Oct 242014
 
Review: The Eye of ZoltarThe Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on Apr 10, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Humour, YA
Format: Hardcover from Library
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Orphaned sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, a Mystical Arts Management company that rents out wizards for cash. The Mighty Shandar tells Jennifer that if she finds a mysterious jewel named The Eye of Zoltar, he will spare the dragons he didn't manage to kill in Book One.

It is said the Eye was last seen around the neck of the really very legendary and not at all likely Sky Captain Morgan, who reputedly plunders jetliners from the back of the equally legendary and probably not real Leviathan, a kind of flying manta ray the size of a coach.

Meanwhile, the King and Queen of Snodd thinks that Jennifer, 'a young lady of considerable daring, moral worth and resourcefulness' should take over the tutelage of the hideous spoiled teenage Princess Shazzine, in order that she learns to rule with distinction once the King and Queen are gone.

Jennifer agrees with some reluctance, and together, she, trainee magician Perkins and the princess - cunningly and without any originality disguised as a handmaiden - cross into the neighbouring Cambrian Empire, a dangerous country strewn with peril and a focus for bored daredevils seeking perilous adventures as a form of Jeopardy Tourism.

After procuring a tour guide aged ten named Addie, they venture deep into the heart of the most dangerous place in the most dangerous place in the whole Ununited Kingdoms: The Empty Quarter, within which lies their goal: The legendary Leviathan's Graveyard, inconveniently perched at the very top of the mountain known as Cadir Idris, its lofty summit permanently shrouded in cloud.

Many people have visited the mountain, but none have returned. Perhaps the legend of Sky Pirate Morgan and the Leviathans are true - or perhaps the clouds that obscure the summit hide a far deeper secret. Pretty soon the Princess, Addie, Jennifer and Perkins are fighting the powers of darkness not just for their lives, but for everything they know and love...

Before I wrote this review, I looked up what I said for book #2 in the series, and realized most of my thoughts for this book are the same. This is a super fun, very entertaining read.

Picking up not long after the end of book 2, this story sees Jennifer headed to another country on a quest, but don’t call it a quest because that would involve paperwork. She’s accompanied by an eclectic cast of characters, which shrinks and grows as the story progresses. She encounters one adventure after another, each one stranger and more entertaining than the last.

With such a light hearted feel to the story, it is quite remarkable to still see such well developed characters and plot. This is a solid story, with fully formed personalities. It just happens to take place in a crazy magical world where literally anything could happen.

I really liked this latest book in the series, and with the announcement of one final book in the series to be published in 2015 (hopefully), I can’t wait to see what the final adventure holds. This is a very fun series that is sure to delight any fantasy loving readers, young or old.

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