Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book 35: Lost in a Good Book

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

This is the second of the Thursday Next novels, the series that started with The Eyre Affair. As the novel begins, Russia and England are in peace negotiations to end the Crimean War due to occurrences in the last novel. Thursday and Landen are happily married and Thursday is newly pregnant.

Unfortunately, the Goliath Corporation continues to be rather perturbed at Thursday for imprisoning one of their operatives in "The Raven," and they are still looking for a way to insert themselves into literature, which is why her uncle Mycroft has retired and disappeared with his wife. In addition to all this, a copy of a lost Shakespearean play has been discovered, someone appears to be trying to kill Thursday with coincidences, and her father has told her that unless they can figure something out, the world will end 12 December 1985. Also, the price of cheese has risen to exorbitant rates (hey, cheese is important!). In an effort to blackmail Thursday, the Goliath Corporation eradicate her husband, changing historical timelines by killing her husband as a two year old. Thursday is now the only person alive to remember him or the fact they were married. In order to make a deal with Goliath (Jack for Landen), Thursday becomes involved with Jurisfiction, a literary court inside the bookworld, where she is apprenticed to Miss Havisham of Great Expectations and learns about reading herself into books.

The novel was fun, and Fforde is definitely creative though occasionally it seems like he’s doing too much just for the hell of it. My main complaint with this novel is that it was all over the place and lacked the same kind of focus that the last one had. In the first novel, all the tangent plot lines tied together, while here, they set up questions for later. It seems like the first time round, Fforde was focused on writing a stand-alone novel while with Lost in a Good Book, it is obvious that he is setting up a series. Two possible new arch-villains are introduced but given very little stage time. The whole “the world is going to end” plot barely gets mentioned. Much of the focus is on Landen and explaining the world of Jurisfiction. Also, Thursday seemed rather bland to me in this novel in comparison to the last one, and I much more enjoyed interacting with all the fictitious characters from other novels that Fforde brought to life.

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