Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde is the sequel to The Last Dragonslayer and part of what is now being called The Chronicles of Kazam. (It wasn’t called this when the first book came out. Maybe he hadn’t decided it’d be a series yet.) This is my second Fforde book this year and it’s always a delight. Almost always, I haven’t been able to finish the latest Thursday Next book yet. But I think that series is a little tired after so many books. The Chronicles of Kazam, though, is just getting started. Much like his Nursery Crime series, this one features his wit and whimsy front and center. The main character is Jennifer Strange, a foundling who grew up in an orphanage and was essentially sold to Kazam to run their magic business. She’s 16, tenacious and terribly smart. She’s a great female lead and I can’t wait to read more of her adventures as the series continues. (In the first book, she was the titular Last Dragonslayer.)
Magic is its own character in the book as evil forces try to steal control over all the magic in the land. Sorcerers already have to have a license, but if the King and his evil accomplice get their way, they’ll own all of it. Jennifer can’t let this happen, of course, and fights against all odds to prevent it. There’s a moose ghost, an unidentifiable being called the Magnificent X, quarkbeasts, bridge building, mystery, intrigue and trolls. It’s quite a lovely and delightful romp, an easy read and more of what I love from Jasper Fforde.