Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Eyre Affair, Thursday Next Novels, Book 1

This has been on my TBR list for months and now that I’m reading it, I’m pretty mad at myself for putting it off so long. It’s funny, irreverent, and filled with sly inside jokes about classic books. If I had started reading this months ago, I could have been caught up with the series by now. Effective time management is not one of my skills.

The Eyre Affair is set in an (sort-of) alternate history England, year 1985, where authors are revered like rock stars. Books are sold on the black market almost like drugs. Selling a forged book is a crime that can get you some serious jail time. Scientific invention is more like magic. Richard III is performed like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with audience participation. Time travel is common-place and thanks to cloning, you too can have a pet dodo. (Does all of this sound awesome? Because it is totally awesome.) Thursday Next is a SpecOps LiteraTec, which is like a special agent for book-related crime. Someone is stealing the original manuscripts of beloved classics and kidnapping characters from the stories. Changing the original of a book changes ALL of the books in print because …magic. Thursday is assigned to help with the case. She’s already at the top of her division, and she hopes this is the case that will let her continue to move up the ranks.

This book is as close to being perfect as something can be. I love every single thing about this story, with two exceptions. The first is that the villain is more of a caricature than a character. I rolled my eyes at him more than once. The second is there are almost no physical descriptions of anyone. I have no idea what Thursday looks like. I have no idea what ANYONE looks like. I find this to be very troubling. Other than that, I say this book is eminently readable. I’m buying a copy so I can read it again.

The Eyre Affair, Thursday Next Novels, Book 1 by Jasper Fforde


  1. I am reading this now and I had to go out of my way to find your review of this because I wanted to mention, re: no character descriptions of anyone, Thursday Next is absolutely the Deschanel that is not Zooey (uh, Emily?), only British, and without the cloud of suck that surrounds her always because of Bones (I know people love this show. I can't possibly imagine why.)

    My brain solved your problem, or; there: I fixed it.

    Also I think I love the idea of this book more than this actual book. This statement fills me with self-loathing. I want this to be my favorite book ever but I am reeeeally struggling to get through it. It's kinda boring! I can only take so many emotionally stunted, capital-c-Clever sentences in a row! And I can't tell any of the cop characters apart, so I'm confused most of the time.

  2. Boo! Actually, I've pretty much stopped reading this series altogether. I made it to book 4 and I just don't care anymore. I did/do really love The Eyre Affair, but I think maybe the whole series is too clever for it's own good.