Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Lost In A Good Book: Jasper Fforde, June 26—July 7, 2015
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Thursday Next returns in an adventure which both directly continues and has nothing to do with The Eyre Affair. Jack Schitt’s brother, and the Goliath Corporation, want him rescued from The Raven and eradicate (or retcon) her husband Landen as ransom. Elsewhere, someone (query an undead Acheron Hades) is trying to kill Thursday, which may or may not be connected to her time-travelling father’s attempts to prevent the imminent end of the world.
The most pertinent storyline is Landen’s removal from existence, which sees Thursday reluctantly try to return to The Raven. Without a Prose Portal, she joins the Juisfiction; a crack team that controls characters and plots of books and is apprenticed by Miss Havisham of Great Expectations fame. The introduction of the Jurisfiction is wonderful. Fforde takes no end of anomalies and oddities of the book world and creates elaborate explanations: poor grammar, bad descriptions, familiar characters and more are all in there. Characters from various works converge, and it’s the most terrific fun. Miss Havisham herself is a fantastic new character, who exudes a detached formality and dignity whatever the situation.
It’s kept interesting with various subplots that range from strange to bizarre. Among them is Next’s newfound celebrity, post-Eyre, which both SpecOps and Goliath try to control while Cordelia of SpecOps PR tries to rope Thursday into everything from a movie to a workout video, and Next’s attempts to avoid her become more hilarious by the second.
Fforde writes with such bombastic wit in both narration and dialogue, and regularly demands you suspend your disbelief while, at the same time, paying close attention to every detail because many of them rebound with a sting. It’s both ridiculous and clever, with in-your-face solutions that will astound you.
The conclusion is satisfying. Some self-contained elements are cleanly resolved, while others are left to set up for the third book in the series. It’s obvious, and exciting, where we will find Next and what she has to deal with next time, but there’s sure to be some surprises along the way.
Lost In A Good Book extends the universe of its predecessor and adds even more exciting, playful layers to a brilliantly bonkers concept. Fforde has a winning series on his hands that I can’t wait to read more of.