Tag Archives: thursday next

First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde (unabridged audiobook read by Emily Gray; 12.75 hrs on 11 discs): Several years have passed since we last checked in with Thursday Next, and now she is the mother of three children, the eldest a despondent teen. SpecOps was disbanded and she swore off the book world, but still works as both a literary detective and for Jurisfiction in secret. Her latest assignment for the latter is training the latest recruit: herself. That is, herself as portrayed in the novels based on her life. Meanwhile, Pride and Prejudice is on the verge of being turned into a reality show, highly dangerous cheeses are being traded on the black market, and time travel may not actually have been invented after all. In short, it’s the same sort of silliness we’ve come to expect from this series, though for some reason it felt kind of lacking compared to previous installments. I think not enough was resolved, with too many elements tossed in, presumably to be dealt with in future books. I don’t need each book in a series to stand on its own, but several scenes felt like they should have been delayed until the book in which they are actually addressed. Of course, this all means I’ll probably read the next book as soon as possible, just to find out how it all turns out. If it all turns out in the next book, anyway – the Minotaur’s been hanging out, unresolved, for two books and over a decade in story years now, so my hopes for imminent and thorough resolution are not high.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (unabridged audiobook read by Emily Gray; 12.75 hrs on 11 discs): With every book I’ve read in this series, I’ve said the same thing: this was fun but I doubt I’ll continue on with the series. Well, this is the fourth book and I give up. I’m going to keep reading Thursday Next books because they’re absolutely ridiculous and they make me laugh. This time around, Thursday is back in the real world, where she has to deal with fictional would-be dictators, semi-dead presidents, a husband who may not actually exist, violent cricket matches, 13th century mystics, a perpetually dithering Hamlet, and – most daunting of all – motherhood. The whole thing is just marvelous. My favorite part was “Avoid the Question Time,” which is pretty much what all political interviews and debates actually are but won’t admit it. Nothing is too outlandish to show up in these stories, and I can’t wait for the next book.

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde (unabridged audiobook read by Elizabeth Sastre; 12 hrs on 10 discs): Every time I read another Thursday Next book I figure that’s the last one I’m going to bother with. Not because they’re bad – they’re actually rather charming – but because there are so many literary references that I feel I’m not really appreciating them as much as I could be. And I don’t want to bother with the prerequisite reading to catch up. Anyway, this is the third book in the series, and Thursday has settled in an unpublished novel for the duration of her pregnancy. At the same time, she is training to become a Jurisfiction agent, dealing with the memories of her eradicated husband being erased, and raising two young generics trying to figure out what kind of characters they will become. She is visited by her grandmother (and it just occurred to me that it was never fully explained just how old Granny managed to travel into the book world), deals with footnote spam, and attempts to solve the murder of several of her fellow agents. The whole thing is actually quite a lot of fun, and there were points when I laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all. I don’t know that I’ll necessarily continue the series, but I won’t rule it out either.

I would like to note that the unpublished novel in which Thursday stays is no longer unpublished – the story eventually became The Big Over Easy. I actually think my having read that book first made this one more enjoyable, since I knew the nursery rhyme characters would sooner or later be infiltrating the generic detective story. It was also fun to see the plainer origins of the often zany characters from that series.

A note on the audio: This may be better in paper form, since so many of the jokes are in the forms of footnotes and misspellings, but Sastre was up to the challenge and I never felt confused.

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Lost in a Good Book (unabridged audiobook read by Elizabeth Sastre; 11.5 hrs on 10 discs): This is the second book in the Thursday Next series, and while familiarity with Jane Eyre was essential for enjoyment of the first one, I didn’t feel the same flailing desire for a list of prerequisites to understand this one. It deals a lot more with time travel and the perils of paradox, coincidence, and general literary shenanigans. Sure, an appreciation for Austen, Dickens, and the Brontes will certainly enhance your experience (mostly in the form of understanding more of the jokes), but I’m far from the world’s biggest Brit Lit fan and I still got a good chuckle from time to time. That said, I don’t see myself going out of my way to read the rest of the series. I suspect I don’t fall into the target audience quite neatly enough.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: Now here is a story for literature buffs. Thursday Next works as a kind of literary detective in a world gone mad for books. Kids trade character cards, author homes are top tourist destinations, and (my personal favorite) some theaters put on a regular performance of Richard III a la Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with audience participation. That last had me giggling. The story is clever and the characters amusing, but I think I would have gotten a lot more out of it had I read the prerequisite novels. Specifically having read Jane Eyre and Martin Chuzzlewit would have helped immensely, but even just a penchant for 18th century literature (Dickens, Bronte, Austin, et al) would have been a huge advantage. After all, it is for those fans that this story was really written. Though there is a whole series of Thursday Next books, I think my next Fforde book will probably be one of his fairy tale retellings. I already know those stories.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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