Monday, 27 May 2013

Lost in a good book

Lost in a good book - Jaspar Fforde
Lost in a good book
Jasper Fforde
"Thursday Next, literary detective and newlywed is back to embark on an adventure that begins, quite literally on her own doorstep. It seems that Landen, her husband of four weeks, actually drowned in an accident when he was two years old. Someone, somewhere, sometime, is responsible. The sinister Goliath Corporation wants its operative Jack Schitt out of the poem in which Thursday trapped him, and it will do almost anything to achieve this - but bribing the ChronoGuard? Is that possible?"

I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately book-wise, not that I haven’t enjoyed what I’ve reading. In fact, quite the opposite, I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of it. I’ve been going from familiar series to familiar series, knocking at the doors of my favourite authors, knowing pretty much that I’ll enjoy whatever I’m picking up. I needed a change, something new, so I headed to my local charity shop and deliberately picked up something I’d never heard of, and I loved it.

Okay, maybe loved is the wrong word, I had some problems with this novel, but for the most part I really enjoyed it.

The book follows the adventures of Thursday Next, an agent for SpecOps, a police force that deal with everything from regulating cheese to dealing with vampires. Thursday is involved with the branch that deals with crimes that involve books.
She is happily married but is shocked when one day, her husband is eradicated by multinational corporation Goliath, history rewritten so that he never existed.

My main problem with the book is that it’s the second in a series. This is partly my fault of course, entering a series in part two but the book struggles to make first time readers welcome. I felt very much at a disadvantage by not reading the first book, The Eyre Affair. 
The first few chapters walk the line of trying to give exposition for the first book and trying not to annoy readers who already know the setup. Sadly, they lean too much to the latter and it took me awhile to catch up.

The plot is very complicated, but sometimes I like that in a novel and I enjoyed it here. Thursday is constantly dragged from one situation to the next, be it being dragged from the time stream by her father or being enlisted to Jurisfiction, an in book police force. There’s a feeling that Thursday has as little an idea of what’s happening as the reader and this confusion works well.

It’s an incredibly funny book and I found myself laughing out loud more than once. The alternate England Fforde creates is chaotic, vivid and very enjoyable. While I sometimes felt lost I always wanted to keep going, read more of fforde’s superb dialogue and see where the story was going.
The very concept of Jurisfiction will be a delight to book lovers, the idea that all characters in novels share a world and can interact. It immediately makes the reader conjure up a dream list, what would happen if X met Y. It’s got unlimited potential.

It’s hard to recommend this novel unless you’ve read the first in the series, as I said, I felt pretty lost from time to time, but it definitely inspired me to look out the first book. This certainly isn’t the last time I’ll meet Thursday Next.

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