7 hr., 31 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Jasicki, Elizabeth

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JCLChrisK Jul 16, 2013

I think I need to read more Jasper Fforde, who in this book read to me like a cross between J. K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett. Funny, witty, and wise all at the same time; entertainment, silliness, and social critique wrapped in a fun fantasy package.
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The title and cover had me expecting knights and swords and battles, when instead we get wizards and government bureaucracy at the start that only gradually develops into something involving a dragon and a sword. Jennifer Strange's most important skills are diplomacy and insight. Though those are far from her only talents; she has a quick mind good in a crisis, good business sense, and strong moral values: "Business, Miss Strange--nothing personal. You have many fine qualities that I admire. You should have been born a century ago, when values such as yours meant something." The story, in brief is about Jennifer going from a teen manager of an employment agency for magicians to a celebrity involved in the predicted slaying of the last dragon. But it's much more complicated than that.
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Perhaps the best thing to do might be to give you a sample of Fford's writing from the first chapter:
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"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. . . . "
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"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."

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