A few months back I finished the 4th Thursday Next novel Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde, which finished off the first story arc. Instead of doing a review for book 4 in a series I haven't reviewed on this site before and one that has been out for a few years I thought I'd show some love for the series on a whole and in turn hopefully entice people to try it out.
I admittedly got on the Jasper Fforde bandwagon very late since his first book The Eyre Affair came out a little more than 7 years ago. I was introduced to the series by a good friend about 2.5 years ago who told me I would devour them and that they only get better. How right he was. However, the first book in the series The Eyre Affair ended up sitting on my shelf for 6 months until I finally cracked. I'm not much of a Jane Eyre fan so I was a bit thrown off by the title and the fact that the books are pushed to the literary crowd rather than the fantasy. The series now stands as one of my favorites and the font of ideas that Fforde manages to fill a chapter with is often more imaginative than most authors devout in half of their books.
Fforde has accomplish an amazing feat by seamlessly combining a work full of literary references, good and bad puns, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, and Fantasy elements and yet they all meld into something very comprehensible and an absolute joy to read. The series arc is also clearly well planned as seemingly insignificant things are mention in early books only to be pivotal later on. I can also attest that the series only gets better as Fforde lets loose his imagination. Fforde is kind of like a classy version of Christopher Moore. So if you like your books with a touch of humor look no further than Thursday Next, which oozes funny goodness with heart and lots of action. Read on to learn more about this series.
The Eyre Affair - In which we Meet Thursday, her world, and her enemies
Neanderthals have been brought back by science as well as dodos that are no longer extinct and are common pets, which includes Thursday's lovable Pickwick. Thursday's Uncle Mycroft is a genius inventor. His invention is the Prose Portal which allows people to enter books. There is an evil Corporation fronted by a character aptly named Jack Schitt as well as a super villain of sorts which Thursday must capture or he will use the Prose Portal to change the ending of a literary classic, which cannot be allowed. Thursday also lends a hand to a Werewolf hunter for extra cash, who seems to pop-up in every book. All in all this is a splendid introduction to Thursday and even through all the oddness connects you to Thursday as a strong and smart character. The world building is immense for such a short book and you get many inklings of things to come.
Lost in a Good Book - In which Thursday loses someone important and travels to Bookworld
The Goliath Corp is upset with Thursday. She finds out that their is a police force of sorts that look after books called Jurisfiction who live in Bookworld made up of characters from books and a few humans. Thursday is under investigation for possibly changing something while in a book. This opens the Thursday Next series wide as characters from books come to life and it also goes into the psychology of book characters as they are forced to replay the same roles over and over and what they are doing when no one is reading them. We also learn about creatures that ruin books like locusts call grammarsites and a few other related creatures. The best part though is visiting the Great Library where all books ever written are housed. This is truly a book lovers dream come true. Catching the literary references will be half the fun as many of things brought up are not strictly literary as Fforde brings in other genres such as creating his own Darth Vader-like character.
The Well of Lost Plots - In which Thursday helps Jurisfiction and battles another super villain type
Something Rotten - In which all things are answered, well most things
Whoops! I almost forgot to mention the importance of toast. Well, it is important and don't forget it lest the Toast Marketing Board come after you for defamation.
Summation - In which I discuss other stuff by Fforde
Fforde has a second series starring Thursday and a relative of hers, which is already begun with the aptly named Thursday Next: First Among Sequels. And than there is the spin-off series of sorts called Nursery Crimes starting with The Big Over Easy followed by The Fourth Bear with at least one more title planned. The Nursery Crimes series takes place in one of Thursday regular haunts, but from what I know you needn't have read the Thursday books at all to enjoy them. Also, the first Nursery Crime book was originally written prior to the first Thursday book but later adapted to fit in. Oh, and Fforde has an entirely new series starting this year with Shades of Grey, which stands apart from the Thursday Next universe. Lastly, check out Jasper Fforde's site which has loads of info.
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