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Actual rating 4.5 stars.Sorry, what did you just say The crustaceans are feeling overly murderous this morning and keep clicking their pincers with homicidal glee, so I didn t hear a thing Mind saying that again, at the top of your puny lungs this time insert massive barnacled intake of air here But Sarah, this is YA, you shout and squeal and shriek YA This Oh, please, don t be silly Of course this isn t YA, this is Jasper Fforde eyeroll I have no idea who this person named YA is, but I can assure you he she they it whatever is NOT the author of this book I know my two ever decaying grey cells are ever decaying, but the Goodreads page for this book says the author is Jasper Fforde and makes absolutely no mention whatsoever of this YA person you re talking about, so QED and stuff See No harm YA, no foul Ha.Sooooooo, this book It is slightly super fun and entertaining and awesome and stuff Because Jasper Fforde s book are always super fun and entertaining and awesome and stuff And also because Jasper Fforde always creates super original, super creative, super witty, super hahahaha, super cool worlds and characters and stuff Even YA ones view spoiler I never wrote this and you never read it hide spoiler The Eye Of Zoltar is the third book in the Chronicles of Kazam series by Welsh author Jasper Fforde Aimed at the Young Adult reader, the heroine is a 16 year old foundling raised by the Blessed Ladies of the Lobster, Jennifer Strange This book is set some weeks after the events of The Song of the Quarkbeast, and while it is not essential to have read that book, it does help with understanding this one, and it, too, is a brilliant read Jennifer is summoned by the Mighty Shandar, who is annoyed with her Dragon saving exploits see book 1 He gives her an ultimatum either she and all the wizards battle against him for the two remaining Dragons sure to end badly for both wizards and Dragons or she finds for him the Eye of Zoltar A bit of research reveals that this legendary magical jewel was last seen by ex sorcerer, Able Quizzler, around the neck of the legendary Sky Pirate Wolff Legend has it that Wolff had tamed a Cloud Leviathan and had a hideout in the Leviathans Graveyard on the mountain Cadair Idris, near Llangurig in the Cambrian Empire, but most believe it highly unlikely Undaunted, Jennifer heads to Cambria with newly minted wizard Perkins in tow, as well as the very spoiled Princess Shazine luckily in not quite recognisable form , entrusted to Jennifer for a bit of character building by Queen Mimosa Their secondary mission is to retrieve the Once Magnificent Boo from the Ransom Clearing House in Cambrianopolis where she is being held for importing a captured Tralfamosaur Colin, the Dragon, will back them up aerially They pose as adventure seeking tourists, Cambria being a popular Jeopardy Tourism destination, and soon acquire the services of young Addie Powell as their guide into a dangerous region where their estimated chance of survival is 50% This instalment features a riddling gravedigger, a trial that lasts less than 20 seconds, quite a lot of human drones, a Bugatti Royale, a succinct lesson in basic economics, and a slug farm someone turns to stone another to rubber, many turn to lead, others are eaten and stuffed and one regenerates into an Australopithecine a hand is lost in battle an ornithologist and wizard give their lives to save others the reader learns about the importance of licquorice, angel feathers, goats and homing snails about the tenacity of Railway companies and the Cambrian penalty for share market manipulation Fforde gives the reader a clever plot with plenty of turns and an ending that leaves ample scope for further books Readers will look forward to the fourth instalment, Strange and the Wizard The illustrations by Roger Mason are excellent Once again, Fforde does not disappoint. UPDATE 10 16 2014 AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME and AWESOME Full review here view spoiler No Not Perkins hide spoiler Well I can say this novel certainly upped the ante In this one Jennifer is sent on a quest in the neighboring Cambrian Empire to look for an artifact that everyone else believes is a legend If she doesn t find it the dragons are doomed The Cambrian Empire prides itself on being dangerous and sells adventure packages for adrenaline seekers Ye buy packages based on the Fatality Index the likely number of people in yer party who are going to die Arrr Scary things in the Cambrian Empire include Tralfamosaur, slugs, a war between railroad companies, and market economics But luckily Addie Powell is their awesome tour guide Seriously I love her and think she is one of the best parts about the novel No major spoilers but this book was a pure whimsical delight I want book four Check out me other reviews at [ FREE PDF ] ♛ The Eye of Zoltar ♬ Orphans Jennifer Strange , Manager Of Kazam Mages, And Apprentice Tiger Prawns , Stand In The Way Of The Mighty Shandar Shandar Must Kill Last Two Dragons For King Of Snodd In Ununited Kingdoms Jen Needs Legendary Jewel The Eye Of Zoltar, Last Seen On Pirate, And To Tutor Spoiled Princess Shazzarine Perilous Journey Has % Fatality Index Typical Jasper Fforde fare quirky, funny and lighthearted Not quite as brilliant as the Thursday Next series, but close I thought this was going to be the last book in this particular series but it did seem to end very much in the air with the opportunity for much to come I hope so I gave this book three stars, even though I really wanted to give it 4 or 5 , as well, there s no easy way to put this the book is a severe downer Don t get me wrong, Fforde s writing is as funny and satirical as in the previous two books in the series, but whereas in those books he balances his morbid humor with a generally up beat ending, in this book at the end several major characters die and the entire UnUK goes through a sudden dramatic and brutal regime change, essentially wiping the slate clean of some awesome world building also, there s a severe lack of quarkbeast or the Kazam crew in general after the first few chapters Frankly, after the first 90 or so pages, I started getting a lurking feeling that this wasn t going to end well, and such proved to be the case It s a sad fact that I told one of my sisters that this book deserved a 5 star rating just for the humor in the first few chapters even if the rest of the book was tripe Strangely no pun intended , it wasn t tripe, it was even all really well written with humor throughout, but it kept pushing further and further away from its predecessors, developing a serious side that just didn t appeal to me, and didn t work Not only did it lessen the fun of the humor but it was hard to fully appreciate the gut wrenchingly weird auto correct side note, Goodreads wanted me to put gut enchantingly instead of gut wrenchingly bizarre tragic moments when characters are inexplicably cracking jokes moments later I truly don t know what Mr Fforde was thinking, this has all the parts of a great book, but between the questionable tonal flip flops the sudden convenient shift in the princess from loathsome egocentric hapless brat to helpful economically knowledgeable self effacing side kick for instance , the unnecessary cliffhanger ending, and the brutal offing of central and well developed characters view spoiler PERKINS hide spoiler I received an advanced readers copy after publication as my first Goodreads giveaway YAY Jennifer Strange, now Court Mystician to the King, is summoned to the palace and asked to help the rude and spoiled princess become a humble ruler Then, the Mighty Shandar threatens to kill the two remaining dragons Feldspar and Colin that Jennifer has spared from extinction in an earlier book unless Jennifer finds the mysterious Eye of Zoltar She and her assembled team, including the princess, have to go to the Cambrian Empire, a place where perilous tourism keeps the national economy stable and everything can kill you Unlikethe first two book were an escalating juggling act, this book is linear, as Jennifer s expedition gains and loses members and fights through travails and dangers than can be described here Highlights were the princess, who was bright and matured during the quest, and the tour guide, Adele.Other things I liked were 1 All Rise, the combined bakery courthouse in Llangurig, 2 Being a clairvoyant is 10% guesswork and 90% probability mathematics, and 3 the grading system for reality Grade I proven non existent , Grade II no proof of existence , Grade III really not very likely at all , Grade IV not very likely, to be honest , and Grade V okay some basis in fact, but still partly unexplained. This is the third in Jasper Fforde s YA series featuring Jennifer Strange, the competent 16 year old running an agency of magicians in the Ununited Kingdom, a highly skewed alternate world UK Jennifer s the kind of girl who takes disasters in stride, which is fortunate because just as she is about to have her first date she and her young man have to alter their plans to act as bait for a crazed dinosaur sized magical creature on a rampage, and almost immediately after they must embark on a quest across the border with a petulant self absorbed princess in tow to find the Eye of Zoltar, though they re be careful to not refer to their expedition as a quest because that would bring on reams of paperwork and substantial fees Romance is not Fforde s strong suit, but brilliant not quite absurd absurdities with frequent enough wisps of truth to make them irresistibly funny are, and that s on full display here I ve been missing the Neanderthals from the early books of Fforde s wonderful Thursday Next series a favorite of mine because it s full of literary references so I was thrilled to find a new Australopithecine character here There s a satisfying ending to Eye of Zoltar, but the good news is it s a to be continued story so there will be at least one of these books packed with nonstop action, strong female characters, unrelenting wit. I love this series It s so punny and ridiculous This book was a particularly great adventure I can t wait for the next one I ll be sad when the series ends The narrator is excellent too.