The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde
Review by Jasper de Joode
The Woman Who Died a Lot was first published in July 2012, author Jasper Fforde’s seventh book in his Thursday Next series. A blend of alternate history and comic fantasy it is grand reading material, combining excellent writing and great inventiveness with more great jokes and groan-worthy puns than you could shake a stick at.
We find BookWorld’s leading enforcement officer Thursday Next four months into an enforced semi-retirement following an assassination attempt. She returns home to Swindon in order to recuperate but finds herself faced with an array of family problems – son Friday’s lack of focus since his career in the Chronoguard was relegated to a might-have-been, daughter Tuesday’s difficulty perfecting the Anti-Smote shield needed to thwart an angry Deity’s promise to wipe Swindon off the face of the earth, and Jenny, who doesn’t exist. And that’s not all, with Goliath attempting to replace Thursday at every opportunity with synthetic Thursdays, the prediction that Friday’s Destiny-Aware colleagues will die in mysterious circumstances, and a looming meteorite that could destroy all human life on earth, Thursday’s retirement is going to be anything but easy…
This being my first Thursday Next book I had no previous knowledge of events in the series. Although I have always been aware of – and interested in – Jasper Fforde’s work I just haven’t had the chance to read anything by him. So when the opportunity arose to read his latest I just couldn’t resist and I have to slap myself for not picking up his books earlier, they’re downright wonderful!
This book was different from other fantasy books I have read. The storyline is very rich, humorous and immaculately written. Nothing is predictable and I often found myself rereading scenes, not because they they were put together in a bad way, on the contrary, they were just so brilliant that I just had to make sure that what I read them correctly.
Jokes and puns run amok and they really do enliven the story so much, as do they wonderful characters. Entering the series at the seventh book did not prove to be problematic but I have to make sure I read the first six books before reading the forthcoming book eight, which will be called Dark Reading Matter.
Massively recommended to fans of parallel worlds, alternate history and comic fantasy.
A big thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for kindly providing me with a review copy.
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