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Invoking the spirit, themes, or actual plots and characters of seemingly every author in the English Language--but most obviously the writing style of Douglas Adams and Woody Allen's idea of being able to inhabit the great books--Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series can't help but feel familiar, and at times derivative. There's so much going on in this book--populated by everyone from aliens to Neanderthals to a giant evil corporation to various fictional icons--that I'm still not sure whether I was too lost to miss the plot or there just wasn't one. The strength of the book is ultimately its weakness: Mr. Fforde has himself quite a bit of fun critiquing literature from within and without its actual pages, but the in-jokes, puns, jibes, and japes just get to be too much. While we start out laughing the reader can't help but eventually feeling like he's being pummeled. This is the fifth in the series and they're selling so well it may be that no one edits him anymore. I'd not be surprised if the first, The Eyre Affair, is considerably tighter and more enjoyable. But, personally, I'm too exhausted to find out.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (C)

  

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Mystery
Jasper Fforde Links:

    -AUTHOR SITE: Fforde Central Station
    - WIKIPEDIA: Jasper Fforde
    - FILMOGRAPHY: Jasper Fforde (IMDB)
    -INFO: Jasper Fforde (Contemporary Writers)
    -GOOGLE BOOKS: First Among Sequels
    -STORY: The Locked Room Mystery mystery: Locked Room Mystery is dead! Can you work out the culprit in this witty short story by Jasper Fforde, author of the popular Thursday Next mystery novels? (Jasper Fforde, 12/24/07, The Guardian)
    -PROFILE: Marcel Berlins meets the cult crime writer Jasper Fforde (Marcel Berlins, 6/23/07, Times of London)
    -INTERVIEW: with Jasper Fforde (Simone Swink, January Magazine)
    -INTERVIEW: Jasper Fforde: "Underneath the guise of research, I get to pull up on the couch with great books." (interviewed by Ron Hogan, Beatrice)
    - INTERVIEW: AUTHOR INTERVIEW: A Conversation with Jasper Fforde (Kathleen Bolton, 6/22/07, Writer Unboxed)
    -AWARD: Lost Plots gains a prize (John Ezard, 5/31/04, The Guardian)
    -INTERVIEW: Q & A: Jasper Fforde (Gary Kemble, September 16, 2006. ABC News)
    -ARCHIVES: "jasper fforde" (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW: of First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde (The Complete Review)
    -REVIEW: of First Among Sequels (Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of First Among Sequels (Jean Edelstein, New Statesman)
    -REVIEW: of First Among Sequels (Michael Berry, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of First Among Sequels (Hugo Barnacle, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of First Among Sequels (Tasha Robinson, AV Club)
    -REVIEW: of First Among Sequels (adam Woog, Seattle Times)
    -REVIEW: of First Among Sequels (Nicola Barr, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (The Complete Review)
    -REVIEW: of Eyre Affair (Michiko Kakutani)
    -REVIEW: of Eyre Affair (Kera Bolonik, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Eyre Affair (Laura Miller, Salon)
    -REVIEW: of Eyre Affair (Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY)
    -REVIEW: of Eyre Affair (Michael Berry, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of Eyre Affair ()
    -REVIEW: of Eyre Affair ()
    -REVIEW: of Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde (The Complete Review)
    -REVIEW: of Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (The Complete Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde (The Complete Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Well of Lost Plots (John Sutherland, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of
   
-REVIEW: of The Big Over Easy (Peter Guttridge, The Observer)
    -REVIEW: of The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde (Jon Courtenay Grimwood, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of The Big Over Easy (The Complete Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde (The Complete Review)

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