- Thus it was that I, Jennifer Strange, sixteen years next month and loyal subject of King Snodd IV in the Kingdom of Hereford, took on the rights and responsibilities of the last Dragonslayer.
Imagine your standard fantasy setting, some place like Middle-earth. You have your green, pastoral fields, your villages, your sheep, your kings and knights, and your medley of mythical creatures, including, naturally, dragons. Now, imagine that this place didn't stay frozen in medieval stasis, and instead continued to change through the years, and that it now exists at a point in time closer to modern age—the year 2007, to be specific.
The Last Dragonslayer, the first young adult fantasy novel by Jasper Fforde, is set herein. It was published in 2010. Our protagonist is Jennifer Strange, a fifteen year-old indentured servant and acting manager of Kazam, an employment agency for soothsayers and sorcerers in a world where the magic is gradually ebbing away and succumbing to the advent of technology, while the manager Mr. Zambini is away for undisclosed reasons.
One day, a prophecy gets out that she is destined to kill the last surviving dragon, Maltcassion, allowing Consolidated Useful Stuff to take over the dragon's vast domain and exploit it for financial gain. But Jenny doesn't want to be the Last Dragonslayer; in fact, she takes a moral stand against it. The book chronicles her adventures as she confronts the problem-and, naturally, Maltcassion himself.
It was followed with The Song of a Quarkbeast and The Eye of Zoltar. A fourth novel entitled Strange and the Wizard is forthcoming.
It was adapted for televison by Sky1, and broadcast on Christmas Day 2016.
- Aerith and Bob: "My name is Feldspar Axiom Firebreath IV, and this is Colin."
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Maltcassion
- Balkanize Me, exaggerated: The Ununited Kingdoms.
- The Chosen One: Jennifer.
- Cool Car: Instead of a horse, the current Dragonslayer now has a Slayermobile, a Rolls Royce armoured car with sirens, emergency vehicle lights, weapon racks for sword and lance, and the whole studded all over with copper spikes to make it unpalatable to dragons.
- Crystal Dragonslayer Jesus: The Mighty Shandar is regarded this way; Heaven, at least for dragonslayers, is referred to as the Palace of Shandar.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Ununited kingdoms are clearly a parallel version of the UK.
- This is odd, as the book mentions various real-world nations and places such as France and Persia, which exist In-Universe, so this may be a case of Alternate History .
- Informed Ability: Jenny is 16, but apart from a minor romantic subplot (all of maybe three paragraphs) she could as well be 30 or 50.
- In Its Hour of Need: Part of the Last Stand
- Last Stand: The Duke of Brecon pledges one.
- Mega-Corp: Consolidated Useful Stuff, or ConStuff, and their many subsidiaries.
- The Magic Goes Away/The Magic Comes Back: The magic level was once much higher but it's bottomed out and is slowly returning.
- Magitek: Magical parallels for microwave ovens, radar, the phone system and medical scanners are all mentioned. Unfortunately none of these work any more due to the low mana level.
- The Mole: Gordon van Gordon
- Only Sane Employee: Jennifer. Tiger is in training to become this.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons here are intelligent, erudite creatures with an unfortunate habit of torching villages and eating people.
- Overly Long Name/Repetitive Name: Jennifer's assistant Dragonslayer is Gordon van Gordon Gordonson ap Gordon-Gordon of Gordon.
- The Pardon: At the end.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: During the climax, Jenny disguises herself as a Troll War Widow, and the Quark Beast as her baby, in order to sneak past some of King Snodd's guards. The guards are complete idiots though, so it works perfectly.
- Pokémon Speak: The Quarkbeast. "Quark!"
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
- Talk About the Weather: Wizards don't.
- Tank Goodness: Cranked Up to Eleven with King Snodd IV's "landships": five story-high, diesel-powered siege engines on treads. Averted in that for all their destructive capability, they're not terribly effective.
- Think Nothing of It: Lady Mawgon.
- Troll War: Why Jennifer and Tiger are foundlings.
- Unstuck in Time: The Great Zambini.
- The Watson: Tiger Prawns, and many times Jenny herself.