The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

As I said in Smakebit på søndag, when I’d read the first chapter of The Last Dragonslayer on Friday, far too late in the evening already, I didn’t want to put it down, and in other circumstances I probably wouldn’t have. As it was it was Sunday before I finished. And it is a compelling story, with Jennifer Strange as a most compelling heroine. But while I liked it, I really, really liked it, I still felt it fell a little short of perfection (unlike Shades of Gray which really IS perfection).

For while the story is compelling, I felt it lacked something, a little drive, perhaps? And I should have liked to see more of Tiger Prawn, a most worthy sidekick. And I should have liked to see more of the wizards, too, even the ones – or perhaps especially the ones – with a less than sunny personality. And I really want more quarkbeast. Charming creatures, they are.

Now I realise that this is the first book in an intended series, so that hopefully I WILL see more of these characters, but though I adore series, even long series, I still feel that at least the first volume ought to be able to stand on its own two feet. It should leave you wanting more, yes, of course it should, but there is a difference here. Comparing, again, with Shades of Gray, which had me craving more the moment I closed the book, but which felt very much like a complete whole, The Last Dragonslayer leaves me wanting more because the book itself feels somewhat incomplete. 

Perhaps it’s because it’s written for a younger market? I don’t know. I’m not sure that’s an excuse, though. Why should younger readers not want complete books?

On the whole, though, The Last Dragonslayer is better than most books out there. I could compare it to almost any book and it would come up trumps, I just know Fforde can do better, and so I am a little disappointed. A very little. I’m still preordering The Song of the Quarkbeast, because, well, complaining that I want more and then not grabbing at it with both hands when I’m offered more would just be stupid, right?

On a side note: Why, oh why have they radically changed cover designs between volumes 1 and 2?

En smakebit på søndag: The Last Dragonslayer

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

I finished with Jack and Stephen Friday evening and started The Last Dragonslayer immediately, even though it was really time for bed already. I read one chapter and realised I really didn’t want to put it down. Ten years ago I would probably have finished it that night, but then I didn’t have someone who’d wake me demanding breakfast in the morning (and since the husband was working Saturday, it would be me she’d demand breakfast from).

Anyway, here’s a quote:

Tiger was staring thoughtfully at Prince Nasil, the carpet and the Yummy-Flakes box. Mystical Arts was a strange industry to work in and was much like a string of bizarre occurences occasionally interspersed with moments of great triumph and numbing terror. There was boredom, too. Watching wizards build up to a spell is like watching paint dry. It can take some getting used to.

En smakebit på søndag – a taster on Sunday – is an initiative from Mari at Flukten fra virkeligheten.

Ah, Jasper.

Another blog worth following is the Guardian Books Blog. Right now they’re doing major coverage of the Edinburgh book festival, and they’ve had webchats with a couple of authors (transcript available after the fact), one of which: The very, very lovely Jasper Fforde. It’s actually the first time I’ve seen a picture of Fforde, and my first reaction was «But he looks quite normal!» Incidentally, that was my first reaction when seeing Frode Øverlie for the first time at a signing at Serieteket in Oslo, too.