It's 1987 in Thursday Next's alternate-reality England.Ever since she rescued Jane Eyre from the clutches of the evil Acheron Hades (and successfully gave it a happy ending) Thursday has been trying to enjoy her own happy ending with her husband Landen Parke-Laine.
That is, if she can first keep the world from dissolving into pink sludge, dodge the series of lethal coincidences on her trail, avoid getting eaten by zombies, survive her literary trial in Kafka's The Judge, and keep a corrupt politician from exploiting one of Shakespeare's long lost plays.
And that's all before she comes home one day to find that her husband has been dead since the age of two. The Goliath Corporation is demanding that Thursday bring back one of her old enemies, trapped in a copy of "The Raven." If Thursday ever wants to see her husband again she will have to enter the book world and join the fictional policing agency known as Jurisfiction.
It's business as usual for Thursday Next, and those who enjoyed Thursday's last adventure in her crazy, quirky world will enjoy this installment just as much. In addition to the usual romp through Thursday's world this installment also delves into the mentioned (but unexplored) world of fiction.
This leads to a lot of really fun literary name-dropping, as Thursday becomes apprenticed to Miss Havisham and starts to learn the behind-the-scenes quirks of all the characters we know and love. Heathcliff has a bodyguard assigned to him at all times because of the assassination attempts from the Pro-Cath's. The Cheshire Cat is put out because they've moved the county boundaries of Cheshire and he's now the Unitary Authority of Warington Cat (which just doesn't have the same ring to it.)
Fforde's explanations of how things really work inside books are generally well thought out, but can sometimes be a bit glib, necessitating a healthy suspension of disbelief (of course, this is a world in which cloning has become a reality and yet dirigibles are still a relevant form of transportation.)
If you're hoping for realism you'll be disappointed, because this witty Welshman does not provide it.Like all the best comedy writers Jasper Fforde gives his readers what he knows they're looking for—the chance to be lost in a good book for a little while, and to emerge with fresh eyes for our own world.
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. e: italic; line-height: 20px; font-size: 10pt;">You can read more of her reviewsheree: italic; line-height: 20px; font-size: 10pt;">.
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