Something Rotten, by Jasper Fforde (25 November — 28 November)

Something Rotten is the last of the first four books of the Thursday Next series… I figure that since Jasper took a few years off, I can take a break now, too. 🙂

This was definitely a great conclusion for the set… basically, a whole bunch of odd things that happened in the previous books were recalled and sometimes explained here, and, of course, even more odd things happened!

It’s a hard book to summarize, though, because so much of what happens here is tied to things that happened in other books — a fictional character comes to power, Thursday’s husband is reactualized (or is he?), Thursday’s friend’s wife is an assassin out to kill Thursday… yeah.

The new things in the story are a plot by the aforementioned fictional leader to convince England to hate Denmark, going so far as to claim that Volvos are both unsafe and Danish; Thursday’s acquisition of the Swindon Mallets croquet team which needs to win the SuperHoop to take down the Goliath Corporation; and that Thursday needs to find a new Shakespeare to rewrite Hamlet after its characters wreak havoc on the piece.

Basically, if you’ve liked the previous books, read this one. But do not under any circumstances read this first.

Rating: 7.5/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2004)

The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde (22 November — 25 November)

The Well of Lost Plots is the third book in the wonderful Thursday Next series in which our hero, Thursday, vanquishes foes who seek to upend literature.

The previous book focused on time travelling; this one is mostly about book travelling. Thursday has entered the world of Jurisfiction, those in charge of policing the fiction shelves both published and in progress, and is at the same time taking a respite from the Goliath Corporation who are still out to get her. She and her pregnant tummy are hiding out in an unpublished book called Caversham Heights until Thursday can figure out how to get her husband back — if she can remember him.

Yeah, it’s pretty much that confusing. Thursday is also out to solve the mystery of several dead and missing Jurisfiction agents and requite the love of two generic characters. I love it.

It wasn’t quite up to the standard of the first two books — a little too much babying of the reader with unnecessary repetition, and also a few too many typos! — but it was definitely intriguing enough (along with those two books) to cause me to move the next book, Something Rotten up to my new current read. Then I’m going to have to take a break from all the alternate universe-ing, I think. 😀

Rating: 7/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2003)

Lost in a Good Book, by Jasper Fforde (8 November)

This is the second in the Thursday Next series of awesomeness, and I must say this one is even better than the first.

After sending away a Goliath Corporation employee to live in a copy of The Raven, the company is understandably upset and asks Thursday to go back and get him out, please. She refuses, and Goliath goes back in time to kill off her new husband before he can become three years old. If Thursday will go get their employee, they’ll bring back her husband. She’s sold. Unfortunately, her uncle Mycroft has conveniently retired away with his Prose Portal and Thursday has to figure out how to get into the book herself and also figure out why a bunch of weird coincidences keep cropping up at inconvenient moments.

The book was great and mostly easy to understand in spite of all the weird time-travelling and odd coincidences. I really love how everything ties in with books, even when the books in question are ones I haven’t read yet (but should! I’ll get to it!). Definitely a must-read if you’re into befuddling plots and funny talks with Great Expectations characters.

Rating: 8.5/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2002)

The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde (28 August − 1 September)

The premise behind this book is an alternate universe in which weird things happen regularly − time gets out of joint, extinct animals can be cloned, religious fighting is replaced by “Who was the real Shakespeare” fighting. As in this universe, the government has a lot of bureaus to control its constituents, among these SpecOps 27, the literary division.

Our protagonist, Thursday Next, is an operative in this group who gets lured into a big investigation by the fact that she’s seen the bad guy involved, Acheron Hades − few others have because he doesn’t resolve on film. He is out to make a name for himself by stealing an original manuscript to Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit as well as a machine called a Prose Portal invented by Thursday’s uncle, Mycroft. With it he can enter original manuscripts, kill a character or two, and completely change every copy of whatever story he’s gotten into.

Thursday works to rescue her uncle, restore a failed relationship, and save Jane Eyre from destruction, all while battling the forces of evil in Hades and government corruption.

I really liked this book. Fforde makes the alternate universe seem very real with little details (an ongoing Crimean War, Jehovah’s Witness-like “Baconians”) and writes entertaining characters. A couple of times, when time-travel and manuscript-revising were involved, I thought too hard about how things could actually work and lost the story a bit, but otherwise it was great. This is the first in a series of Thursday Next novels, and I will definitely be looking for the second the next time I hit the library.

Rating: 8/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2001)