The Song of the Quarkbeast: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 2
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Song of the Quarkbeast is a clever follow-up to The Last Dragonslayer and continues its exploration of magic hobbled by bureaucracy. Its pace is a bit slower and the narrative a bit more talky than most books of this type -- not necessarily a bad thing, but readers should be prepared. The novel contains very mild violence (menacing trolls, a punch in the eye), virtually no objectionable language ("piss off" is the strongest utterance), and only the faintest hint of sexual content (a growing crush between two teenagers).
What's the story?
Sixteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam Mystical Arts Management, keeping track of a motley team of magicians and wizards who've been reduced to unblocking drains, rewiring homes, and doing gardening chores by the bureaucracy that regulates their activities. With magical power on the rise once again, King Snodd IV of the Ununited Kingdoms wants to corner the market on it. Nothing, and no one, but Jennifer and her compatriots stands in his way. Challenged to a winner-takes-all magical contest, the Kazam crew has its work cut out for it, especially given the opponents' gifts for trickery.
Is it any good?
THE SONG OF THE QUARKBEAST maintains the absurd humor and leisurely pace of the previous volume in this series, but the result's a bit more surefooted and engaging. Author Jasper Fforde doesn't seem to feel the need to hit the jokes quite so hard this time, leaving room for Jennifer's relationships with her friends and foes to develop. Quarkbeast feels less like the middle volume of a tightly plotted trilogy than another enjoyable opportunity to explore a cleverly conceived fantasy world.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about different approaches to magic and wizardry in literature and popular culture. What sets the system of magic in The Song of the Quarkbeast apart from that in the Harry Potter books, for example, or Ursula LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea?
How do bureaucracies help or hinder governments? Are they consciously designed to be obstructive, or do they just grow that way?
Why is "fair play" important? Are there times when people should break the rules?
|Topics:||Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs|
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Publication date:||September 3, 2013|
|Number of pages:||304|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||10 - 14|
|Available on:||Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle|