In the good old days, magic was indispensible; 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 big is coming. Something known as... Big Magic.
~Print copy, 287 pages
Published: 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This is the type of book that reminds me, after a string of mediocre books, exactly why I love reading so much.
Let me explain. This book is about dragons, and magic, and temperamental but honorable wizards, and a fifteen-year-old orphan who has to take care of the temperamental wizards. Jennifer Stone, a foundling who is an indentured servant to Kazam, has taken over the business of running this business, because the owner has mysteriously disappeared.
Magic has been drying up for decades now; but suddenly, on a day like any other, it seems, magic surges, like a last surge of strength before it disappears entirely. And now, by fate it seems, a vision of the future is seen by every diviner in the Ununited Kingdoms (like the United Kingdom; except Ununited). The last dragon on earth is going to die, at the hands of the Last Dragonslayer.
This book... it's just written in a lighthearted way, even though it's about the extinction of a species. Jasper Fforde is a master at humor; I've read another of his books - The Big Over Easy - and this one is similar in a good way: it's hilarious, and it has an outrageous ending, and it's freakin' awesome. And I don't use freakin' lightly.
The characters are really quirky but good. Take Jennifer's pet metal beast, called the Quarkbeast, who is loyal and sweet, and happens to make some passersby faint from his fearsome appearance.
According to this, when a dragon dies, the force field keeping people out of the dragon's homeland disappears, and anyone can lay a claim to the land. So thousands, millions of people show up to the Dragonlands in hope for a bit of unspoiled land. You know, to spoil it.
When I finished reading this book, and everything made sense, this book was awesome. It took me a week to read (it's November, and I'm participating in Nanowrimo!) but it is, simply put, worth the time.
This book is funny and fast-paced, and quite the read. I recommend it to everyone. As long as you're a fan of fantasy and good characters and humor. A definite five stars.