wilderthan: ((Books) Open book)
I think I liked The Fourth Bear more than I liked The Big Over Easy. I am very used to Jasper Fforde's style, tricks and puns, but this book had some sections I found truly brilliant -- and read at length to my flatmate. This one seems even more meta-fictional than the others: more so than The Big Over Easy, anyway. It's been a while since I read the Thursday Next books.

One thing I felt really sad about was Ashley losing his memory of his date with Mary. I actually really wanted them to get together. Ashley was a really sweet character -- quirky and sometimes used just to get a joke in, sure, but that goes for every character in Jasper Fforde's books so far.

One of the things I don't know how I feel about, with Jasper Fforde's stuff, is that -- certainly with the Nursery Crimes books, anyway -- I can't ever figure out how it's going to end, or how it's going to get there. It's not that fun reading something entirely predictable, sure, but sometimes I wish I had just a bit more of a clue. Mind, everything does tie up in a neat little bow at the end, with stuff from the beginning (or middle) tied back neatly into the main story. It's unpredictable, but maybe somebody paying more attention, or someone a bit quicker, might be able to predict it somewhat. Also, part of it might be getting references -- I wouldn't have understood the Dorian Gray subplot much if I didn't know the story of Dorian Gray.
wilderthan: ((Yuffie) Whoa)
I've found Jasper Fforde's books generally fun/amusing. I'd read the Thursday Next books; I expected to enjoy Nursery Crimes. There was nothing I'd point to that was wrong with the book, although being familiar with his writing, I wasn't terribly surprised by the tone, form, style, etc, etc. Someone else described it as a "beach read for nerds" -- which sounds just about right to me. It's heavy on puns and references, light on real characterisation. While there has to be a plot, it feels very much like the plot is there to contain the puns and references, not really for its own sake.

It's easy to read and fun; I'm not sure I'll ever reread it. I found Thursday Next more compelling -- it helps that I adore Jane Eyre, and I wasn't used to Fforde's style then.
wilderthan: ((Squall) Griever)
This is the last in the series so far. It does a pretty big jump in time, and we now have Thursday with grown up children and a cover job as a carpet company, while also secretly doing her old work -- in both SO-27 and Jurisfiction. The series continues to be freaking clever, old references cleverly link up, and there is hilarity when Thursday meets her fictional selves.

The levels of messing-with-your-brain that occur when you think about the fact that the Thursday who narrates the books thinks her world is real. Or is it just me that likes to think sometimes about how weird it'd be if we were book characters?

I don't know how fun the series will be without the time travel, but I'm kind of waving a little flag for more of Spike Stoker.

Now excuse me while I slink off to write crossover ideas for this series and every other book I've ever read.
wilderthan: (Default)
What really amazes me about this series is how well-planned it is. Seemingly random incidents or comments as far back as the first book turn out to have relevance in this book, the fourth. I'm loving the way it all comes together.

This book was quite satisfying, given that the multi-national company finally got a kick in the pants and Thursday finally got her husband back. Not as many new ideas in this one, but satisfying use of old ones, and interesting stuff plot-wise. I'm actually kind of disappointed that the next one is the last one, though I hope it doesn't open some new story arc that it won't at least semi-resolve. The one that was concerning me over the last three books was Landen's disappearance -- I'm not as into the characters as I am some, but as I've got fonder of Thursday I've wanted Landen back more and more.

There were some good character moments, in this book. Like when Landen flickers out of existence after re-actualising. Ouch.
wilderthan: ((Rinoa) Waiting)
This is the third book of Jasper Fforde's series. It's a pretty absorbing series, actually: by this point the world-building is getting quite complex, and the ideas are interesting in all of the books. Some of the ways this book experiments with forms (simultaneous storytelling in footnotes and on the page, for example) were fun, too.

I keep saying the writing in these books isn't so good, and I still think there's a little something missing, but they are very absorbing. The characters are still a little flat, but the ideas are still worth reading for. They don't actually get boring because each book has a slightly different focus -- in the first book, it was more about being a sort of literary detective in the real world, in the second book there was more monkeying about with time, in this book there was a whole new world to explore as a literary cop inside fiction.

Definitely worth a try if you don't mind the author, in the words of Kingsley Amis, "buggering about with the reader". It's definitely a sort of experimental text rather than a traditional novel -- but in a fun way.
wilderthan: ((Edea) Sinister)
I actually enjoyed Lost In A Good Book more than I enjoyed The Eyre Affair. Partly, I think it was that the ideas weren't so new and I already had some kind of attachment to the characters. And there was more bookjumping, which as a concept that fascinates me -- it was done slightly differently in the Inkworld books by Cornelia Funke, but it's still similar. There's a lot of that going round, actually: Jasper Fforde's books, Inkworld, the Inkheart movie, the Disney Bedtime Stories film... Perhaps it indicates a bigger interest in escapism nowadays? Anyway, that's beside the point.

The plot is more interesting in this book, I think. There's stopping the end of the world, there's rescuing Thursday's husband from being eradicated, there's the Jurisfiction stuff. There's another one dimensional evil-for-the-sake-of-evil character, but she's not got as big a part in this book as Acheron Hades did in the first. Besides, her power is amusing.

The back of the book says "Douglas Adams would be proud". I kind of agree -- some elements of the book remind me of his stuff, anyway. Maybe not as good, though. Still an enjoyable read.
wilderthan: (Default)
Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books; I was understandably intrigued by Jasper Fforde's idea. I was actually surprised how little of the book involves Jane Eyre -- Rochester appears several times throughout the book, but you get more than halfway through the book before you actually begin to find out why. The concept is interesting, but not very well explained. Actually, that goes for all of it: there are lots of interesting ideas, like alternate history, a guy who is on the run throughout time and space, being able to step into a book through a 'prose portal'... Perhaps my favourite thing was the fact that the 'original' Jane Eyre, according to this world, ended differently, and it was the efforts of our heroine Thursday Next that produced the novel we know today, which is -- of course -- better.

The characters themselves actually fall quite flat, too. I couldn't care less about the romance and the villain produces no sense of menace at all, for me. The writing itself isn't brilliant. It doesn't come alive for me, really. It's the ideas I love about this, and those definitely earn it quite a high rating from me. I did like some elements of the style a lot -- for example, various parts of it echo Jane Eyre: Thursday looks into a mirror and thus describes herself, the wedding at the end is disrupted because one member is already married...

It's actually hard to do a full review of this as it switches genres quite a lot. I thought it was fun, perhaps a bit lighter than I expected, worth a try to see if you can get on with it. I do have the sequels to read, but I suspect I might tire of the ideas... We'll see.


wilderthan: (Default)

October 2013

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