The Song of the Quarkbeast – Jasper Fforde

The Song of the Quarkbeast

The Song of the Quarkbeast

Summary

Teenager Jennifer Strange, Ambassador to Dragons and manager of Kazaam [magic services] is facing a severe shortage of actual wizards. Of the few still mentally competent to do magic, some have been turned to stone, and some imprisoned by King Snodd on trumped-up charges. And all this just before a competition with Kazaam's rival, Industrial Magic.

Review

I quite liked the precursor to this volume, The Last Dragonslayer, but it's taken me some time to get on to the next one. (Specifically, well trained by publisher sales, I waited for a good price) It was worth the wait. While there's a bit of unnecessary repetition (same jokes, once or twice), this second overall book is just as funny and well put together as the first. It's not clear to me why Jasper Fforde doesn't get more credit. Not all of his books have been great, and the Thursday Next series went too long, but at his best, he's lots of fun, as this book shows.

Not everything here stands up to deep investigation - Jennifer's vague flirtations with a wizard, for example - but these aren't books about deep investigation. They're about having a good time, and they do that well. There are mysteries, clever spells, moments of (mild) tension, nice characters, and good humor all around.

The only odd thing about the book, in fact, is that it ends with such a definitive 'here's what happened to everyone' epilogue - odd in that I also have the next book in the series. Presumably Fforde hadn't found a buyer for book 3 at the time. I'm glad he did, though. I'm reading that one next. If you're looking for light-hearted fantasy fun, I recommend this book and this series.

If you're looking for light-hearted fantasy fun, I recommend this book and this series.

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