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First Among Sequels: Thursday Next Book 5 Hardcover – Special Limited Edition, 5 Jul 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1st edition (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340835745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340835746
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 971,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Jasper Fforde here mixes nursery rhymes with golden age detective fiction to produce something very accomplished indeed. (Guardian)

'Fforde's books are more than an ingenious idea. They are written with buoyant zest and are tautly plotted. They have empathetic heroes and heroines who nearly make terribly mistakes and suitably dastardly villains who do. They also have more twists and turns than Christie, and are embellished with the rich details of a Dickens or Pratchett. As Humpty Dumpty's life-story is revealed, the mystery becomes curiouser and curiouser, and the compulsion to find out what is going on increases. A real treat.' (Independent)

'Fans of the late Douglas Adams or, even, Monty Python, will feel at home with Fforde' (Herald)

'If you haven't read Jasper Fforde before, THE BIG OVER EASY is likely to come as a surprise . . . the combination of fantasy and (more of less) classic murder makes a wild and enjoyable change' (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

Everyone's favourite Book World heroine, Thursday Next, is back in her fifth adventure - by Number One bestselling author Jasper Fforde.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"First Among Sequels" is brilliant. I may as well mention that first.

It's a chaotic book. Other reviewers have said that the lack of a main 'villain' is disappointing, I think the opposite- Fforde juggles various plots at the same time and the result is a sort-of murder mystery where any one of several different characters, in different worlds, could be the key. Among the various plot threads are some ideas of pure genius- for example the time-travelling authority the ChronoGuard who have been happily travelling through time on the assumption that time travel would eventually be invented in order to allow them to do it, but who have now reached 23 minutes before the end of the universe only to find that time travel hasn't been invented after all so they're not sure what they're going to do about it. Fforde refers back to ideas from each of the first four books and brings new things in at the same time. These books are heading toward bursting point.

With the ongoing Thursday Next series I'd say that you should definitely start at the beginning ("The Eyre Affair"), partly because you might find "First Among Sequels" very confusing otherwise, but also because reading this book will spoil your reading of the previous books, as , unlike something like the Discworld series, you'll know who's survived and who hasn't.

The fact Fforde is now five books into the series allows him to become introspective, and weave his own books and fictional versions of his own fictional characters (fictional squared?) into the narrative. When I first read that I was worried that this book would be in danger of heading, um, up it's own bottom. Thankfully it manages to avoid that and Fforde weaves "First Among Sequels" into the original "The Eyre Affair" in a way that enriches things rather than messing them up. I was reminded of "Back To The Future II", which in my eyes is a good thing.
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Format: Hardcover
If you haven't read any Japser Fforde before, go and buy the Eyre Affair, and work through the series. If you have read the earlier Thursday Next novels and are wondering whether to buy this one, it really is a no-brainer. All the usual Fforde touches are present, intricate plot, laugh out loud one liners, underlying erudition, engaging characters. One may worry that five novels in, Fforde could get tired or formulaic, but to my mind, he avoids both such traps admirably. My one gripe is that the political satire is a touch heavy handed, but that is a minor concern. Definitely recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Amazon Germany kindly dropped this book into my mail a full week before the official publication date. Considering the novel's plot that once more revolves around various forms of time travel and its paradoxes this could of course just be a marketing scheme worthy of Goliath, indeed, but just as fine with me.
Having said that I just finished the book today, July 5th and it was a good, fluent and certainly entertaining read. The missing footnotes (see Mr Fforde's website for addendum) are a downer, but you can fill in the gaps without much trouble.
As with most of the Thursday Next series, a main plot is hard to make out. Fforde does sidesteps and elongated narratives that are seemingly unrelated to the presumed main story. Without spoilering, most of those ARE indeed connected in the end, yet some remain to be resolved in the next sequel. True to its title, the novel ends with a cliff hanger, so beware. However, I do not feel cheated but am eagerly expecting the next installment.
In all, it has everything one came to love about Thursday Next, treats you to at least three big surprises in best postmodern Fforde fashion, and finishes one of my favorite story elements for good (though you never know with this one...). As sad as this is, it is exercised beautifully. One star deduction, however, for a feeling of "could have been even better" that I did feel during the whole read. Too many things going on maybe while there is no strong antagonist (in other words: no Hades, not really at least) and the one that poses the biggest threat only gets introduced well into the second act.
Summing it up: Ffans will be more than happy to see Thursday return; people who never read any of her adventures before could start with this one - which is a surprise in its own - but I suggest picking up "The Eyre Affair" and work your way up from there.
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Format: Hardcover
After the two Nursery Crime books featuring Jack Spratt this return to the Swindon of Thursday Next feels somewhat slow to start with; of course the inate plot complexity of inter-fiction travel, alternative Swindon, the People's Republic of Wales, the impossibility of time travel and introducing the reader to two fictional versions of Thursday mean quite some time needs to be spent filling in backstory. However once the story gets into full swing its right back to the playful perception flips of the earlier books.

This book is more satisfying than Something Rotten, its predecessor in the series with many teasing little tangents to relish - somebody stealing the jokes out of Thomas Hardy; the funniest books in literature, or the fact that the ChronoGuard could only travel in time because they assumed somebody would be bound to invent time travel at some point in the future.

That said, and whilst I loved the body of the book I was frustrated by an ending that failed to resolve the story and left the reader hanging like at the end of one of those black and white Flash Gordon episodes; cliff hangers are fine if you only have to wait another week for resolution, but two years? Give us a break!

For followers of the series this is a definite must buy, but for a first dip into the world of Jasper Fforde I'd strongly suggest you start with the Eyre Affair (the first Thursday Next book) or The Big Over Easy - a lighter, less complex read featuring stronger characterisation and more laughs.
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