Author: Jasper Fforde
Thursday Next Series, vol. 1
Between her time on the police force in Swindon, her service in the war in Crimea, and more recently her job in Spec-Ops 27–the literary detectives–Thursday Next has seen her share of action and unusual happenings. Regardless, current events might be too much even for this cool, collected operative. When the theft of priceless original manuscripts–with no sign of the crime save a bit of rippled glass on the case–seems to tie in to the manhunt for an extremely dangerous criminal–dangerous in ways almost no one even knows–Thursday naturally gets dragged into the mess. And it’s a good thing for the literary world that she does; she might be one of the only people out there with the combination of experience and nerve to be able to pull off the save necessary to preserve the great books of the world.
After reading First Among Sequels, I naturally had to go back to the beginning of the story to see what happened before. Honestly, The Eyre Affair was a bit of a letdown approaching it in that manner–the world, the characters, and Fforde’s own quirky writing style are so much more developed in First Among Sequels. It’s understandable, since The Eyre Affair was his first novel; naturally, he’s still figuring out his writing style. Approaching this book from a less biased perspective, it really is quite good. It takes your basic police/detective novel and gives it some extremely interesting spins–like adding in time-travel, Thursday’s uncle Monty’s weird inventions, murder of characters from within books, bringing dodos and Neanderthals back to earth through cloning, and experiencing a poem from the inside. Lots of literary fun–in a world where literature is apparently considered extremely important. Thursday herself is a strong character, even at this point in her story, and the balance of action and character development is well done. Really, the story reminds me of Elizabeth Peters’ earlier books–a good solid detective novel with strong characters and a nice touch of originality. While not his best novel, I would say The Eyre Affair is a must-read for any Jasper Fforde fan, and I would recommend it for those who enjoy a good detective novel as well.