Sunday, June 07, 2009
Mini-Review: Thursday Next: First Among Sequels
Jasper Fforde's novels are what I like to refer to as "English major porn." First Among Sequels carries on in this tradition, but it also has plenty of meta-humor, time-travel conundrums, and just plan fun. Thursday has a job working as the celebrity spokeswoman/installer for a carpet and flooring company, which is really a cover for the disbanded-but-still-going-strong SpecOps, which is yet another cover for her clandestined Book World jaunts. She's busy dealing with a national Stupidity Surplus (leading to a decline in reading and an increase in crappy reality shows), an apathetic 16-year-old son who SHOULD be rocketing up the career ladder as a ChronoGuard, and two other versions of herself: the fictionalized Thursday1-4 (from the first four sex- and violence-heavy Thursday Next book series) and a hippie-dippy Thursday5 (from the universally panned The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco). Sound confusing? It is, a bit. It's also quite enjoyable. Fforde clearly has a love of language and literature. He character name-drops quite a bit: Harry Potter is rumored to make an appearance at a Book World meeting, and Tempe Brennan shows up, asking Thursday for advice on a real attempted murder within her own book. Plus there's appearances by the Hades family (Thursday's long-time nemises), the Goliath corporation (ditto), Pickwick, Uncle Mycroft, and others. It's a fun read set in a complex, interesting alternate universe. There are several different story lines, but they all come together in the end. There's even a bit of a cliffhanger, making me eager for the next book in the series.