Thursday Next

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

One of Our Thursdays is Missing

Alright ya’ll, I’ve been meaning to write this review for over a week and I just want to get the book back on it’s shelf, so this review is going to be a little short, mmmkay?

This is a Thursday Next book that is not about Thursday Next – or at least, not the real Thursday Next. Written Thursday is doing her best in BookWorld to up the readership on her series, and to portray Thursday in the dignified manner she deserves. Then one day she hears a rumor that the real Thursday Next has gone missing, and right before she was supposed to show up at the peace talks to stop a genre war. Written Thursday has to save the day!

Things I liked:

  • The BookWorld is remade in this novel, and it’s really cool to “see” the changes.
  • There’s a map of the new BookWorld in the front! Coolest literary map ever.
  • You get to see a written character travel to the real world and experience crazy things like gravity and peeing.
  • Fun, weird, twisted plot that doesn’t make sense until the end (like most TN novels).

Things I didn’t like:

  • That it’s all from Written Thursday’s POV. It got a little confusing, and she’s not exactly as fun as the real Thursday.
  • There was a LOT of description about the new BookWorld, and eventually it started to seem like filler.

I want to mention to that I listened to the first 5 or 6 chapters on audiobook, and I didn’t like it so I switched to the print book for the rest. These books are just too crazy and zany for listening, and I didn’t like Thursday’s voice.

And that’s about it. This is like the 6th Thursday Next book, and if you’ve been reading and enjoying these books, you’ll probably enjoy One of Our Thursdays is Missing too. It’s definitely not my favorite of the series, but I’m still excited to read the next one, The Woman Who Died A Lot.

Sarah Says: 3 stars

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First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

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Good morning there, lovers of literature! Guess what? I read the fifth Thursday Next book!

Wikipedia has some interesting things to say about the Thursday Next books – basically that the series consists of seven novels so far, in two series. Apparently the first four books are lumped together, and then this fifth one starts a separate series but still following the storyline of the Thursday Next books (there’s just a 14-year gap in between the events of the fourth and fifth books).

And because I never completely believe Wikipedia I checked out Fforde’s website and he had this to say when he was explaining the title of First Among Sequels:

This was good news to me as I have been trying to use this title for a while, and it seems perfect to have it on this, the first book in the second batch of Thursday books. Indeed. TNs one to four were essentially ‘Thursday Volume one’. First Among Sequels is the first part of the next four-parter, which will continue with One of our Thursdays is Missing in 2009.

So yes. That. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, this review should only be read if you’re already familiar with Thursday Next books 1 through 4. Spoilers be ahead.

Now, it’s fourteen years after the events of the last book, and Thursday is living a happy, boring life of domesticity selling carpets and taking care of her husband Landon and their three children Friday, Tuesday, and Jenny. Haha NOT. She’s not happily selling carpets – she’s still working for SpecOps AND for Jurisfiction, all while trying to keep up with Landon and the kiddos. Things in BookWorld are not going so hot – Readership levels are dropping everyday, the Racy Novels genre is about to go to war with Ecclesiastical and Feminist genres, and Sherlock Holmes has turned up dead. And in the real world, the government is facing a massive stupidity surplus and Thursday has to try to get through to her 16-year old son Friday, who should be stepping up to claim his destiny as a part of the ChronoGuard but would rather sleep all day. And on top of this, she has to face one of her most dangerous enemies yet – herself.

Ahhhhh these books are so delightfully strange! This isn’t my favorite of the Thursday Next series so far, but that’s only because there was SO much going on and honestly I don’t know how Thursday keeps it all straight without going crazy. And speaking of crazy, can you imagine what it must be like in Jasper Fforde’s head? That must be an awesome, scary place. But it’s SO impressive how much he must totally love literature and the written word. His references to SO many classics and characters and plot devices seems never-ending and his attention to the details is astounding.

As always, there were fun quips and bouts of humor, all wrapped up in mystery and action and bookish joys. This is the perfect series for book nerds. I wish I could go to BookWorld… And after some MAJOR events went down at the end of this book, I’m really really looking forward to picking up One of our Thursdays is Missing.

Sarah Says: 4 stars

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

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Good morning, book lovers! So it’s time for my review of the fourth Thursday Next book. I’m not quite sure my brain it up to the task, but I’ll try.

 

BUT REMEMBER THERE ARE SPOILERS HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST THREE BOOKS, MMMKAY? KAY.

Somehow, it’s been over a year since I read the third book, The Well of Lost Plots! Honestly, don’t know how I went that long in between books. So let’s just say that I remembered that Thursday was still in Bookworld, and her hubby Landen was still non-existent because he had been eradicated, and she was chasing some book characters who apparently ended up escaping into the real world.

Something Rotten starts off with Thursday getting a bit frustrated with Bookworld and realizing that she needs to go home, try to un-eradicate her husband, and catch Yorrick Kaine – the escaped book characters that’s been making waves in the real world as a politician. So she takes a long leave-of-absence from Jurisfiction, grabs her two-year old son Friday, and heads back to reality.

There was a LOT to like about this book, and I read it pretty quickly. I liked seeing Thursday struggle with fictional character baddies, a husband that doesn’t exist, a hitwoman out to get her, Shakespeare clones, and more – and all while now being a mom. I like that being a mom doesn’t diminish Thursday’s awesomeness or adventures any – Friday is just one more thing she has to take care of in her hectic, weird life.

Once again, after finishing this book I had a weird dream – something about me being trapped with other people in a big store of some kind and black, shiny, hard-looking spiders and lizards that were WAY over-sized were crawling around trying to attack us, and none of my long-range weapons or machetes were around. It was weird, I didn’t sleep well that night.

Also, there were a few quotes I liked and wrote down, but I think this one (spoken by Hamlet himself who’s experiencing the real world for the first time) is my favorite:

“If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction – and ultimately, without a major resolution.”

Which sounds pretty true, but I agree with Thursday’s response – that maybe we like it that way. I have the 5th Thursday Next book (although from what I understand, it’s the start of a separate Thursday Next series or storyline…?) on it’s way to me from Paperbackswap, and this time I’m not going to let a whole year go by before I read it.

Sarah Says: 4 stars

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The Last Dragonslayer, Jasper Fforde

 

The Last Dragonslayer is the first in what will be a YA trilogy, and was just released in the U.S. I like Jasper Fforde and had my eye on this for a while, so when it came out I bought is right away.

I’m feeling particularly lazy this morning, so here’s the description from the back of the book, which is way better than the description I would be able to come up with…

In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.

 

Seee, doesn’t it just sound awesome? And it was. It was all the weird quirkyness and Britishness of Jasper Fforde, but in YA form. The writing was easy and witty. The magical set-up is interesting – since magic is fading, the magicians try to conserve their energy down to the last shandar (unit of magic), and use their magic to earn money and pay the bills.

Like Fforde’s Thursday Next series, this book is set in an alternate-Britain – the characters live in the Ununited Kingdoms, magic exists but is strictly regulated, dragons are a fact of life, indentured servitude still exists, etc. Quarkbeasts exist, and they are awesome. I want one.

Jennifer Strange was a likeable girl – she’s young but also responsible, good, and a little sassy. She handles all that life gives her admirably, even when she doesn’t think she’s up for it.

Overall, this was a really fun read and while the plot was tied up pretty well, it also set the stage for the next books with unanswered questions like “Where did Mr. Zambini go?”. I’m very eagerly awaiting the U.S. release of the second book, The Song of the Quarkbeast. Sadly, there’s no release date yet.

 

Sarah Says: 4 stars

 

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

So this is Thursday Next numero tres. We last left our intrepid heroine pregnant and heading off into The Well of Lost Plots in Bookworld to hide out from Goliath (and Aornis Hades)  and try to have a nice, quiet pregnancy. And naturally, things never go as planned.
 
Thursday is thrust into being a JurisFiction agent just as Bookworld is about to announce it’s exciting new program, UltraWord, that is supposed to solve the big problem of zero original plots and take reading fiction to amazing new heights. There’s also a killer on the loose in Bookworld and it looks as if Thursday is next. Thursday has to learn the ins and outs of living in a fictional universe, deal with rage counseling sessions for the characters of Wuthering Heights, try to uncover what’s not quite right about UltraWord, try not to forget her nonexistant husband, and so much more. It’s action and plot-packed, baby.
 
I’m really enjoying this series, and I can’t wait to see where else it goes. Reading about Bookworld totally messes with my mind – even though I read a lot of fantasy, nothing makes my mind attempt to think abstract thoughts like this book. It’s brain exercise to imagine this whole world WITHIN books, to imagine literal seas of text and the idea of characters having their own lives as basically actors within a book that have the power to actually change their books (though it’s illegal). Like really… what if authors didn’t really create or write anything, it was all the characters in Bookworld controlling everything? Part of me is really curious and would really like to see someone attempt to put these books on the big screen. How do you show characters in book selling plot devices and jumping in and out of books? It’s madness, I tell you, madness.

Also, this week I had a Bookworld-esque dream. I dreamt I was driving down a really long road, and there was buildings on either side. (Oh, and my sister Heather and her husband Matt were in my car with me, I don’t know why.) And then the buildings went away and it was different books and bookshelves on either side of the road. Then the land on the side of the road turned into water, and there was just huge amounts of books, bookshelves, and other furniture floating in the water next to the road, and then all of the sudden I noticed the road just went right into the water and I was going too fast, and we almost drowned. And I woke up. Damn weird abstract dreams.
 
Anyways, I’m not making much sense here (bear with me, I’m typing this at 2 am on very little sleep), but overall this was a fun, enjoyable read. I love reading a novel that is about novels! I like Thursday, I loved seeing so much of Bookworld, and a whole bunch of favorite characters and books were sprinkled in. The only drawback is that one of my favorite characters is sadly one of the killer’s victims, and that sucks a ton. I’m already looking forward to the fourth book, Something Rotten.
 
Sarah Says: 4 stars

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

So just a quick warning – this is the 2nd Thursday Next book, so if you haven’t read The Eyre Affair (click for my review) this might be a little bit spoiler-y.

Now if you did click above for my review of The Eyre Affair, you’ll see that I gave it 4 stars. In hindsight, I probably should have given it 3 or 3.5 stars. I found the first book a little jarring, and didn’t connect as much with Thursday Next as I could of. I actually liked Hades, the bad guy, the most in the first book.

The second book, Lost in a Good Book, is a big improvement. Thursday and Landen are enjoying their newlywed status, and Thursday is still attracting a bit of fame due to her adventures in Jane Eyre and defeating Hades. But stuff quickly goes to crap when the Goliath Corporation makes Landen disappear to blackmail her, and she’s literally almost killed by coincidences.  Thursday ends up joining the Jurisfiction team – the police force inside of books and learning to navigate the literary world. While trying to save Landen, she’s diving in and out of different books, trying to authenticate a newly resurfaced Shakespeare play, and trying to save the world from being overcome by a mysterious pink goo.

I found this book way easier to get into – maybe because I knew what to expect, having read the first book. The story starts right away, and you get to spend a lot more time with Thursday as she learns how to book-jump and meets various different literary characters. I love how the whole idea of book-jumping is explored much more thoroughly, and the other cool peeks we get into this alternative-reality 1980’s Britain. Wooly mammoths are alive and migrating around, Neanderthals are back and treated like animals, people travel via a tube running through the center of the Earth – it’s all very cool. My only disappointment is that we don’t see much of her partner Bowden, who I really liked in the first book.

On top of all that, this book ends like a sequel and makes me want to hurry and try to read the next book, The Well of Lost Plots, sooner rather than later. The first book ended like it could have been a stand-alone novel – this book ends on the brink of the next adventure for Thursday, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how her journey goes.

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars

>The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

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OK, my feelings about this book are a bit mixed up but overall positive. Let’s start with what it’s about.

The novel takes place in 1985-ish Britain, but a bit quirky – time travel just kind of happens, cloned pets are all the rage, and literature is a SERIOUS thing. Like, people will fight over who was the real Shakespeare, and there’s a whole SpecOps field for protecting the sanctity of the written word – Thursday Next is one such Literary Detective. When people start disappearing into books and characters in major classics start going missing, Thursday is the girl to call. But she’ll have to face a serious big-time baddie to save the day.

So, overall an awesome premise and I found the whole world created pretty fascinating. I loved reading about how different things were. And Thursday herself is a pretty cool gal. She’s tough, although a little damaged from her time as a soldier. And then there was my favorite character – Hades. Acheron Hades is the big bad guy, and I LOVED him. I know, I know – I’m generally not supposed to like the villain. But I loved his intellect, sharp humor, and just general psychopath-ness.

Now, I have two kind of small complaints. One is that this is all uber-British, which is fine. I like England. However, since I’m not British, I found that a whole lot of things just went right over my head. I didn’t get a lot of little jokes that I feel like I should have gotten. There’s an online reference guide somewhere for that stuff, but I wasn’t always near the computer while reading so I kind of had to just gloss over the wacky British things I didn’t get.

My other small complaint is that the title, and the blurb on the back of the book, lead most to think that majority of this book concerns the fact that Jane Eyre goes missing from that famous Charlotte Bronte novel. But it actually kind of took a long time to get to that, so I was mildly disappointed by that. I’d be more disappointed if I was actually a fan of Jane Eyre, but I’m not. That kind of worked in my favor here.

Anyhoo, this was a fun, different novel with equally fun and different characters. Also, some of these characters just have the BEST names. I won’t type them here, cause you should go read it and find out for yourself. So go give it a try. I’ll be picking up the sequels eventually.

Sarah Says: 4 stars

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