This is the fifth book in the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, but it marks the second part of the series and is the first part of the next four books. For maximum enjoyment of this book, I recommend you start with the first four books. It’s been so long that I don’t remember how good those books are individually, but I love this series as a whole. It’s fun, unique, different, hilarious, and well written. I forgot how many plots Mr Fforde can balance in these books. This may turn some people off because he does have so many plot lines set up, but most of them are closed without much fanfare in the last couple of chapters. The other ones are set ups for the next books. For a more in depth review with slight spoilers from the previous books and this one (nothing major), click below.
The time gap between the last book and this one is fourteen year, but a lot has changed. Fforde has a couple of attempts of satire here with a National Stupidity Surplus and the short-attention spans of the general population as reading rates fall and reality shows rise. I was amused only because I don’t much like reality shows either, and the idea of a stupidity surplus is silly in itself but since I study international affairs, I interpreted as trade issues and dumping. Anyway. This book also highlights Thursday’s relationship with her family, especially Landen. I think it’s quite clear why they love each other so much, and I also got a kick out of Thursday as a mother. She’s a busy woman at 52 which is slightly younger than my own mother. I can’t even conceive of my mother doing half the things Thursday does as she saves both the Bookworld, the real world, and the universe at least a couple of times in each book. She’s kickass.
Another big reason I enjoy this series so much is the complete bibliophilia in them. The idea that literary characters exist in some life form, and that there is a policing agency as well as political venue for them never gets old for me. Fforde explores more of the Bookworld and how readers take part in the process. It is very magical. Fforde also references a lot of classics in all of his books, and I understand most of them having read them. It’s a good excuse to read more classics to get his allusions.
All in all, another, fun and light read from this series. I can’t wait until 2009 for the next one.