Book Review: Shades of Grey

This is the book cover artwork that is used in North America. Britain/Europe received a different cover.

This is the book cover artwork that is used in North America. Britain/Europe received a different cover.

Jasper Fforde is one of my favourite authors. He has a whimsical-yet-intellectual type of writing style that keeps you interested even (akin to Douglas Adams). Fforde is, of course, most notable for his Thursday Next series. I wrote Book Reviews for most of the books in that series, beginning with The Eyre Affair. When I was done reading that series (though as I write this post I realize there is a new Thursday Next book out that I absolutely must read), I was itching for more Fforde and so expanded out into his other series, which led me to Shades of Grey 1: The Road to High Saffron.
I had no idea what to expect with this book, but was happy to find that I kept to Fforde’s usual style of witty, charming, and accessible writing mixed with a multitude of literary references (both noticed and unnoticed, I presume). I absolutely enjoyed the characters he created for the book and his ability to develop them in a 3 dimensional way.
The story’s protagonist, Eddie Russet, lives in Chromatica, a world where everything is controlled by the Colortocracy. The entire society is dominated by color, and Eddie’s place in society is dictated the same. Eddie is a ‘Red;’ this means he is only able to see the colour red. This puts him rather low in the Colortocracy; for instance, he cannot turn down an ‘order’ from a ‘Green.’ The plot surrounds Eddie’s encounter with a ‘Grey’ named Jane who’s job is to reveal the underlying corruption in Chromatica, and have him join her side in rebellion.
I enjoyed the book very much, and will definitely be looking to pick up the sequel, whenever it comes out.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: First Among Sequels

The 5th in the Thursday Next series, First Among Sequels does not disappoint. Jasper Fforde is a very creative and unique writer; I highly recommend getting on the band wagon and reading The Eyre Affair.

In the last installment, we left Thursday in 1988 right after winning the superhoop. Fast forward 15 years and Thursday now has quite a large family. Friday (Landon and Thursday’s son) was two in the last book, and is now a teenage. They also have a daughter named Tuesday, and another daughter named Jenny (though – this daughter is not real). We’re now in a world of internet, cell phones, rock bands, and bad politics.
Since the last book, the SpecOps have been dissolved, and Thursday is now part of one of the leading floor companies in swindon. Though that doesn’t stop her from doing some off the books Literary and Jurisfiction work. This time Thursday finds herself battling for the fate of the world’s timeline. Friday, her son, is supposed to be one of the best Chronoguard’s ever, but he can’t seem to get out of bed.
I don’t have much to say about this book that I haven’t said in my reviews of the other 4 in the series. I love reading these, and will continue…with the next novel to come out sometime this year.
Keep in mind Jasper Fforde also writes Nursery Crimes, which is a series treating standard nursery rhymes as detective novels, and another series Shades of Grey.
happy reading!

Book Review: Something Rotten

This is the fourth installment in the Thursday Next series written by Jasper Fforde and he continues to surprise me. I’ve written a bit on the other three I’ve read already, so I won’t go over the basic plot.

In this iteration, Thursday is finally back in the real world, though she’s still needed to help fix the Book world problems quite frequently during the story. In the real world she now sets herself on getting her life back together. Her young son Friday is now 2 and a half, she has no job, no husband, and a massive debt.
On top of all that, Hamlet is being re-written from the inside, a fictional character from a Daphne Farquitt novel is trying to take over the world with the Goliath corporation behind it, and the world is going to end if the Swindon Mallets don’t win the superhoop! It sounds crazy I know. What I really like about these books is the freedom they posses. Fforde is able to write whatever he wants, however he wants. He can use footnotes, or different fonts along very humorous plot devices. His fictional England is a very open one. Makes reading a very different experience.
My favourite part of this book is Thursday getting her husband back. In an attempt to force Thursday into doing what they wanted, the Goliath corporation eradicated her husband (went back in time and killed him). This occurred in an earlier iteration of the series, and Thursday has been husbandless since (not to mention Friday being fatherless). In this book, Landen comes back. Very happy to read that!
I’m off to the next one, called First Among Sequels. And I believe Fforde is penning a 6th book in the series as we speak…
happy reading!

Book Review: The Well of Lost Plots

The Well of Lost Plots is the third book in the Thursday Next series written by Jasper Fforde. I’ve reviewed the previous two books, The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book so check those out to see what I thought.

If you’ve read those posts then you’ll see that I am quite impressed. Fforde has done something very original with this series and I highly recommend the whole series.
A quick recap: Thursday Next is a SpecOps agent in swindon england in the year 1985. She lives in a fictional england where she is a literatec , or a person who hunts down literary perpetrators. What’s really original about these novels is that the lines between the book world and the real world are not firm. Thursday is able to cross over INTO novels and be IN the story.
In this installment, Fforde has really delved into his BookWorld. This is the world of books wherein all characters from all novels ever written reside. Thursday has taken leave from her real life in swindon to live in the book world while she is pregnant with her kid, and figures out how to deal with her husband, Landen being eradicated. She becomes a trainee Jurisfiction agent, basically the policing body within the bookworld. These are the people who keep the characters following the rules.
A lot happens in this one and it would be impossible to describe it here. The basic plot is that Thursday must battle the younger sister of Achron Hades, her nemesis from the first novel. The sister, Aornis, is a mneumonomorph, meaning she is able to erase the memory of her victims.
Thursday also becomes acquainted with the Great Library, a HUGE library that holds every piece of literature ever written. The library is curated by the Cat from Alice in Wonderland, and has 26 floors, one for each letter of the alphabet (author last name). She also learns about the well of lost plots, another 26 floors below the great library where books that were written but never completed are stored. The underbelly of the great library.
Thursday goes in and out of MANY stories, meets many characters, and thwarts evil. Fforde’s quirky and quick witted style of writing does not disappoint, and you’ll be happily surprised with all the fun things he does with the written word.
I HIGHLY recommend.
I have it on good authority that the fourth book is the best in the series (of 5 at the moment). So I’m on to read that one now.

Book Review: Lost in a Good Book

Lost in a Good Book is the second novel in the Thursday Next series authored by Jasper Fforde. If you didn’t read my review of the first installment then go read it first.

To recap: Thursday Next is the main character in these books and she is a literatec in the special operations network in 1985 England. Her job is to investigate literary criminals..i.e. someone who counterfeits authors.
I mentioned in the last review that these books are amazing. This one did not disappoint either. After defeating acheron hades, returning to the real world, and marrying her husband landon, Thursday begins an entirely new adventure this time MUCH further into the world of books. The first story only scratched the surface of what Fforde had in store for us.
In this book, Thursday is introduced to the great library, where all books that have ever been written and ever will be written are stored. This library exists entirely in the literary world and you have to ‘read-in’ to get there. A fun twist is the library is curated by the cat from alice in wonderland. I can’t even describe how rich the book is with plays on grammer, spelling, literary devices, literary references, and other fun things. Can you imagine having a conversation with someone through footnotes?* Fforde has so much fun with the written word it’s hard not to love these books.
Thursday becomes inducted into the Jurisfiction, which is a policing system of characters from books that make sure the literary world stays intact and follows the rules. Thursday is apprenticed to Miss Havishum of Great Expectations to show her the ropes. While trying to get her husband back, Thursday moves in and out of books and the real world, Dodges decreasing entropy, and struggles to keep reality straight.
I’m already halfway through the next book called ‘The Well of Lost Plots’ and it’s just as good as the last two. I highly encourage reading this series, you’ll never think of books the same way.
happy reading!
*It goes something like this.