Starting a Thursday Next book is a bit like stepping onto a fast rollercoaster ride through a brightly colored, slightly deranged kaleidoscope. The series opens in the 1980's of an alternate-reality England. This is 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, croquet is a violent professional sport, and the greatest literary works of all time inspire an almost religious fervor.
But that's not the end of it. A select few in this alternate reality have access to the Bookworld, the secret world on the other side of the printed page. A policing agency known as Jurisfiction exists inside the world of books to keep an eye on the resident stories and characters. This agency is in charge of (among other things) running Heathcliff counseling sessions, delivering pianos to classical works of the 19th century, regulating adjective usage, and cracking down on illegal trade in metaphor.
In this insane world perhaps the sanest person is our heroine, jaded gumshoe detective and Jurisfiction agent Thursday Next. On either side of the printed page, she somehow manages to get herself firmly embroiled in every conflict that comes her way. Possessed of dry wit and cynicism, Thursday has no special powers. Despite this (or maybe because of it) she still manages to save the world many times over, simply because she's the only one who cares enough to do so.
The Thursday Next series is jam-packed with details, bursting with more variety and color than can be contained in a single genre. It has a little bit of everything: detective, action, thriller, horror, paranormal, steampunk, sci-fi, literary, adventure, fantasy. The various plot threads are held together as tenuously as a carnival ride, but Jasper Fforde manages to pull it off every time through a combination of cheeky satire and bold bravado. The sheer glee of this cross-eyed look at the world is hard to resist.
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
Did you find this review helpful?