Saturday, April 7, 2012

Read The Song of the Quarkbeast (Jasper Fforde) last week

Read The Song of the Quarkbeast last week. Its the second book of the Young Adult fantasy trilogy The Last Dragonslayer (also the name of the first book). It was a fun read. There were good mystery adventure elements as the hero, a 16 year old orphan fends off the predations of both the government and a competing magic company.
There is a good balance between fun gags, quirky characters and word play with a 'believable' fast-paced plot with sympathetic good guys and believable bad guys. Much of the humor in the series comes from the hokey way magic is codifed/described and how little respected it is despite the amazing things it is capable of. This is a world where magic carpets are only used to deliver pizza and levitation is only good for landscaping and parking control. This is set against a despotic government that shackles magic users in bureaucracy and oppressive laws restricting the use of magic.
The King stepped up to the royal microphone and gave a long rambling speech that made reference to how proud he was that the hard toil of a blindly trustful citizenry kept him and his family in the lap of luxury while war widows begged on the street, and how he thanked providence that he had been blessed to rule over a nation whose inexplicable tolerance towards corrupt despots was second to none.
The corrupt government would be dark and oppressive if it wasn't also so ineffectual, populated by bumbling bureaucrats and dim-witted aristocrats. Its funny stuff that serves up some social commentary along with the usual plucky kid outsmarting the adults you usually see in YA novels.
I introduced them all and Miss Shard said something about how it was ‘entirely convivial’ and ‘felicitous’ to meet them on ‘this auspicious occasion’, and in return they shook hands but remained wary. It pays to distance oneself from clients, especially ones who use too many long words.
Despite the Young Adult nature of the book it is always fun to read an author who enjoys playing with language.
I bid him goodbye and then took the main road towards Colonel Bloch-Draine’s country estate at Holme Lacy.
Throw in a little light romance and a couple of hokey puns and you have a thoroughly pleasant read. I look forward to the next book in the series The Return of Shandar.

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