by Jasper Fforde
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2014. 405 pages.
The Eye of Zoltar continues the adventures of Jennifer Strange, young manager of Kazam Mystical Arts Management.
The first chapter catches the reader up without really spoiling anything. Here’s her summary of the way things stand:
I now manage forty-five barely sane sorcerers at Kazam, only eight of whom have a legal permit to perform magic. If you think wizards are all wise purveyors of the mystical arts and have sparkling wizidrical energy streaming from their fingertips, think again. They are for the most part undisciplined, infantile, argumentative, and infuriating; their magic only works when they really concentrate, which isn’t that often, and misspellings are common. But when it works, a well-spelled feat of magic is the most wondrous thing to behold, like your favorite book, painting, music, and movie all at the same time, with chocolate and a meaningful hug from someone you love thrown in for good measure. So despite everything, it’s a good business in which to work. Besides, there’s rarely a dull moment.
So that’s me. I have an orphaned assistant named Tiger Prawns, I am now Dragon Ambassador to the World, and I have a pet Quarkbeast at least nine times as frightening as the most frightening thing you’ve ever seen.
My name is Jennifer Strange. Welcome to my world.
The story was good for an airplane read. As usual, it’s bizarre, strange, and quirky. Despite being the third book, loose ends are not tied up — the story will continue.
In this one, Jennifer Strange travels with Perkins to the perilous Cambrian Empire to hunt for the famed Eye of Zoltar — an artifact of great power, but one that can also turn the holder into lead. She must bring along the princess of Snodd — who was transferred into the body of a servant girl to teach her a lesson.
This book is good if you’re in the mood for silly and bizarre — or if you’re simply hooked on Jasper Fforde. There is some deadly peril going on, and more actual deaths than I was comfortable with (though the reader and the participants were warned about the 50% survival rate) but there’s always something to laugh about along the way.
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Source: This review is based on an Advance Reader Copy I got at an ALA conference.
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