Book Review: The Song of the Quarkbeast

song_of_the_quarkbeastAlmost a year ago I reviewed The Last Dragon Slayer, written by my favorite fantasy author, Jasper Fforde. The tale of teenager Jennifer Strange and her struggle between her duties as a dragon slayer and her own moral compass, along with a colorful cast of charming characters, was a very entertaining, funny, and sometimes saddening read. I still highly recommend it. The recently released sequel to The Last Dragon Slayer is The Song of the Quarkbeast. From the minute I heard there would be a second book, I had very high expectations, and thought of multiple possible plots for this novel, because I have that kind of free time.

The Conch has spoken!

The Conch has spoken!

Would it be primarily about people/dragon relations? Would we learn more about the new dragons? Would they cause problems for Jennifer, or would they remain peaceful? What about Jennifer being a berserker—would that be involved? Spoilers after the jump.

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Fforde Fun: The Last Dragonslayer

“Two people tried to kill me; I was threatened with jail, had sixteen offers of marriage and was outlawed by King Snodd. Today you will have not heard of me… my name is Jennifer Strange.”

So begins the first book of Jasper Fforde’s young adult series: The Last Dragonslayer. Not quite 16-year-old Jennifer Strange runs Kazam Mystical Arts Management, an employment agency for sorcerers. In the good old days, magic was powerful, unregulated by government, and even the largest spell could be woven without filling in magic release form B1-7g. Then the magic started fading away. Strange isn’t magical, but she is resourceful and extremely responsible, considering her teenage status. She runs a large operation and is constantly surrounded by many magical beings and objects, including the fearsome looking Quarkbeast, which strikes terror in the hearts of anyone that approaches—although the Quarkbeast is actually quite harmless (so far). Though it is aimed at young adults, it’s a great read for not-quite-as-young adults as well. Anyone who likes magic, sorcery, dragons, and hilarity will love it. The sequel is called The Song of the Quarkbeast, and the USA version will be published in 2013.

Besides the Dragonslayer Series, Jasper Fforde’s other works include The Thursday Next Series (which I’ve already reviewed), The Nursery Crime Series, and Shades of Grey: A Novel (Not the one with BDSM, sorry). All fantastic and all works that I will discuss at some time or another. Go and read them before I ruin it for you!