Okay, so I went on a vacation and then got a cold and in the meantime I finished a SERIES of books. Now, I could list them all out in a strange sort of backwards posting like I did for the Phoenix Guards one, but that kind of annoyed me so I’m going to throw them into one MEGA POST!
Here we go, grab a tea and a scone or something because this is going to be long.
Lost In A Good Book is the second in the Thursday Next series that started with The Eyre Affair (I did that one back near the beginning of the year). Our protagonist, Ms. Next, lives in a world that’s evolved parallel to ours – where ducks are something theoretical and dodos have been brought back from extinction. She works in Special Operations (SpecOps) as a Literary Detective – responsible for checking out things like forged Shakespeare works and other literary crimes.
Her first book brought her into contact with the Goliath Corporation, the megalomanical world conglomerate that wants to own and control everything and, surprisingly enough, they aren’t through with Thursday yet. In Lost In A Good Book, Goliath is back to its old tricks of manipulation and has “time-slipped” Landon, Thursday’s husband, in order to “convince” Thursday to a) retrieve their agent from The Raven where he was left after the last round of adventures and b) reveal the secret to entering books in the first place. In order to get her husband back, Thursday not only learns to read herself into books, but also joins up with Jurisfiction – the quasi-police force inside books. Oh, and there’s also mammoths, a jar of lentils which indicate entropy levels, Ms Havisham, the Cat Formerly Known As Cheshire and a new enemy who has the ability to make you forget things to contend with. Seems that Thursday’s got her hands full.
Thursday’s back; preggers and tired and in need of some down time. It’s hard when everyone is out to get you, you know? What’s a girl to do except join the Character Exchange Program and have a little downtime in the Well of Lost Plots – a place where book ideas are made and die. Still a member of Jurisfiction, but on the lamb from Goliath, Thursday fills in for “Mary”, a supporting character in a crime story that’s not being read and not really going anywhere. Meanwhile, she can’t help feel like there’s something or someone that she should be remembering but it’s probably not that important, right?
All is not well in literary world, however. First, people are being murdered, the Minotaur has escaped and “UltraWord” (the newest version of the Story Operating System) seems to have some flaws. There are also some issues with the Generics (“blank” characters, just waiting for spots in a story) and the nursery rhyme and Oral Tradition folks aren’t happy. Looks like this isn’t going to be much of a vacation after all.
It’s time to get out of the book and back into the real world. And this time, Thursday’s not alone. She’s bringing her son Friday, Pickwick the dodo and her son Alan… and Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark. Which is probably good, seeing as how Ophelia isn’t happy with her current role and Hamlet’s wishy washy inability to make decisions and she’s busy making some changes.
Thursday is determined to get Landon back this time and she gets her time traveling, half non-existent father to help out. Amongst her mother’s incessant baking, Thursday manages to get entangled in the Hamlet mess, a disgusting prophet, a gaggle of Shakespeare clones and the world’s most important cricket match. The Minotaur is still holding a grudge and Landon keeps flickering in and out of existence – just another day in the life…
And thus the first is the end. Or something. Or maybe not! But we are to the last in the series. Thursday and Landon and their kids, Friday, Tuesday and Jenny are all living mostly happy lives – Tuesday is a genius, Jenny is at a slumber party somewhere, and Friday is your typical surly teenager. The problem is, Friday is supposed to be out inventing time travel or something and his parents can’t get him to get up before noon.
Thursday has left SpecOps and is running a carpet business with some of her old colleagues… except that the carpet business is a front for SpecOps work. Which is a front for Jurisfiction work. Which is just as crazy as ever. This time, Thursday is responsible for training some new recruits: Thursday1-4 and Thursday5. See, Thursday licensed her story and now there are books where she is a character… just let your brain bend a bit and accept it. And don’t worry, Goliath is still lurking and the Minotaur is still trying to kill her.
So, once again it’s up to Thursday to save the day. Can she stop Thursday1-4 from exacting revenge on her creator, can she help Landon write a great book and can they make Friday actually get motivated to fulfill his destiny?
I told you it was a lot of words. Okay, here’s my wrap up. I love these books. Fforde is painfully clever and twists and turns a story in such a charming way that you can’t help but want to read these back to back. I put the last one down and really wished for another one. Some things that I thought were completely genius (in no particular order)
1) the idea that Thursday considers and rejects that she is a character in a book
2) the rational way that The Big Over Easy works into this series
3) the literary cameos, from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Anna Karenina in footnote gossip, are brilliant
4) the carry over from book to book, although each story is also stand alone
I have to say that these will stay on my bookshelf. And now I’ve read everything that he’s released and need to wait for the next one… poop. There are lots of really great series out there, but if you like something intelligent like English class and yet irreverent like Terry Pratchett, you’d do yourself a service to check these out.
Perfectly delightful. Plock.
Lost In A Good Book, by Jasper Fforde, 432 pages
The Well Of Lost Plots, 416 pages
Something Rotten, 416 pages
Thursday Next: A First Amongst Sequels, 384 pages