The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
I like it. Classy and simple, with a twist (dragon scales instead of road). There are other covers, none of which are nearly as good.
In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.
Yep, the second volume’s been out for a while in GB, but it won’t be here till September. I mean, I’d rather have the second Shades of Grey novel, but I’ll take this for now.
Fforde’s signature style is fully present here: slightly alternate universe, strangeness and oddness of all kinds, and puns & literary jokes sprinkled throughout. A “fun read” for smug educated people, is what I’m saying. I love that kind of thing, because I’m a Ravenclaw. Gryffindors (except maybe Hermione) probably find it insufferable.
I mentioned literary humor and puns, right?
Capable, Smart Female Protagonist! Despite the title, Jennifer isn’t really a warrior. But she’s smart and capable and in-charge.
It’s always refreshing (especially with today’s glut of Bella-Swan-a-likes) to read a smart and capable heroine who is not defined by her relationship with a boy/vampire/werewolf/fallen angel/what-have-you. I really liked the way the plot turned out; an ending/solution that worked, but was not what was expected. Also, my friend Lindsey suggested a theory concerning Jennifer’s origins, which:
Borrowed, because I am poor and live in a small apartment.