It’s been two weeks since Jennifer Strange (the last dragonslayer) and Princess Shazine (still stuck in the body of the royal dog mess cleaner-upper) returned to Snodd to discover that Zambini Towers had been destroyed by a powerful thermowizidrical blast. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Troll War V had not only begun in their absence, but it had also come to a middle and decided to carry on. The surviving population of the UnUnited Kingdoms had fled south and taken asylum in the Kingdom of Cornwall, and the only thing standing between them and certain death is the Button Trench. With time quickly running out, can Jennifer, Princess Shazine, and the surviving residents of Zambini Towers figure out how to beat the trolls and save the UnUnited Kingdoms?
With his final instalment of The Last Dragonslayer series, Fforde has shown that his well of weird and wacky is far from drying up. The book is crammed with characters old and new, and with storylines being tied up neatly with a bow. For me, it was too crammed. I’m not sure if it would have worked better over two books, but as it is it feels rather rushed and doesn’t give each individual plotline the attention it deserves, resulting in certain revelations not really making that much of an impact.
Without letting spoilers slip it’s difficult to say, but there’s at least one major part that just feels totally over the top and unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, the book is still eminently readable, it just doesn’t live up to its potential. I’ve learned to expect a lot from Jasper Fforde, and this time he just fell a little short.
You’ll definitely need to have read the full series so far to make sense of The Great Troll War, or you won’t have a clue what’s going on. Even if you have read all the preceding books, unless you’ve got an eidetic memory, I’d recommend re-reading them before attempting to get into this one – my memory certainly wasn’t up to the job, and I’d only read The Eye of Zoltar three months previously. Considering that there’s been a seven year wait for this book, you’ll most likely need a reminder.
I received an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publication date – 9th September 2021