Sunday, 8 April 2012

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde is the sixth book in his apparently ongoing Thursday Next saga. This review doesn’t contain spoilers for previous books.

The Thursday Next books are based around the premise that BookWorld, the reality in which all fiction (and non-fiction, come to that) comes to life, is a real place. Thursday Next, in earlier books, has adventures travelling in an out of BookWorld with evil corporation and miscellaneous bad guys doing, er, bad things both in RealWorld and BookWorld. It’s an enjoyable series. The first book is The Eyre Affair, involving shenanigans in Jane Eyre. If you’re a book geek (and especially if you’ve read some of the classics, although I haven’t and was still able to enjoy the books) I recommend them. The first few books should be mandated book geek reading. ;-p

On the other hand, One of Our Thursdays is Missing is not a place to start reading this series. It depends a little too heavily on having a knowledge of earlier books. It’s set mostly in BookWorld just as BookWorld undergoes a restructuring. That part isn’t problematic as new BookWorld is new for all readers. But later RealWorld comes up and Thursday’s RealWorld bears only a passing similarity to ours. I’d actually forgotten about that until it came up but at least I’d read the earlier books and had those memories to fall back on. I think a new reader would have found that section quite confusing.

The set up for One of Our Thursdays is Missing is that RealWorld Thursday has (surprise!) gone missing. BookWorld Thursday, the one playing Thursday in the novelisations of Thursday’s adventures (which aren’t quite identical to the earlier books in the series but are closely related… it’s all very meta) has to work out what happened. And why Real Thursday is missing. And so forth. Also there are peace talks that Real Thursday was supposed to attend which may or may not have something to do with her disappearance but by golly it’s all a bit of a problem.

I didn’t hate the book. I quite enjoyed the first third or so of it. (Whether or not this was because I was suffering delusions due to prolonged lack of sleep is debatable.) But I felt it lagged from them onwards. It was amusing — the humour wasn’t the problem — but it just left me a little cold. I read three other books while still in the middle of this one, which doesn’t say much for it’s ability to keep my attention.

Overall, I’d recommend it to fans of Fforde’s other work who have read the previous books. (Actually, having read all previous books isn’t strictly necessary. The plot is self-contained, it’s just the world-building that isn’t. However, as I remember enjoying the rest of the Thursday Next books, I do recommend reading them before getting to this one, lest One of Our Thursdays is Missing put you off the others.)

3.5 / 5 stars

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