Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Thursday Next: First Among Sequels" by Jasper Fforde

Fforde's fifth Thursday Next book is much like its predecessors, something I think I've said about every book in the series. In this, like the others, an absurd number of side stories come together in a way that eventually makes sense, so I won't even attempt to summarize the plot.

There have been some changes in this book. It takes place fourteen years after the fourth novel, making Thursday in her 50s. Somehow I couldn't quite imagine her this age, though, so she still remained 30-something in my mind. Thursday's children Friday and Tuesday are also given more attention, though I would have liked to see them in a more primary role. It also felt, to me, that the book allusions that make the series so much fun were a lot less present. I missed all the knowing references, which Fforde instead supplemented with more detail about BookWorld itself.

What really saved First Among Sequels for me was the introduction of two kinda new characters. In her world, Thursday's escapades have been novelized, and so in BookWorld she's joined by her fictional counterparts: Thursday1-4, the hero of the sex and violence series, and Thursday5 of the hippie "mother earth" book. There's an added layer of humor in the way Thursday interacts with her other selves.

First Among Sequels shows that the longevity of the series may be a bit strained. I enjoyed Shades of Grey, the first novel in a new Fforde series, infinitely more.

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