First Among Sequels
by Jasper Fforde
I love this series so much. I’ve shamefully waited almost three year to read the fifth book, but luckily I wasn’t disappointed. Fourteen years have passed since the end of the 4th book and Thursday has adjusted to her life as a wife and mother, though she may not have given up her work as a literary detective quite as completely as she led her husband to believe. Thursday Next, a literary detective, lives with her husband and kids, Friday, Tuesday and Jenny.
I am constantly astounded by Fforde’s cleverness. He must have such a brilliant mind. His plots are so complex and he always manages to tie everything together beautifully. He’s like the strange literary child of Douglas Adams and P.G. Wodehouse. My favorite part of his books is always the humor and the fantastic literary jokes. For example in one scene Next is talking about a new cadet being inexperienced and said …
“This one was as green as Brighton Rock.”
I know that it’s this very cleverness that is what some readers don’t like and I think he’s one of those authors you either adore or just don’t like. One thing I’ve discovered is that I appreciate these books more now that I’ve had a chance to dig farther into the classics. I get more of the references and humor.
In this Thursday Next book there’s a strange paradox of the other Thursday Next books being referenced within the book. They are part of Book World, just like any book, but it’s odd to wrap your head around. There is Book World, the land inside of books and there is “Outland” the real world. There’s a great explanation about why Outland is so wonderful. There’s a richness in detail in Outland that can’t be matched in the Book World, because in books things like carrots are described simply as a rods of orange, there’s no detail or difference from one carrot to another. Thursday describes it as “living in Lego Land.”
A few fantastic bits that I enjoyed:
1) At one meeting in the Book World Harry Potter is unable to attend because of copyright restrictions.
2) There’s an illegal cheese market, because seriously guys, good cheese is worth buying illegally, it just is.
3) There’s a terrorist threat from the Racy Novels genre, they threaten to drop a “dirty bomb” into serious book. Imagine a sex scene popping up in the middle of a scientific text book or something, hilarious!
4) A serial killer, like a book series… get it. Bahahaha.
5) Generic characters in books often assimilate to the strongest personality, so there are armies of Danverclones, Generics who became Miss Danvers from Rebecca.
BOTTOM LINE: Start with The Eyre Affair, if you like it then keep going with the series because it just gets better. If you don’t like the first one then it’s probably not for you.
"She was the sort of parent you would want to have living close by, but only on the grounds that she would then never come to stay."
“Reading, I had learned, was as creative a process as writing, sometimes more so.
p.s. Thursday Next is a literary detective and her series is made up of mysteries, so I read this for the R.I.P. Challenge.