You know you’re too busy when an entire week goes by with 5 reviews on the table and not one of them gets published. Sorry about that. But, I’m going to make an effort. Really I am!

Book number: 23/26 (I’m reviewing them together cause they’re books 1 and 2 of the same series).
Pages: lots… um, probably at least 400 each
By: Jasper Fforde (yes there are two F’s in a row, if you take one out you won’t find it.)

Summary: (from the back cover of The Eyre Affair)

Meet Thursday Next, literary detective without equal, fear or boyfriend.

There is another 1985, where London’s criminal gangs have moved into the lucrative literary market, and Thursday Next is on the trail of the new crime wave’s Mr. Big. Acheron Hades has been kidnapping characters from works of fiction and holding them to ransom. Jane Eyre is gone. Missing.

Thursday sets out to find a way into the book to repair the damage. But solving crimes against literature isn’t easy when you also have to find time to halt the Crimean War, persuade the man you love to marry you, and figure out who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

Review:

These are both rereads for me, and they both were read in pretty much one sitting. Remember when I told you about the Book Vault a couple posts ago? I found both of these there, for like, cheaper than I have ever expected to pay a book (including when I first started getting gift cards for Christmas, and could regularly get two on a $10 gift card. Those were the days *sigh*). I spent the rest of the day rereading The Eyre Affair and it was just as good as I remembered it to be.

I feel I should explain further than the summary. The summary makes it seem too normal. This is the world every book lover has ever dreamed of – books have taken center stage (literary forgery is punishable under the death penalty) and there’s even a branch of police are devoted to their protection and authentication. Of course, it’s not all fun and games – the Crimean War (yes it’s real, though it lasted for like 2 minutes in relation to most of what we talk about in history) has continued to the present day with mandatory draft for all young adults, and there are evil villains that would put even the worst criminals in our world to shame. Oh, and Thursday’s Uncle Mycroft (yes, there is a reason he has the same name as Sherlock’s brother) has invented a machine that lets you get inside a book. Frankly if that’s not an advertisement in itself, I don’t know what is.

Jasper Fforde has that slightly snide, snarky tone of writing that I happen to love. It’s as if he’s making fun of everyone and everything, even though he doesn’t really mean it in a mean way. He finds way to point out all those little things that when you take a second look you realize that they don’t make sense. It’s all about thinking in a different way, and learning to see other options, and I love that.

Of course, it always helps when the “point” is set so beautifully. Thursday is so wonderfully spunky, you can’t help but love her. The secondary characters are all just as well crafted – I have this funny feeling that you could as Fforde a question about the personal habits of any one of the secondaries and he wouldn’t even have to think about the answer, that’s how real they feel. Bowden is lovably docile and timid (think Jon Arbuckle from Garfield), Spike is jumpy like he’s hyped up on caffeine constantly but still has his moments, and Jack Schitt is the company CEO/strongarm all over! (and no, I didn’t just swear, that really is his name – names are important in this series, so pay attention as you read).

I suppose most people would consider this a really fluffy read, compared to his most recent novel Shades of Grey which is a dystopian novel with an important moral that is threaded throughout the plot. For me personally, though, this series speaks better to me, appealing to my love of reading and my sense of humour, while reminding me of all kinds of issues that are important: How do you deal with the fact that a decision you made affected someone you loved, and not in a good way? When what you believe is right and what is the law conflict, what do you do? When should you ask permission, and when should you just ask forgiveness?

Anyway, I highly recommend this series to anyone and everyone (over the age of… probably 12 or 13).

WARNING: This novel contains unannounced Time-travel. If you do not like time travel or if, as one of my friends puts it, “makes my head hurt cause I can’t make it make sense” then don’t read it – or at least read it forewarned.

Upcoming reviews (as soon as I have time I promise):
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

And a Media review of the most recent series of Merlin





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