Sunday, March 9, 2014

'The Song of the Quarkbeast'

In January 2013, I reviewed a children's book written by one of my favorite authors, Jasper Fforde, author of the amazing book, 'The Last Dragonslayer'.   The second book in the series was published late last year, but because Jasper is a popular guy, it seemed to take me forever to get 'The Song of the Quarkbeast' from the library.

It was worth the wait (although I would have been happier if I had had it much sooner).

Reading about the further adventures of Jennifer Strange (foundling, acting manager of Kazam Mystical Arts, and friend to all-downtrodden-creatures) made me feel as if it were 'old home week'.  Jennifer reminds me of another of Jasper's most remarkable heroines, Thursday Next.  They are both very brave, very smart, and very funny, while most around them are incredibly silly.

Yes, silly.  Fforde's silly dialogue and situations abound, and he has a gift of translating them for the younger crowd.  

Magical power is finally on the rise, and King Snodd IV of the Ununited Kingdom realizes that whoever controls magic controls the world.  But one person stands between Snodd and his diabolical plans:  Jennifer Strange.  By rigging a bridge-building contest between the magicians of Kazam and the magicians of iMagic, Snodd and his cohorts are certain they will soon control all magic.  

The characters are so finely and unforgettably written that it isn't hard to immerse yourself in the second book.  And there is even a touch of romance that is at once sweet, yet frustrating.  

But it is the dialogue that is most remembered by this little Book Hog.  Full of silliness and jokes, I found myself laughing out loud many times.  Fforde has a definite grasp on his audience, and while I was in the midst of reading the 'Thursday Next' series once again, it was a real pleasure to switch to his new series.  I didn't miss a step.

And neither did Jasper Fforde, Master of all Silliness.

'The Song of the Quarkbeast', published by Harcourt Publishing (a division of Houghton Mifflin), is available at your local library and independent bookstores.  

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