Monday, February 2, 2009

Review: The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book

I read The Eyre Affair a few weeks ago and recently finished the sequel, Lost in a Good Book, so I thought it might be a good idea to review these together.

The Eyre Affair Amazon description:
Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. … Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit [by Charles Dickens] and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude . . .

Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids . . .

Lost in a Good Book Amazon description:
The inventive, exuberant, and totally original literary fun that began with The Eyre Affair continues with Jasper Fforde’s magnificent second adventure starring the resourceful, fearless literary sleuth Thursday Next. When Landen, the love of her life, is eradicated by the corrupt multinational Goliath Corporation, Thursday must moonlight as a Prose Resource Operative of Jurisfiction—the police force inside books. She is apprenticed to the man-hating Miss Havisham from Dickens’s Great Expectations, who grudgingly shows Thursday the ropes. And she gains just enough skill to get herself in a real mess entering the pages of Poe’s “The Raven.” What she really wants is to get Landen back. But this latest mission is not without further complications. Along with jumping into the works of Kafka and Austen, and even Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, Thursday finds herself the target of a series of potentially lethal coincidences, the authenticator of a newly discovered play by the Bard himself, and the only one who can prevent an unidentifiable pink sludge from engulfing all life on Earth.

Reading the back of the book description for The Eyre Affair did not properly prepare me for reading this book. It is weird. In addition to the dodos, the Prose Portal and time travel, there are also random vampires, terrible (or terribly funny) puns everywhere and a crazy plot. It took me a while to decide what I thought about this book. But you know what? I really liked it. It’s a fun book to read – fast moving, lots of silliness, interesting main characters (though the secondary characters are pretty one dimensional), a satisfying ending. While I’m not sure it’s necessary in order to enjoy The Eyre Affair, I do love Jane Eyre, which added layer to my appreciation of The Eyre Affair.

Lost in a Good Book picks up where The Eyre Affair left off. It is very much a sequel in that I can’t really imagine someone reading Lost in a Good Book without having first read The Eyre Affair. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I do think this book doesn’t quite stand on its own as well as the first one did. It is also clearly setting up for the next in the series, which annoys me a little. That said, it’s a fun book to read. Miss Havisham (yes, that one, with the musty wedding dress) is a hoot and while I’d never want to spend time with her in person, she’s a fun character.

All in all, I’m thrilled to have discovered a new author to enjoy. Jasper Fforde is a very creative writer and I look forward to reading more from him.

Buy The Eyre Affair on Amazon.
Buy Lost in a Good Book


  1. Thanks for this review Lorin. =) Do I have to read Jane Eyre to be able to understand this book? =) Another dumb question (because I know I can just Google it), what are dodos? =)

  2. Birds! Dodos are birds! XD hahaha...

  3. You don't have to read Jane Eyre to read this book, though it does make it easier to get all the references. Plus, Jane Eyre is a great book to read on its own merits.

    Thanks for visiting!


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