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Cannonball Read V: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

By Kash | Book Reviews | February 4, 2013 | Comments ()


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Let me just get this out of the way: I. LOVE. THURSDAY. NEXT. Agent Next of course is Fforde's protagonist and ultimate badass. From what I understand he has written several different series, of which Lost in a Good Book is #2 for Thursday. The first book, The Eyre Affair, is also an excellent and entertaining read.

The book opens a few months after The Eyre Affair closes, with Agent Next attempting to evade any further PR related to her heroic feats. Without giving too much away from the first book, I'll try to explain the world where Thursday lives. It's a parallel universe basically. One that resembles a cross between Narnia and the dream episode of Buffy, with some Inception thrown in for good measure. It's 1985 in Britain, but with a heavy emphasis on literary greatness.

Thursday is a SpecOps agent in the Literary Detectives office (SO-27), and a Crimean war veteran, although the war is still being waged. The Goliath Corporation is a conglomerate that provides almost all goods for the country and acts as at least part of the government as well. Any events deemed too sensitive are heavily censored, especially Thursday's reason for traipsing around in Jane Eyre.

Traipsing in Jane Eyre, you say? Yeah. People can jump into books. HOW. COOL. IS. THAT?? Thursday's uncle invented a machine that allows you to visit with the characters of your favorite books, but it turns out that Thursday is able to do so just by using her imagination. My favorite part of this book is the development of Jurisfiction, which is kind of the SpecOps of the literary world.

Thursday becomes apprenticed to Miss Havisham (yes, that Miss Havisham), in what I'm hoping will lead to many adventures in this alternate universe. What I love about these books is that they're a kind of anti-historical fiction. Not in the way that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies may be, but the notion that the endings and characters we know only came about from the actions of Thursday and her crew, but they were originally something else entirely.

In Lost in a Good Book Thursday explores different types of literary works, and even gets caught in the ridiculousness that is Kafka. She's smart and she's strong, but she's not a stereotypical detective or insincere in any way. The differences between our world and hers are striking enough, but amusing for the most part. Bringing back neanderthals and dodos, a branch of SpecOps to fight werewolves and otherworldly creatures, traveling to Sydney and Tokyo via freefalling tubes, time travel, etc. It all provides for a fun and absolutely exciting experience.

Although it's not necessary to start with The Eyre Affair, I would recommend it. If only to get somewhat acquainted with the characters and their world. I loved Lost in a Good Book immeasurably, and I look forward to reading the next in the series, The Well of Lost Plots.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it, and for more of Kash's reviews, check out her blog, Kash of All Trades.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links
in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • scott

    Just smashed through 'The Woman Who Died A Lot'. Still a great series! AMC should seriously jump on that shit.

    My most prized possession is my Jasper FForde signed 'Eyre Affair'

  • damnitjanet

    I adore this whole series. Fforde's Miss Havisham is a PHENOMENAL re-imagining of a well-known character. Thursday is AMAZING. I've heard rumors for years that they want to film these books, and while I would love to see them, I don't want Hollywood to stank up my favorite heroine. How can you NOT love a girl who has a pet dodo?

    I didn't even KNOW about Shades of Grey until I found it in the bargain bin at, of all places, Wal-Mart. Fforde, and Martin---WRITE MOAR FASTER!!!!!!!!!

  • badkittyuno

    Love these books. Well of Lost Plots is great, FYI

  • JH

    I used to love the Thursday Next series until I found out Fforde was stridently anti-fanfiction of his books. He's recently mellowed on the topic, but the blatant hypocrisy just turned me off.

  • Zirza

    Yowza. Hypocrisy, indeed.

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    One of my favorite series! So clever! And Thursday Next is such an awesome character.

  • BlackRabbit

    Yes, these books are excellent. I liked the Jurisfiction ones more than Nursery Crimes, but both are pretty enjoyable. It's astounding how many references Fforde makes in his books, and his use of footnotes is fun. I'm concerned about how close his name is to "fnord", but that's another issue. Good review, too.

  • kilmo

    Great review!

    I love this series. It's so imaginative and made me seek out the original sources because I didn't get some of the jokes/tropes/etc.

    Fforde has a couple series: Nursery Crimes, Shades of Grey (not that one) and the Dragonslayer trilogy. The Dragonslayer is aimed at young adults, but has all the same heart and sense of humour even though it takes place in a different universe.

    I was so mad when I finished the series so quickly, because I want more! Next books are going to be released in 2014.

  • Anne At Large

    I was so excited when Shades of Grey came out and it KILLED me when I realized it was the first in a series. He is on my "Dude, you need to write faster" list right next to Terry Pratchett.

  • Zirza

    I've read The Eyre Affaire. I wanted to like it, I really did. It seemed exactly like the sort of book I would like. And yet it took me ages to get through. The thought that I ought to like it kept hovering in my head, yet I didn't enjoy it at all. I finished it because I wanted to give it a chance, but it's just not my thing.
    I can sort of see why people like it, though.

  • ang

    I'm sort of the opposite. I REALLY liked The Eyre Affair, thought Lost
    in a Good Book was pretty great, but then with each subsequent book in
    the series, my enjoyment level dropped. The last one I read was First
    Among Sequels. At the end I thought 'well, I've had enough of that.'

  • I love this series and The Well of Lost Plots is my absolute favourite. And probably one of my absolute favourites books ever, it is so clever. Everything that you love about Lost in Good Book times a hundred.

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