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.