Review Blog

Sep 19 2014

A Last Dragon Slayer Novel: The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde

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Hodder & Stoughton, 2014. ISBN 9781444707281.
(Age: 11+) Jasper Fforde uses a very conversational tone to portray his main character, Jennifer Strange, an orphan working for the Kazam house of enchantment in a very warped presentation of the word as we know it.
Set in the 'Ununited Kingdoms' where sorcerers are free to go about their business and fantastical creatures thrive, Jenny is responsible for the last two dragons in existence, young males known as Colin and Feldspar who are under threat by the Mighty Shandar. The Might Shandar is an old and powerful Sorcerer who was charged with the task of destroying all dragons. Paid an incredible sum for the task his honour is in question when Jenny saves the dragons from him. In exchange for their lives he asks Jenny to find him the legendary Eye of Zoltar, a pink jewel the size of a goose egg which shines with inner light. Jenny, for the dragons' sake, agrees. Along with her friends, Perkins and Colin (and a grumpy princess in disguise), Jenny sets off for the Cambrian empire with a huffy princess in toe, picked up along the way at her mother's insistence. Once the group reach the hub of jeopardy tourism in the empire they discover that where they're going has the highest causality rate of all. Gathering their courage and the best tour guide they could find, Jenny's group set off with a 50% fatality index, not knowing who will perish upon the way.
Fforde brings a new meaning to 'whirlwind adventure' with this novel, presenting a world so warped that even the familiar becomes unfamiliar. Combining the real and the unreal in a spectacularly surreal piece, this novel is one of the most confusing books I have ever read. Despite being difficult to get into I quite enjoyed this book, and I would recommend for lovers of surreal fantasy, particularly for people aged eleven and up as the content might be difficult for younger readers to grasp.
Kayla Gaskell (age eighteen)

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