41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jasper Fforde does it again!
In this sequel to The Eyre Affair, intrepid heroine Thursday Next is back for more hilarious romps through time and literary space. She is busier than ever, as she tries to save the world from a horrid (and pink) annihilation, rescue her husband Landen from his recent state of nonexistence, and guard the literary universe from evildoers, all the while evading the...
Published on April 21, 2003 by Eileen Rieback
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Mess
I picked up the first book in this series (The Eyre Affair) based purely on its premise and was left somewhat underwhelmed. Still, the potential for the series seemed so large that I went ahead and read this second one too, only to be even less enchanted with the franchise. This is a pure sequel, and any newcomers are advised to read the misadventures of Thursday Next is...
Published on May 17, 2006 by A. Ross
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jasper Fforde does it again!,
I recommend that you read The Eyre Affair first, if you have not done so already, since it will help you understand the quirky flavor of this alternate universe. I also suggest that you take the Spec Ops literary challenge referenced on this latest book's back cover and try your hand at its devilishly difficult puzzles. If I have any critical comment, it is that the story leaves several loose ends, which have me impatiently awaiting Thursday's next adventure, The Well of Lost Plots. But I'm sure it will be worth the wait. Enjoy!
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars charming, fun and clever literary adventure,
Fforde slathers lots of plot with tons o' wordlicious fun as he carries us past the events of Thursday's introductory outing, into her first year of marriage and the aftermath of her defeat of archcriminal Acheron Hades and corporate creep Jack Schitt. The Goliath Corporation eradicates Thursday's husband and pressures her to rescue Schitt while she is dodging murder attempts by an unknown enemy, helping her father try to save the world and taking bookjumping lessons from Great Expectations' Miss Havisham. Oh, and battling the occasional Supreme Evil Being to bring in a few extra bucks. Who says a woman can't have it all?
The author writes dialogue superbly, and introduces new concepts and slang fluidly. There is lots of wordplay, and more than a few puns, but not so much as to be annoying. We see more of Thursday's father here, which is enjoyable, but her husband Landen is not really fleshed out. We are introduced to some terrific new characters, including Granny Next, condemned to live until she can read the ten most boring books ever written, and Miss Havisham, who loves anything with a gnarly engine. The brief cameo by Uncle Mycroft and Aunt Polly, though, is much much too little. Strangely, Thursday's partner Bowden is used to good effect in the first half of the book and then rather unceremoniously dumped, as are the rather fascinating neanderthals. Fforde adds some unique and wonderfully creative concepts this time around, many concerned with the world of literary characters who inhabit a magnificent library containing all the books that ever have been or ever will be written, on 52 (maybe 53!) floors of shelves stretching 200 miles in every direction.The librarian? The Cat formerly known as Cheshire. Jurisfiction, bookjumping and footnoterphones roll off the tongue and into your consciousness effortlessly as Thursday Next proves once again that she is a superb agent -- intelligent, resourceful, diligent and good -- an admirable heroine and a worthy narrator.
Anyway, you should read this book for the lively deconstruction of The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, if nothing else! In keeping with the spirit of things, there is an associated puzzle and contest, and an active web site with BBSs in which the author participates.
Really, it's impossible to convey all the creativity, fun and insight found here, but let me say that while I am a confirmed paperback and used book buyer, I got this as soon as the hardcover was available, and I will do the same with the next instalment, The Well of Lost Plots, due out in the Spring of 2004. Hurrah!
Can't go wrong, writes Sue Pyrb. Highest recommendation.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds strange?. Stranger things will happen !!!,
This review is from: Lost in a Good Book (A Thursday Next Novel) (Paperback)After reading "The Eyre Affair", the first book in Fforde?s "Thursday Next" series, I was delighted. I loved the characters, the premise of a different world where literature was such an encompassing passion, and the possibility some of the characters had of "jumping into" books, thus being able to interact with many personages from literature.
"The Eyre Affair" was witty, funny, easy to read, and enthralling: I could not have liked it more... But, as a result, I was somewhat afraid of reading its sequel, "Lost in a good book". I asked myself how on earth could Fforde write another book as good as the first one. I really couldn?t imagine an answer, but thankfully my curiosity was stronger that my fear of finding the sequel not good enough.
"Lost in a good book" brings the same characters, but new situations, and developments that make the story richer. Spec-Ops 27 Thursday Next is now a celebrity, and she must deal with that, something that is quite difficult for her. As if that were not enough, the Goliath Corporation blackmails her into bringing back Mr. Schitt (trapped by Thursday in one of Poe?s poems in "The Eyre Affair"). As she is indifferent to the Corporation?s threats, and to the money it offers her, they eradicate her husband (at the age of two years) with the help of a corrupt Chronoguard, promising to bring him back once Schitt is returned. But how will Thursday do that, without the Prose Portal that previously helped her to jump into books?.
Thursday has more than enough problems in the "real world", but she discovers quite soon that that is not all. She is accused by Jurisfiction of a "fiction infraction", due to the fact that she accidentally changed the end of "Jane Eyre". Jurisfiction, as the fictional lawyer assigned to her explains, is the service ran "inside novels to maintain the integrity of popular fiction". Consequently, she will be prosecuted in Kafka?s "The Trial". Sounds strange?. Stranger things will happen when Next becomes an apprentice to Miss Havisham (from "Great Expectations"), in order to become one of Jurisfiction?s agents.
This review is already too long, and I haven?t mentioned the difficulties surrounding the authentication of "Cardenio" (one of Shakespeare?s lost plays), the visits to other books (for example Austen?s "Sense and sensibility"), Pickwick?s egg (her pet Dodo is a "she") or the fact that somebody is trying to kill Thursday through coincidences... Did I pointed out that Fforde goes on introducing literary devices that make the reader laugh?. I guess I will have to leave that, and many things more, for you to discover :)
On the whole, I can say that even if "Lost in a good book" is similar to "The Eyre Affair" in some aspects (characters, main premises), it continues to develop Fforde?s world, and doesn?t merely repeat the things that were already said in the first book. In my opinion, in this book we get to know more about Thursday and the people that surrounds her, but we also realize that there is much more to the fictional world that we had supposed. As a matter of fact, the "fictional" world and the "real" world are intrinsically connected, and Next is one of the links.
What can I say?. Read this book as soon as you can. You won?t regret it, and you are likely to do the same thing that I am doing right now. That is to say, you will wait anxiously for the next book in the series, and in the meanwhile you will recommend "The Eyre Affair" and "Lost in a good book" to others, so that they will know what they were missing without being aware of it :)
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visions of literary absurdity,
The newly-wed Thursday Next is drowning in the publicity after her showdown with Acheron Hades and the fateful changing of "Jane Eyre"'s finale. Her consolations are her new husband Landen, her dodo Pickwick, and the fact that she's going to be a mum (yes, you read that correctly). But bizarre things start to happen ("Something's going to happen, and I'm part of it"), including telepathic footnotes from her fictional defense attorney.
When Thursday ventures onto a Skyrail, time twists after a Neanderthal pilot steers it in an effort to go to Goliath Corp. and her dad appears long enough to warn her about the impending potential destruction of the world (everything is going to turn into goo --literally). Worse, when Thursday returns home, she finds that Landen isn't there. Even worse, he's not there because of a fatal drowning incident at the age of two. And if she wants to return things to how they should be, she'll have to
Fforde gives even more dimension to his alternate universe (including a mention of our own), showing that he still has plenty of turf left to cover. First there were dodos, and now there is also a dreamy mammoth and a Tasmanian tiger. Fforde also gives us a race of reanimated Neanderthals, who are treated as more intelligent animals, and gives us an intriguing, delicately-done look at human nature. But it's also extremely funny, including the discovery of a lost Shakespearean play, Molecular Unstable Brie, the condition of Xplkqulkiccasia, the renamed Cheshire Cat, and Thursday's stint on a talk show where nobody lets her talk about the work that made her famous.
Thursday is still hard-boiled and tough, but she gets a little more vulnerable now that she's married, so some readers might find her edge a bit gone. Landen is nice enough, although he's in relatively little of the book; Akrid Snell (Acrid Smell?) of an mystery series is entertaining as the footnote-speaking attorney who won't tell Thursday why she's on trial. There are also appearances (some brief, some not) by Acheron Hades (well, sort of), Uncle Myles, Spike, Pickwick the Dodo, and others.
Fforde's writing has become a little more polished since "Eyre Affair," and the book flows a little more smoothly (especially when it needs to be weird or surreal). The dialogue is still funny and snappy, full of literary in-jokes and weird twists, but it grows more serious about halfway through.
"Lost In A Good Book" is amusing and literate, like "Eyre Affair." And Fforde's literate little world has plenty of promise for future books.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Mess,
This review is from: Lost in a Good Book (A Thursday Next Novel) (Paperback)I picked up the first book in this series (The Eyre Affair) based purely on its premise and was left somewhat underwhelmed. Still, the potential for the series seemed so large that I went ahead and read this second one too, only to be even less enchanted with the franchise. This is a pure sequel, and any newcomers are advised to read the misadventures of Thursday Next is strict order, lest one miss out of allusions to past events. Although... on further consideration, maybe it doesn't matter, since clearly anything can and will happen in this series, and Fforde isn't all that interested in keeping to a linear plotline anyway.
The setting is the same as the first book, an alternate mid-1980s England in which literature is the preeminent social preoccupation. Fresh off the events of "The Eyre Affair", Thursday Next (a police officer specializing in literature related crimes, such as first-edition forgeries, valuable manuscript thefts, and the like) is gritting her teeth through a new round of fame as the woman who saved Jane Eyre (and changed the ending for the better), when all she wants to do is cuddle up at home with her new husband Landen. Unfortunately, the evil Goliath Corporation has managed to use a corrupt member of the Chronogaurd (timestream police) to delete Landen from this timeline and are holding his existence hostage. In the first book Thursday imprisoned one of their top men inside Poe's "The Raven", and it seems they want him back.
This a potentially interesting plot, but it keeps get lost amidst all the other things Fforde throws into the mix. Most notable are a series of strange coincidences which keep coming close to killing Thursday (and are also linked to events in the first book). Another plotline concerns the discovery of a "lost" Shakespeare play, which looks to be the most important literary event of the century, if Thursday can authenticate it. There's also the small matter of Thursday's pregnancy. And just when one is comfortable with Thursday's role as a "SpecOps Litratech", and that whole milieu, she's thrown into an entirely new one as a member of "Jurisfiction", a kind of police comprised of book characters who move around in different literary works and maintain order... Finally, her father pops up to inform her that something in the timestream has gone wrong and the entire world is going to be turned into a mass of pink sludge in a few days unless he can figure it out, and can she help him. Phew!
I've probably missed one or two elements, but you get the idea. Fforde is just brimming with nifty ideas, but the shame of it is that he can't stop and give any of them the attention they deserve. It's impossible to get invested in any of the plotlines when you know he's just going to move on to something else in a few pages, and it's impossible to care about the characters when their existence is utterly malleable, as is time and place. I suppose it's all meant to be puckish good fun, but the overall effect is more an attention deficit disorder Nancy Drew heroine meets a poor-man's Douglas Adams. The book has its occasional moments, but the humor is far too broad and unsubtle, and there's absolutely no narrative tension. All the literary in jokes in the world can't save this shambling wreck, and I don't think I'll be moving on to the next book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reward for Literature Class,
This review is from: Lost in a Good Book (A Thursday Next Novel) (Paperback)This book is high entertaining and intellectually slightly challenging. If you like satire, thinking outside the box- and subtle humor I recommend it highly.
If you wondered why you had to read all those long generally depressing books in literature class, this series is your reward!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From dubiosity to admiration,
Here, in author Jasper Fforde's England of 1985, people keep dodo birds as pets, a special police unit drives stakes through vampires' hearts, Tunbridge Wells has been given over to Russia in war reparations, London to Sydney travel time is 40 minutes by Gravitube through the Earth's center, air travel is by lighter-than-air airship, cheese is contraband, there's a duty on custard, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis has been recreated from recovered DNA and now provides society with its minimum-wage untermenschen, time travel is a reality, and 249 wooly mammoths in nine herds migrate back and forth across Britain.
So little of this parallel universe makes sense that I at first doubted my ability to finish the book. But, intrepidly, I carried on.
The heroine of the story is Thursday Next, a Literary Detective in department 27 of SpecOps, the national law enforcement megaforce. The mission of SO-27, among other things, is to validate the authenticity of recently discovered works by dead authors. The title of the book refers to the ability of certain trained adepts to physically enter book plots in real time, much as Mary Poppins and her young charges were able to pop in and out of chalk pavement pictures in the film MARY POPPINS. This talent is so rare that, here, Next is coerced by a representative by the world's monolithic business corporation, Goliath, to rescue his unsavory half-brother previously marooned by Thursday within the pages of Poe's "The Raven" in the first book of the Next series, THE EYRE AFFAIR. In return, Goliath will restore Thursday's husband Landen, who has been eradicated. And, as if that wasn't enough of a bother, Thursday must also thwart the imminent destruction of all Life on Earth by rampant strawberry flavored Dream Topping.
Perhaps you can see where a linear thinker might suffer a migraine.
The enjoyment of becoming lost in LOST IN A GOOD BOOK isn't related to a nail-biter plot because what plot it possesses isn't; the word "peripeteia" comes to mind. Rather, the joy comes from the expectation of reading what clever quirkiness the frisky imagination of Fforde cranks out - sort of a present-day version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Indeed, the Cheshire Cat is one of the book's characters. It's that imagination that compels me to award the novel five stars though it goes against my grain.
I'm not particularly driven to read THE EYRE AFFAIR, but I have ordered the next in the series, THE WELL OF LOST PLOTS. It will undoubtedly spend time in the waiting room with the twenty-some more linear works awaiting my attention until I get the urge to lose myself in a bit of benign madness.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "They say the first time you save the world is the hardest.",
Thursday has just solved a difficult case, The Eyre Affair, in which she saves characters in Jane Eyre from murder and gives the book a better conclusion, and she has trapped the unscrupulous Jack Schitt of the Goliath Corporation inside Poe's "The Raven." In this sequel, the Goliath Corporation teaches Thursday a lesson, eradicating her husband, Landen Parke-Laine, by manipulating time so that he dies in an accident when he is a baby. Thursday, who has just found out that she is pregnant, now finds that she does not know who the baby's father is--because Landen never existed after the age of two. Blackmailed by Goliath, she must free Jack Schitt from "The Raven" if she ever wants to see Landen again. Miss Havisham from Dickens's Great Expectations, a long-time employee of Jurisfiction, takes her as an apprentice and tries to teach her how to get inside fiction without the Prose Portal and perhaps figure out a way to retrieve Landen.
Like The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book is the wackiest of pleasures, with off-the-wall literary characters performing outrageous deeds in which none of the "rules" of our universe apply. The plot and intrigue gain in complexity with the discovery of Cardenio, an unknown, and possibly phony, play by William Shakespeare, while pink slime threatens the existence of life on earth. The action is here episodic and the subplots do not really mesh, but each change of scene and subplot sets up opportunities for Fforde to show off his prodigious literary knowledge and wacky humor. The reader quickly becomes so caught up in the hullabaloo, that weaknesses, such as a looseness of plot and a lack of dramatic tension, can be excused. Commander Braxton Hicks, Akrid Snell, Chalk and Cheese, Dedman and Walken, Millon de Floss, Spike Stoker (the vampire containment expert), Alf Weddershaine and Sarah Nara, are as much a part of the fun as the outrageous puns, word play, and satire. The novel is high energy and high humor, and Fforde is well on his way to creating a heroine and a series which will gain him legions of fans. Mary Whipple
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good sophomore effort, but almost too much to handle,
Jasper Fforde returns his sassy literary detective of "The Eyre Affair" for a second escapade in "Lost in a Good Book," as she battles enough bad guys to make MI-5 jealous. A special operative tracking malfeasance as it relates to books and lit (in a world that craves Shakespeare more than Spears), Thursday finds herself blackmailed into retreiving a Goliath Corporation enforcer she previously left trapped in Poe's "The Raven." Her new husband erased by the time-traveling ChronoGuards, Thursday winds up stuck in an alternate timeline she can't undo. Add to this the mysterious appearance of an unknown Shakesparean work, throw in a bizarre set of coincidences that seem bent on wiping her out as well , then top it off with her time-hopping fugitive father showing her the end of the world will come in a few weeks unless she can stop it, and our poor heroine is up the Thames without a paddle.
But all is not lost, for Thursday has a new trick up her sleeve: she can jump into books without the aid of her uncle's Prose Portal (from the first book.) Her skill brings the attention of Jurisfiction, a motley assortment of literary figures who are responsible for maintaining the integrity of all written material. Apprenticed to Miss Haversham, she quickly builds her skills to the point that she can even enter into the verboten Poe books, saving the world along the way.
In what can only be described as a whirlwind of a comic sci-fi thriller, "Lost in a Good Book" finds Fforde ratcheting up the tension to unbearable levels. His writing chops are clearly a step up from "The Eyre Affair", but good grief! This book has enough plots, characters, action, and mayhem to be ten books. It's too much; the result being that nearly every scene is clipped in order to fit into its almost four hundred pages. This makes for an outstanding page-turner, but a confusing one to review. It actually lacks the depth of "The Eyre Affair" while - oddly enough - being more satisfying than its predecessor. Thursday has shed some of her Ally McBeal-ness, the villain is less over-the-top, and the author's gears are showing a bit less. The talent has caught up, but Jasper, please take it easy!
In my review of "The Eyre Affair" I commented that the book was "Douglas Adams Lite." Well, "Lost in a Good Book" begins its first page honoring Adams with an in-joke his fans will recognize. For anyone who has read both series, the comparisons with Adams' "Restaurant at the End of the Universe" are impossible to miss, but for those of us dying for that brand of humor and recklessness, "Lost in a Good Book" will definitely assuage the longing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first!,
This review is from: Lost in a Good Book (A Thursday Next Novel) (Paperback)It's rare that you find a sequel that succeeds where the first book succeeded and is actually better than the first. Sure, there are mystery series where the books get better because the characters are better defined, the plots more intense and intricate, and the pacing faster. Usually, this happens because the writer is just getting better. Jasper Fforde is good. He was really good in Eyre Affair. I mean really, really good.
And yet, he's gotten better.
How about that? Lost in a Good Book is great! A bit confusing at times but then that seems to be part of his charm. Fforde likes to get you lost on purpose. He explains himself in the end but his books are definitely for those who trust an author enough to lead you by the hand through some confusing stuff but have a good time all the while. Thursday Next is taken to a whole new level of a character and the introduction of new characters (especially Ms. Havisham) makes this series seem all the more better. I can't wait for the next book...
...but Potter comes out tonight and I must read the new book. Hope to leave a review in a few days of the new book.
...Please be better than Order of Phoenix... Please be better than Order of Phoenix...
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Lost in a Good Book (A Thursday Next Novel) by Jasper Fforde (Paperback - February 24, 2004)