And so I’ve started yet another Jasper Fforde series. I have yet to finish one, either because of my own reading preferences or because, well—actually none of his series are finished. He keeps dangling a ninth Thursday Next (I still need to read seven and eight), the third Nursery Crime book will seemingly never be written (why), we seem to never be getting Shades of Grey‘s promised two sequels, and this one has a fourth book that who even knows when it’s coming. So even if I finish reading all his books, I will not be FINISHED. Wait, is the latest book part of a series? If not, at last some closure! I tell you what, my (not at all hyperbolic) OCD does NOT like this one bit.
Jennifer Strange is a foundling who lives in an alternate England where the UK is actually the unUK (aka the Ununited Kingdoms). We actually don’t find out how many kingdoms there are for sure, but there are a lot, because this is a Jasper Fforde book, and satirical wackiness is his thing. Also a thing in this world is magic, which has grown right alongside commerce and industrialization. Actually, more accurate to say “dwindled.” Magic users have been steadily losing their power for decades. Where Jennifer comes in is that she’s indentured to a house of magic, which she runs because magic users can’t be bothered to run their own lives and think about things like practical details so they usually live together where somebody else can do those things for them. She’s very no-nonsense and mature for her age (we’re told most foundlings are).
The plot of the book kicks off when multiple seers predict that the last dragon will be killed next Sunday at noon. This starts off a frenzy. By law, when the force field surrounding the dragon lands goes down, anyone can claim it. Jennifer gets mixed up in it, against her will, and ends up proving herself savvy and compassionate. She’s a fun character to follow. I always enjoy Fforde’s no-nonsense protagonists because they make such nice foils for the ridiculousness that usually surrounds them, and this book is no exception, though the humor is toned down slightly due to this not being an adult book like the usual stuff I read from him.
I will definitely be continuing this series. It was a fun way to pass a couple of hours without having to really turn my brain on.
CBR Bingo: YOUTHS!