Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde
Thursday Next is a detective who works for Jurisfiction, the policing agency that works inside fiction. The books are set in an odd alternative world, and blends SF, Fantasy, Literature, Horror, and a bit of romance.
So apparently, this is an ongoing series! The eighth book is slated for release in 2017, but for now let’s talk about the first three instalments in the series. Or two and a half, really.
I quite like arguably absurd and vaguely sci fi fiction (think Douglas Adams and Tom Holt) and I also like books, so getting to grips with Thursday’s life was a fun experience. In her world, we have brought dodo’s back to life through Jurassic Park style cloning, we use dirigibles as a major form of transport, there is some rewritten history in thereto do with the Crimean War and, oh yeah, people can visit book worlds and book characters can visit the “real” world. I won’t lie, it gets a bit messy, but it’s a kind of messy, wacky fun with a very grounded and in my mind Dana Scully-esque main character so things never spiral too far out of control.
The first book, The Eyre Affair, was great. It was fast paced but gave a good sense of this unfamiliar world and its characters. The premise of kidnapping fictional characters kept things interesting and the antagonist was really quite evil. Then came Lost in A Good Book and things became a bit more complicated and a lot more weird. Apparently along with everything else in this world people can be eradicated. Well, so, fine. I was on board until about half way through when Thursday becomes an apprentice to Miss Havisham (yes, that Miss Havisham) but I muddled through to the end. And finally I’m now halfway through The Well Of Lost Plots and for the forseeable future, I’m likely to stay there.
The first was a solid mystery novel with an interesting setting and a unique idea. The second built on this but veered off in another direction, which the third continues. Not so much mystery novels anymore, The Well Of Lost Plots is a confusing mess. There are so many book related inventions in play that every second sentence seems to be introducing something new. Thursday visits several different novels and the characters therein, which is really cool so long as you’ve read the books and care about those characters. (I’ve read Sense & Sensibility but I couldn’t tell you anyone’s names beyond the main quartet!) Thursday is also constantly hopping, not just between books and the Well, but also the “real” world, and through all of this I can’t even remember what Thursday is trying to achieve.
I don’t know what the rest of the series is like, perhaps book four successfully picks up the thread of book one, but at the moment I can highly recommend The Eyre Affair as a stand alone novel.
You can find out more about the series on Jasper Fforde’s website HERE.
You can find the series HERE on Goodreads.