Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Lost in a Good Book

Today's my last free day for several days as we have family visiting until Saturday. Luckily I finished my latest book just at the right time to review it today, before I disappear!

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde is my book three for Carl's Once Upon a Time V challenge. My daughter very kindly grabbed it for me from the city library in Exeter and I decided to read it quickly so that it can go back and free up the space on her ticket. (Her and her husand, and our grand-daughter for that matter, always max out their library cards with books and then share them as they all, mostly, read the same thing.) Anyhoo, like I said, this my book three for the challenge and so far I'm quite pleased with the way it's going. Two of the books were off the tbr pool I put aside - and one from the library.

Thursday Next, SpecOps agent for LiteraTec, is now very happily married to Landen Parke-Laine. Or at least she has been. Thursday was responsible for putting the evil Jack Schitt, from the Goliath corporation, into The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe and leaving him there as punishment after the events of The Eyre Affair. Now the corporation, in the shape of Jack's brother, want him back. In order to do this they've 'eradicated' Landen and won't return him unless Thursday does what they want. History has been altered and Landen actually died when he was two in a drowning accident, whereas in reality he was saved by his father. But the portal book invented by her uncle has been destroyed and her uncle has retired so the way into books is no longer clear to Thursday.

And that's not the only problem Thursday has. Her father (a sort of time-travelling agent) visits her and tells her the world is going to end in two weeks and it's up to her to save it. Someone is out to kill her and that person's methods smack of Acheron Hades... but he's dead... isn't he? The people she works for even seem to have it in for her, despite her defeat of Hades. And worst of all she's now a celebrity and expected to do PR in the form of chat shows and public appearances.

Landen's eradication is her main priority though. Thursday's search takes her to a library - the biggest she has ever seen. It contains all the books ever written and all of those that will be written. And there she meets The Cheshire Cat who runs the library, and a group of special agents from books whose task it is to police the book world. Thursday finds herself apprenticed to Miss Havisham, from Great Expectations, not the frail old lady of the book but an old lady who likes fast cars and drives them like a crazy woman. Will Thursday be able to learn to book hop quickly enough to save Landen, before the world ends or before whoever is after her kills her?

Difficult to explain the plot of this one to be honest. So much going on and so many plot twists and turns. And I'm a bit hopeless at following time travel plots anyway. Regardless of all that, Lost in a Good Book is a worthy sequel to The Eyre Affair. To be honest, I think I liked it even more.

My favourite character was definitely Miss Havisham who went around in her wedding dress... and trainers... hates men, naturally, and loves fast cars. The world she inhabits is a fascinating one. The library is *huge* and made me drool quite frankly - it has to go down as one of the all-time amazing literary libraries!

There's much that's quirky and inventive about these books. A method of travel that takes you right through the centre of the earth. Mammoths brought back from extinction and trampling people's gardens on their annual migration through Swindon. Neanderthals also brought back from extinction, to do menial tasks, but feeling undervalued and looking for equality. A Kafka-like trial which made me realise that I don't want to read Kafka! LOL. I could go on and on... The books are pacey, unpredictable, funny, clever - unique in my opinion. A book lover's joy if you enjoy a bit of craziness. Not for everyone, but certainly for me.



DesLily said...

I see said the blind me.. another book within a book!those are always enjoyable. Glad you have found yet another series to enjoy! *snort*

I am reading Pathfinder (Orson Scott Card) and have read only 100 pgs and I can't say that it's grabbing me..it better happen soon or this book gets put aside. :o(
I want to like him since so many love him but the few tries at Orson just don't do it for me.

Cath said...

Pat: I wanted to like OSC too, and Ender's Game wasn't bad I suppose. But I hate his opinions and they show in his books, so I probably won't be reading any more books by him because quite frankly, I didn't think his writing was that special.

Yep... exactly what I needed... another new series. And I have several other new ones on my pile for OUaT. I probably need therapy.

GeraniumCat said...

Such fun, isn't it! I think Miss Havisham is tremendous, and I love the cat and oh, couldn't you just live in that library...and the footnotes, and all the silly ads...I was so happy while I was reading it.

Kim said...

Silly tickles me pink. I hadn't heard of the series but it's on the list now :)

Kailana said...

I really must read on in this series... I keep forgetting to find the next book I have to read.

As to the comments above, I am not crazy about OSC either. I also wanted to love him because so many people do, but it just hasn't happened...

Yvette said...

I love this book! Read it a while back and since then I've been singing the Thursday Next's praises to anyone who'll listen. I'm so glad you liked it, Cath.

Jasper Fforde is a total wonder!

Cath said...

GeraniumCat: Miss Havisham was probably the best thing about the book. But yeah, also the cat... lots to love about this one.

Kim: If you decide to read this series I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.

Kelly: Well that now makes three of us who're not that struck on OSC, now I don't feel quite so alone. ;-p

Yvettte: I think I agree that Jasper Fforde is a total wonder. Soooo clever, and I love that in an author.

animewookie said...

There's a lot going on in this series, it sounds like a whirlwind of a good time :D

fiction-books said...

Hi Cath,

I have to confess that Fforde is one author that I have never been tempted to read.

They always sound a bit far-fetched and too 'comicky' for me, but never say never!!

If I were to give him a try, can you recommend a book that would be a good starting point, so that I could understand the genre of writing and where he is coming from with his storylines?


Cath said...

Kelly: 'Whirlwind' is a good description. In fact the book is so busy it's quite hard to describe accurately.

Yvonne: The Eyre Affair would be the best place to start, although my husband started elsewhere and read them all out of order. It didn't seem to bother him but I have a thing about reading a series in order. Whether they would be your thing I'm not sure. There is certainly an element of mystery and crime which would certainly help. :-)

Susan said...

Oh Cath, I am so excited that you are enjoying the Jasper Fforde series!! I really enjoyed reading your review for this one. I enjoyed all the books so far, but can't write about the plots as well as you do. I want to live in that library too and be a special Ops agent like Thursday, don't you? Geranium Cat is right too, the footnotes are hilarious.

Cath said...

Susan: I wondered if this was a series that you'd also read. It seemed like your kind of thing and it obviously is. (Not sure why I'm so thrilled about this... lol.) Oh yes, I would kill to just visit that library let alone live there. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a 'heaven' like that for booklovers when we die? I have to search out The Well of Lost Plots now, as our town library doesn't have it. I'll either reserve it or make a special visit to Exeter city library... which is dangerous as I'm sure to come away with bags full of books. Hopeless.