I wanted to love this a lot more than I did, but that being said I did really enjoy it. I picked this one up back in May of last year at the bi-annual Friends of the Library book sale. I then almost immediately picked up Lost In A Good Book and even more recently (as in this past weekend), picked up the next three in the Thursday Next series: The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten and First Among Sequels! Friends have told me that the series get betters and I’m clearly hoping that happens as I’ve bought through the fifth book in the series.
I think where I struggled with getting into this one was the world building. The world of Thursday Next is a fascinating place full of mystery, technology and a love of literature I would jump into in a heartbeat, war and all.
As much as the world building delayed my enjoyment of the novel, I also think I struggled a bit because I’m not a big fan of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë isn’t exactly my favorite Brontë. So there were a bit of my own personal reading biases that kept me from really enjoying the novel. I did think that Acheron Hades was a truly delightful villain.
I hope in the future novels Hades returns or we at least learn more about his story. There seemed to be so much written in the background that I just wanted more! Same thing with Thursday’s dad! There were so many hints and ideas of what could or could not happen with her dad that I want to know those!
I think it says a lot about Fforde’s writing when you can laugh at some of the crazy things that appear in this novel. And then just the idea of being able to move in and out of fiction, yes please.
“Keep this under your hat, Thursday, but I’m beginning to think that it is. The barriers between reality and fiction are softer than we think; a bit like a frozen lake. Hundreds of people can walk across it, but then one evening a think spot develops and someone falls through; the hole is frozen over by the following morning.” (206)
I already really like the premise of the next novel so I can’t wait to start it. This one wrapped up with a great teaser.
Recommendation: I’m hoping my friends are correct and the next one will pick up a good bit faster than this one. But I would recommend this one, once it picked up towards the middle of the novel it got a lot better!
Opening Line: “My father had a face that could stop a clock.”
Closing Line: “‘No,’ i replied with a smile. ‘In fact, I think I’m only just beginning! . . .” (Whited out, to avoid spoilers.)
Additional Quotes from The Eyre Affair
“With the enthusiasm for art and literature in the population undiminished, the LiteraTec’s job was becoming increasingly difficult, made worse by a very limited budget.” (13)
“Comrades, we stand on the very brink of an act of artistic barbarism so monstrous that I am almost ashamed of it myself.” (158)