It's the 1980's in England, but not our England. This is Thursday Next's alternate-reality England, a world of dirigibles, cheese prohibition, and genetically re-engineered dodos, a world where the Crimean war is still being fought, a Gravitube drops people through the center of the earth, and the greatest literary works of all time inspire an almost religious fervor.
Thursday Next works for SpecOps, an institution that handles the special hazards of day-to-day life in this alternate world. These include random fluctuations in time (the realm of the ChronoGuard), rogue zombies and vampires (the job of the perpetually underfunded SpecOps-17) and Thursday's own division, the LiteraTecs, dedicated to discovering literary fraud.
After a brief stint with SpecOps-5 ends in disaster, Thursday finds herself transferred to the LiteraTec division back in her home town of Swindon. But being back in town means having to re-examine her feelings for her former lover, Landen Parke-Laine, while simultaneously dodging the press and tracking down her old enemy Acheron Hades.
A sinister man with a host of supernatural powers, Hades has stolen the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and is threatening to kill off the characters (starting with a minor character and ending with Martin Chuzzlewit himself). But his reign of literary terror doesn't end with Martin Chuzzlewit. With the ever popular Jane Eyre next on Hades' hit list, Thursday must stop him from despoiling the greatest works of literature—but to do so she will have to find a way to enter the world of fiction.
Thursday Next herself is a great narrator. She's very dry, very brave, and very cynical, but in The Eyre Affair (and the series) we see her begin to learn the value of opening up to other people, of giving love a chance (bravery of a different kind.) As a character, she's a refreshing departure from the canon of tough and bitter female action heroes.
Jasper Fforde's clever series blends some of the best elements of fantasy with cheeky satire. When it comes to escapist fiction, Thursday Next is just plain good. These are books that avid readers will get a special pleasure from. But even those readers who are not as up-to-date on their literary references will enjoy the infectious love for books that shines through every novel.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
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