The Eye of Zoltar, The Chronicles of Kazam, Book Three
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
**Warning: double ‘fs’ ahead!**
This is the third installment in this series and the only disappointing thing about the book is that I have to wait until late 2015 to read the ffinal book. Unlike the two previous books which could stand alone, The Eye of Zoltar has a definite cliffhanger – and boy, what a cliffhanger! Things couldn’t be more dire ffor Kazam. But I am getting ahead of myself.
• Jennifer Strange, now 16-year-old ffoundling who was sold into indentured servitude and who runs the Kazam Mystical Arts Management in place of the missing Great Zambini and who is challenged by the Mighty Shandar to ffind the Eye of Zoltar or he will destroy the 2 dragons, Colin and Ffeldspar, kind-of/sort-of offspring of the Great Maltcassion from the ffirst book.
Confused? Not yet? Well, just hang on…
• Perkins, 18-year-old wizard who may or may not have a crush on Jennifer but takes her on a ffirst date, which turns into a mission to recapture a runaway Tralfamosaur ( a very large magically-created creature who loves to eat anything and everything in its way) and who ultimately accompanies Jennifer on her Eye of Zoltar mission (Perkins, not the tralfamosaur).
These are the continuing characters that are relegated to secondary status because they are in the beginning and the end of the book and only occasionally in the middle. You may already be ffamiliar with them.
• Tiger, a ffoundling like Jennifer who is working off his indentured servitude with Kazam and who runs the place when Jennifer is not there
• Wizard Moobin, one of the more powerful wizards at Kazam and upon whom Jennifer relies for sage-like wisdom
• Lady Mawgon, a sorceress who is as grumpy as she is powerful
• Kevin Zipp, a precog – someone who sees the ffuture, but only in bits and pieces that don’t make any sense until the last minute; for instance, he tells Jennifer that if she ever ffinds herself on the shoulders of a giant, and she needs to take a leap of ffaith, go ffor it!(Turns out she actually used that advice.)
• The Mighty Shandar, greatest wizard of all time and it turns out he is quite a piece of work, meaning he is a bully and unlikeable
• The Once Magnificent Boo, fformerly the greatest sorceress of all time who ends up being held for ransom in the Cambrian Empire
These ffolks are new to the series, and quite interesting! Also, not all will make it into book ffour! (But I won’t tell who will or won’t, sorry!)
• Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess Shazza Blossom Hadridd Snodd, whose parents are King Snodd and Queen Mimosa of the Kingdom of Snodd where Jennifer and company reside; the princess is a snooty teenager who is punished by her mother (a fformer sorceress) in the worst possible way!
• Laura Scrubb, Royal Dog Mess Removal Operative Third Class, a servant in King Snodd’s household who is as plain and unremarkable physically as Shazza is beautifully dazzling.
• Rupert Curtis Osbert Chippenworth III of the nation of Ffinancia, aka “Curtis,” another thoroughly unlikeable person who joins Jennifer on her non-quest search ffor the Eye.
• Addie Powell, 12-year-old girl who guides Jennifer’s party through the Cambrian Empire and rates their survival rate through the dangerous lands at ffity percent%. To increase the odds of Jennifer and her group surviving, Addie recruits several more people to join the party (ffor collateral damage).
• Ignatius Catflap and Ralph D. Nalor, Curtis’ unwitting buddies on the expedition
• Wilson, fformer kidnap victim, rescued by Addie, who is an ornithologist searching ffor Cambrian birds (but since anything that fflies in banned and shot down on sight, he hasn’t ffound too many)
• Gabby, strange young man who happens upon the party in the earlier stages of their journey and makes a reappearance later on, saving Jennifer’s life on more than one occasion.
Now are you confused? This is definitely one of those books that needs to read several times to get all the subtle and complex details Mr. Fforde puts in. And, as a Fforde ffan, I loved it!
If you enjoy a good yarn, a bit wackiness, and magic, this is the book – no – the series ffor you!
Rating: Ffive paws ffor ffantastic adventure, ffunnily –named characters, and another ffantabulous Fforde book!
(What’s with all the double ‘Ffs’ you ask? Look at the author’s last name and tell me you can’t ffigure it out!
alternate book cover
Jennifer’s orange VW
half-track used by Jennifer in Cambrian Empire