I think this series is just going to get better and better! Although book three took a lot longer to read that the first two, it was because of my own travels, being sick and once again sinking into the sandbox world of Minecraft, this time on PS4. Either way, it’s my first book of 2016 and what a great way to transition to a new year.
This book picks up right after Lost in a Good Book and takes place almost exclusively in the Book World! I loved learning even more about Jurisfiction, the Council of Genres, Text Grand Central and the internal politics of them all. I cannot wait to see where the series goes over the next few books. I think I’m going to finish out those I have left on my shelf, Something Rotten and First Among Sequels and then take a break from Thursday Next, but I will finish the series, it’s too good not to! I already want to check out Fforde’s other series, Nursery Crime, a companion Book World series which he sets up in this novel (see the last quote under additional quotes)!
It’s hard to say what I like most about this series. The wit is astounding and I’m sure there is so much that I’m missing, but Fforde is such a great writer that it works on so many levels, take this quote for example,
“The LiteraSea is the basis for all prose written in roman script. It’s connected to the Searyllic Ocean somewhere, but I don’t know the details. You know what this means, don’t you?” (217)
The play on words, text and font is just so creative. Literacy and LiteraSea to embody an actual body of water made of words and letters, and the Searyllic Ocean for the Cyrillic alphabet—Mind. Blown. And then this brief bit from a longer passage which made my brain hurt but definitely made me laugh at the problems writers and book characters (in this world at least) have:
“You would have thought that that first had had had had good occasion to be seen as had, had you not? Had had had approval but had had had not; equally it is true to say that that that that had had approval but that that other that that had not.” (254)
Seriously, try figuring out WTF they’re talking about without having to read it multiple times out loud!
Fforde is obviously a genius and he even answered my questions about whether he’s writing this on such a meta level that it actually made my brain hurt. I was curious about whether he would acknowledge that this was a book and Thursday was a character and he did on a couple of occasions once in passing and then again in the final notes of the book (see the closing line, it doesn’t reveal anything).
And of course there was more Wuthering Heights! I think it was hilarious that the entire cast of Wuthering Heights had to go to rage counselling sessions
“Thank you. Now, all this yelling is not going to help, and if we are to do anything about the rage inside Wuthering Heights, we are going to have to act like civilized human beings and discuss our feelings sensibly.” (128)
and ultimately had to have the first person narrative decided by a King Solomon franchise which then aligned it with the version of Wuthering Heights we all know and love (right!?).
If there was one thing that I wasn’t too enthusiastic about in this novel was Thursday’s internal battle with her memory. This was a combination of Fforde’s great writing and my interest in the book world. He wrote Thursday so well that as she forgot things I was like wait no don’t forget and then when it came up again I was like wait seriously again! But this was deliberate and I appreciate Fforde’s skills in making me think this.
I cannot wait to find out the resolution of the series, but I don’t know if that will ever happen! Seems like Fforde has a quite a few works including a new Thursday Next novel (Dark Reading Matter) which has been four years in the waiting according to what I can find. I won’t hold my breath though as it looks like he’s moved on to other series and there’s been such a big gap since his last Thursday Next or Nursery Crimes book.
Recommendation: I would definitely recommend it! Although, Having tried to explain why recently to someone it is almost impossible to explain why it’s so great! There’s such a world building that slowly happens you can’t even begin to say anything other than “read it!”
Opening Line: “Making one’s home in an unpublished novel wasn’t without its compensations.”
Closing Line: “The ‘galactic cleansing’ policy undertaken by Emperor Zhark is a personal vision of the emperor’s, and its inclusion in this work does not constitute tacit approval by the author or the publisher for any such projects, howsoever undertaken. Warning: The author may have eaten nuts while writing this book. Made wholly on location within the Well of Lost Plots. (Not whited out as it’s a non spoiler and hilarious!)
Additional Quotes from The Well of Lost Plots
“Books may look like nothing more than words on a page, but they are actually an infinitely complex imaginotransference technology that translates odd, inky squiggles into pictures inside your head. Vast storycode engines at Text Grand Central throughput the images to the readers as they scan the text in the Outland.” (48)
“‘Write is only the word we use to describe the recording process,’ replied Snell as we walked along. ‘The Well of Lost Plots is where we interface the writer’s imagination with the characters and plots so that it will make sense in the reader’s mind. After all, reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the smell of a warm summer’s breeze on their face, they should reserve as much praise for themselves as they do for the writer—perhaps more.'” (48)
“I couldn’t remember the last time I had a girls’ day out—certainly not this decade. Most of my clothes came mail order—when did I ever have time for shopping?” (207)
“Failure concentrates the mind wonderuflly. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough.” (255)
“‘Anything is possible in the BookWorld,’ murmured Miss Havisham. ‘The only barriers are those of the human imagination. See the other libraries?’ Not more than five miles distant, just visible in the aerial haze, was another tower like ours, and beyond that, another—and over to my right, six more. We were just one towering library of hundreds—or perhaps thousands.” (258)
“‘Ah!’ he said, scanning the words eagerly. ‘It’s Easter in Reading—a bad time for eggs—and Humpty-Dumpty is found shattered beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. . . .'” (360)