If you want a hilarious read that will have people looking at you funny on public transportation, then this should definitely be on your list. I was having a bad week when I started this and within the first 10 pages I was smiling and noticing small things around me that made my week 100 times better.
I first heard of this book in one of the final Books on the Nightstand episodes (Podcast link) and thought it sounded intriguing. So when someone from Dutton reached out to me about a review copy I jumped at the opportunity.* But first a brief aside.
I must say Dutton is hitting it out of the park with books I enjoy! I have at least one, but probably two more upcoming books that I’m planning to read from them on my shelf. This doesn’t count for the numerous I’ve already responded to including Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes from late 2015 and Fool Me Once and The Stranger from earlier this year. And I haven’t even said yes to all of them, some of the others didn’t fit what I wanted to read at the time, but overall I’ve enjoyed them! Now on to my response.
This was incredibly entertaining and fascinatingly fun to read, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. I think perhaps I’ve read too many Austen fan-fiction novels that fit into one of two molds: modern retelling or prequel/sequel. There are the occasional paranormal/sci-fi mash-ups but mostly they fit within those first two molds. This novel was completely different.
I knew it would be different because the Brontë’s are such different writers, but I wasn’t aware how different it would be in terms of fan-fiction. I’ve only read a few Brontë fan-fiction works, 50% or more of which made me want better stories or better writing. When I reached out to the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for a review copy I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, but I’m definitely glad I requested it!*
The bad news is that the trilogy is finally over. I read this book in less than 48 hours and even I’m impressed with that because I had to go to work AND I had trivia with my friends. (They have no idea how close I was to bailing.) The good news is that I’m exhausted because of how great it was and I can FINALLY watch the SyFy TV series without fear of spoilers!
This series was definitely one of those books/series where you feel as if you’ve lived multiple lives and then when it ends you just feel empty inside. I’ll probably take a day or two before I try to dive into anything else. The Magician’s Land was an excellent follow up to The Magician King and The Magicians. If you don’t want spoilers for the first two books I probably would just skip this post and come back when you’ve read them.
I finally got this one from the library and I’m on hold for the final book, the bf bought it recently, so we all know I’ll steal his Kindle to blaze through it before I even get close to being off the hold list at the library. I would’ve read this one even faster, but (unfortunately) I had to be sociable this weekend and had to actually do work in my day-job, pesky things.
Picking up not too long after the last book, The Magician King takes place almost exclusively in Fillory, the imaginary world (a la Narnia) in which Quentin and friends now live. I don’t know how I missed it, but at the end of the first book there was a huge OMG moment that I really want to talk about, but won’t until after the jump. (The TV show gives it away in the first episode.) I guess I was so enthralled I did not make the connection to who the third person was who came to get Quentin!? I have no idea! So if you don’t want spoilers for The MagiciansI probably wouldn’t read the rest of this response. (Or at least skip to the next bold line.)
I first read Fun Home in undergrad after my friend Mia gave me a copy not long after it came out in paperback. (I’m pretty sure it was paperback and I’m pretty sure it was Mia. I wasn’t so great at tracking who, when or where books came from back then…oh the olden days :-D)
Either way, I remember thoroughly loving it that first time I read it. I even went out of my way to read Camus’ A Happy Death after I finished even though I have very little recollection of it now other than these quotes I saved on a proto-blog I had that I’m pretty sure it was called East Coast Traditional Meets West Coast Casual or something like that (I stole it from a furniture magazine.)
This series has finally slowed down. This isn’t a detraction, just a statement. Picking up more than 14 years after the end of Something Rotten, First Among Sequels just didn’t feel quite the same. Don’t get me wrong, there was absurdity, Fforde’s genius pushes the boundaries and Thursday Next is still a great character, but it just wasn’t the same.
As I mentioned in my post about Something Rotten I found out after I’d started this novel that the last three of the published novels in the Thursday Next series are actually a second series and not the same. It’s a little misleading as websites like Goodreads and Amazon group them together. There’s even a compendium of the first five: A Thursday Next Digital Collection: Novels 1-5 (Amazon Link). If I would’ve known about the time gap and the “separate series” portion I would’ve paused after book four instead of five, but oh well.
Just when you think it can’t get any stranger, Jasper Fforde makes sure to let you know it can and it will:
“The fate of all life on this beautiful planet decided on the swing of a croquet mallet.” (351)
I mean COME ON! Anyone who can turn croquet into a full-contact sport and make me want to watch it has to be a genius right?
I also can’t believe it took me until almost 12 hours later to finally connect the title to most of the story, as in hey this story has a lot about Hamlet in it and the quote “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” even appears! Thanks Fforde for reminding me I’m just another cog in the human machine. Epic fail on my part.