Review: “First Among Sequels” by Jasper Fforde

Jurisfiction is the name given to the policing agency within books. Working with the intelligence-gathering capabilities of Text Grand Central, the Prose Resource Operatives at Jurisfiction work tirelessly to maintain the continuity of the narrative within the pages of all the books ever written…

Set in an alternative reality fourteen years after the last book (Something Rotten), the narrative picks up once again on the series’ protagonist Thursday Next. Now a mother of three, with a son named Friday,  and two daughters, Tuesday and Jenny, married to her long time love, Landen, and ‘retired’  from her previously dangerous life as a star Jurisfiction officer. In actual fact, Thursday is still continuing to work as a Jurisfiction officer under the cover of a humble carpet-fitter while smuggling in illegal cheese and selling it on the black market in her spare time.

Having the ability to book jump, a rare thing in Outlanders, Thursday has to deal with training two new operatives, Thursday-5 and Thursday 1-4, her fictional clones, continue working to ensure that narratives are running as smoothly as possible, address the steady decline in readership numbers and work to prevent Pride and Prejudice being turned into a vote-them-off reality book, not dissimilar to Big Brother style, to boost readership figures.

The fifth book in Fforde’s Thursday Next series this is the most marvellous read and welcomed addition to the series. It is tightly written and meticulously plotted with absolution coming in the unconventional ways. The characters are so unique and imaginative – my particular favourites are Pickwick, a dodo, Millon, Thursday’s personal stalker (yes!), and deadly Mrs. Danvers clones who have accumulated to epidemic proportions due to the decline for the need of creepy housekeepers.

I highly recommend this book, and series, particularly to fellow bibliophiles. The amount of imagination that Fforde uses to explain the book universe is fascinating and highly entertaining. His wordplay and tongue-in-cheek humour will also make you snicker out loud. The only downside of this book and series is that it makes me wish I had an opportunity to join Jurisfiction myself.

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8 comments

  1. I absolutely love this series! I got to meet him in DC when he was touring for this book. I think I’m in love. Have you read the Nursery Crime series? I also love that one. He’s coming out with a new book in 2009 that isn’t part of either of these.

  2. I love Jasper Fforde. Oddly, though, I didn’t much care for the last book in this series. I think it may have been because of the illustrations. It’s not how I was imagining the characters through the first four and I think it just threw me off.

  3. Laza – you are unbelievably lucky to have met him! He seems to one of those approachable authors who loves his fans as much as they love him. I have read the first of the Nursery crime series but I prefer the Next series. Can’t wait for his next book too.

  4. Nicole – I know what you mean about the illustrations. Do you know if Fforde drew them himself? I was trying to find the illustrator’s name. I think I keep forgetting how old Thursday Next actually is and the pictures brought things home.

  5. Matt – I wasn’t very inclined to start reading these books either. It’s very hard to define Fforde’s writing and I began with no expectations or any ideas what he was writing about. I’d say that perhaps you should give him a go when you want something light or perhaps something for the train and see how you go.

  6. I’ve had “First Among Sequels” on my shelf for months. I don’t know what’s taking me so long, but I love the Thursday Next books. They’re always a fun read. So glad you enjoyed this one!

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