Title: The Song of the Quarkbeast
Author: Jasper Fforde
Pub info: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013
Genre: MG fantasy, 289 pp
Having just finished The Last Dragonslayer, I had to move on to The Song of the Quarkbeast, the second book in Fforde's Chronicles of Kazam series. It was just as much fun as the first.
Long ago, magic began to fade, and the underemployed magicians of Kazam Mystical Arts Management have been forced to take any work their sixteen-year-old acting manager, Jennifer Strange, can scare up. But things are about to change. Magical power is finally on the rise, and King Snodd IV, of the Ununited Kingdoms knows that he who controls magic controls everything. Only one person stands between Snodd and his plans for a magic-grab--and that's Jennifer.Status: finished 3/19/14
Yet even smart and sensible Jennifer would have trouble against these powers-that-be. The king and his cronies will do anything to succeed--including ordering a just-might-be-rigged contest between Kazam and iMagic, Kazam's only competitor in the magic business. With underhanded shenanigans afoot, how can Kazam possibly win?
Whatever happens, one this is certain: Jennifer Strange will not relinquish the noble powers of magic without a fight.
Last week I reviewed the first book in the Chronicles of Kazam, and this novel is a fantastic follow-up. With the world-building securely in place and our already-beloved characters ready for action, this book proceeds more smoothly than #1 and gives us a bit more substance to chew on alongside the humor. There's plenty of action, too, if not quite as much magic. And I can't lie that I was overjoyed to see the word Quarkbeast in the title, considering some plot points from Book #1 that I won't reveal here. I loved learning more about Kazam's wizards as well as the fascinating origins of the Quarkbeast itself.
And here's a perhaps oft-overlooked plus: Jasper writes wonderful, believable, strong female characters. While that perhaps shouldn't be a big deal, it is--because not enough male writers can pull it off. Kudos!
Finally, one of the things I love best about these books is the extent to which the reader's imagination is engaged: It's up to you to imagine exactly what a Quarkbeast looks like, and yet I have a clear picture of it in my mind, just like I know precisely what Jennifer, Tiger, and the Transient Moose look like. And I love them all.
About Jasper Fforde:
Visit Jasper's very busy website here for fun stuff and news about his books and appearances. His Twitter page is here, and you can find him here on Facebook.
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