Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Title:  The Eyre Affair
Author:  Jasper Fforde
Series:  Thursday Next #1
Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery
Pages:  374

Rating:  B+

Synopsis from  Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Eyre Affair is a fun adventure written specifically for book-lovers.  With tons of names, events, and personalities straight out of literature, this book had so many little things that were enjoyable and surprising.

What I loved
  • Thursday Next  -  The main character is sarcastic and sassy; she makes mistakes, but she owns up to them.  She's resourceful and smart.  But she never comes across as too perfect or as a Mary-Sue.  Thursday has her flaws, but they shape her character and give her good emotional depth.
  • Literary references  -  So many good pokes at other books!  I had so much fun finding and recognizing all of the different elements that were pulled from other works of literature.  And the debate over who actually wrote Shakespeare's plays was an interesting story arc.
  • World building  -  This very surreal world that Fforde has built was so cool to explore.  A world where characters can come to life or you can go into a book to observe.  Where the Crimean War has been continuing for over 100 years.  Where people like Winston Churchill never existed, and huge corporations run the world.  Where you can keep a cloned dodo as a pet.  It's a world I definitely would like to check out, but wouldn't want to actually live in.
  • Secondary characters  -  Many of the secondary characters get great character development and depth.  I particularly liked Bowden Cable and Victor Analogy.  And the villain is creepy and evil and the perfect fit for a world that's so obsessed with literature.
What I disliked
  • One chapter of F-words  -  So it wasn't actually a whole chapter, just a portion of one, but I don't understand why people think it's necessary to include the word at all.  I could handle the other profanities, but then I got to this one chapter and it felt like every other word for a couple of paragraphs was the F-word, and that just made me uncomfortable.
  • The romance  -  Most boring and pointless romance ever.  I didn't like Thursday's love interest at all.  Their story seemed unnecessary and just thrown in there for the sake of having a romance in the book. Also I really liked a different guy better, so it was disappointing when Thursday didn't end up with him.  Honestly, it was the most frustrating part of the whole book for me.

Despite that one chapter and the fact that the romance was dissatisfying, I enjoyed The Eyre Affair, and I'll definitely pick up the next book in the series to see what happens to Thursday next (sorry, couldn't help myself).  B+

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