Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Everything comes to an end.”
The BookWorld’s leading enforcement officer Thursday Next is four months into an enforced semi-retirement following an assassination attempt. She returns home to Swindon for what you’d expect to be a time of recuperation. If only life were that simple.
Thursday is faced with an array of family problems – son Friday’s lack of focus since his career in the Chronoguard was relegated to a might-have-been, daughter Tuesday’s difficulty perfecting the Anti-Smote shield needed to thwart an angry Deity’s promise to wipe Swindon off the face of the earth, and Jenny, who doesn’t exist.
And that’s not all. With Goliath attempting to replace Thursday at every opportunity with synthetic Thursdays, the prediction that Friday’s Destiny-Aware colleagues will die in mysterious circumstances, and a looming meteorite that could destroy all human life on earth, Thursday’s retirement is going to be anything but easy.
This is the final published book in the Thursday Next series, but it won’t be the end of the series (I’m hoping!)
I began this book thinking that it could be a potential last in the series. The synopsis states that Thursday is in a state of semi-retirement, which told me that maybe she’s going to wind down after all the action she’s had in all the previous books. Also, the opening line hints at finality. However, after reading it, I’m certain there will be at least one more book, it’s whether or not Jasper Fforde is getting on with writing it.
This series is one of my favourites, but the problem with ongoing book series is that they depend less and less on narrative and storytelling with each book. Die hard fans of Thursday Next, by this point, will know the ins and outs of this fictional version of Swindon, and everything that makes Thursday Next who she is. We know the background, we know the deal. We’re going to read these books no matter what. In that way, I think Fforde has taken some of the pressure off himself regarding his storytelling.
Yes, this book includes all the classic signs of a Fforde novel, and is a joy to read, but it doesn’t contain the brilliance of the first few in the series, especially The Eyre Affair. I was past halfway in this book when I said, ‘I’m not sure where this is going.’ It seems like by the time you get to any kind of action that really means anything, you’ve nearly finished the book! It felt like a lot of preamble, for a not so satisfying climax. It is clever, don’t get me wrong, but with Fforde I’m used to clever and witty, so it’s hard to rely on that as a plot device and have it be good enough.
Although one thing I did enjoy is the way the chapters are written. Each one starts with what day of the week it is, and then the chapter title. I think this works really well, especially since we have characters with names such as Thursday, Tuesday and Friday!
Also, I love Landan, but I’m still waiting for him to come into his own. We know he is there for Thursday, and is the doting husband and father. But if this was a TV show then I’d say that he needs a big storyline and more screen time. What’s going on with his writing career? Does he even have a writing career anymore? He’s a brilliant character, I just wish he was more well-rounded and more of a prominent feature in the novels. He’s always there, but he’s almost Thursday’s side-kick. Basically, I WANT MORE LANDAN PARKE-LAINE.
At this point, I think the books are very much not standalone, and are more continuations of the series, with less brilliant plots and storytelling. If you’ve read all the others, why wouldn’t you read this? I’ve given it 4 stars because it’s Thursday Next, and I love her character, and because there are still funny laugh-out-loud moments, great wit, clever ideas, and the promise of another novel – which sounds like it could be one for lovers of the Book World!
I shall wait here patiently for Dark Reading Matter to materialise.
Link to the book on Goodreads: