2013 Reads: Thirty-Six {Something Rotten - Jasper Fforde}

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I had forgotten just how much I love Jasper Fforde's brain.

And how much I missed Thursday Next. It was so great to get back into some crazy literary adventures with my favorite detective.

If you haven't read this series yet, you really need to. Especially if you're a literary nut/avid reader/like all things funny. Trust me on this, okay?


Thursday Next, SpecOps27 detective and Jurisfiction Bellman, is tired of living in the BookWorld. Life, though relatively safe, is just not real enough for her anymore and she needs to get out. To get back to her job at SpecOps and to try and get her eradicated husband back.

So she packs up Friday and returns to Swindon. She also has a guest, Hamlet (Prince of Denmark) has been granted a jaunt out into the real world to see how the public perceives him and his play. Caring for the two of them is a full time job in itself, but it's not enough for Thursday. Luckily for her, her long time nemesis (and the organization responsible for eradicating Landen) The Goliath Corporation is in the process of converting from a multinational corporation to a religion - one determined to right their wrongs (at least on the surface).

But, as is always the case in the life of Thursday Next, the drama doesn't stop there. Thursday also has to battle with Yorrick Kaine (a fictional character who has jumped into the real world and is on his way to becoming dictator), the return of Swindon's patron saint (who predicts that the only way for the world not to end in five years is for the Swindon Mallets Croquet Club to win the SuperHoop - and impossible feat), and a potential merger/rewrite of Hamlet that could change the face of Shakespeare forever.

All in all? It's just another day in the life of Thursday Next.


This book was hilarious. But, I was expecting that. Jasper Fforde knows how to write a series. And he never disappoints with his Thursday Next series. I read it on the drive down (and ensuing hotel stay) to Baltimore for my visit to John's Hopkins and it kept me completely entertained despite the crazy bundle of nerves I was brewing.

One of the things I love most about the way Fforde writes is the way he thinks. He's quirky and full of wonder. The way he sees things is the way I sometimes see things. I mean, I've always wished I could jump into a novel and live there for a while - and  Fforde? Well, he's made my lifelong dream into an amazing series. All the pieces of his books, this series in particular, are so fantastic and strange (in the best of ways) that they are just perfect. And so masterfully crafted.

Okay, more about this book of the series in particular.

The Hamlet bits? They killed me. Here's an example:
When considering who he is, Hamlet states:
I am by turns a petulant adolescent and a mature man, a melancholy loner and a wit telling actors their trade. I cannot decide whether I'm a philosopher or a moping teenager, a poet or a murderer, a procrastinator or a man of action. I might be truly mad or sane pretending to be mad or even mad pretending to be sane.
And that's not even one of the best parts, trust me. The analysis of Hamlet within this book is brilliant (because you don't even really realize that it's literary analysis, it's just a story that says everything you've ever thought about that play, ever). I love it.

And the political satire? It reaches an all time high in this novel. I laughed so hard at the Celebrity Evade The Question section of this book. Because? That's exactly what politics is like at this point in history - get asked a question, but answer the one that you weren't asked while committing to nothing. And it was done so perfectly in a way that only Fforde seems to be able to do. It's there, it's hilarious, but it's not a driving force of the novel. Bravo.

And Thursday in this book is brilliant. She's got so many parts of who she is that come together, and she's completely committed to all of them. And she's brilliant. I've said for a long time, if I could be any literary character it would be Thursday. She's such a strong, kick ass, and intelligent female character without losing her feminine side (which happens way too often for female leads in novels).

To be honest, I'm not even sure how to review this book other than to tell you I loved it - and that if you haven't started this series, you really owe it to yourself to read it.


Title: Something Rotten (Thursday Next #4)
Author: Jasper Fforde 
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Humor, SciFi, 
Medium: Hard Cover, 389pp
Publisher: Viking Adult (3 August 2004)
Date Read: 15 October 2013
Source: Borrowed From Library
Recommended For: High School +, Literary Nuts, Anyone
Challenges: Goodreads

First Line: The Minotaur had been causing trouble far in excess of his literary importance - first by escaping from the fantasy-genre prison book Sword of the Zenobians, then by leading us on a merry chase across most of fiction and thwarting all attempts to recapture him. 
Favorite Line: If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction - and ultimately, without a major resolution. 

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