Sunday, 29 June 2008

Lost the Plot?

There is something ironic in the title of Jasper Fforde’s third Thursday Next novel, ‘The WELL of LOST PLOTS’ that I think might be unintentional.

To loose the plot of something is to go a little crazy to be totally out of touch – I’m not suggesting Mr. Fforde has gone that far, but the plotting of the story does suggest a little desperation and there are a couple of details that add to an inconsistency that is not comfortable for the reader.

Prime is the fact that when characters ‘die’ in this book, they are replaced by a look-alike, act-alike ’generic’ – which makes a complete nonsense out of the first book (The Eyre Affair ) in the series where events revolved about the kidnapping and threat of death to the character Jane Eyre. If Jane could simply have been ‘replaced’ what was all the fuss about?

For anyone reading this who is not familiar with the Ffforde series, Thursday Next is a detective in a parallel world where the Crimean War hadn’t ended, where airships cross the sky and where you can enter books, if you have the know how, and hide from the big bad company trying to control the world whilst you have a baby and try to bring back you husband who has been unexisted from everyone’s memory – except for your own and your nutty granny.

It’s fantasy and funny combined with detective and is full of one liners and gentle literary references.

Which points to another problem I have with the book – once was funny, twice was amusing, thrice is getting obvious – the ‘into a book and reacting with characters’ is no longer smart, just tiresomely familiar - and Mr. Fforde hasn’t done enough to rescue the situation.

There was one point I thought he’d done it – he brought in Nemo, and things started to look up but then wasted the character.

A final moan is there is no development of character – no one really seems to change – even the ‘generic’ turning into a character had an oddness about it which meant they never really changed.

Both of the previous books in the series I devoured, this one took time to read. I felt a ‘so-what’ several times as I did read and had that feeling in my mouth at the end (the one where you try to eat slightly under cooked, unsalted, un-vinegared chips) which made me want to send it back and ask for a fully cooked version.

I shall try the next in the series, but Mr Fforde’s reputation is on the line.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

No comments: