It is sometimes hard to convey how special these stories are.
Something Rotten is the fourth novel in Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. If you have not read the previous novels in order please go and start with The Eyre Affair, followed by Lost in a Good Book and then the Well of Lost Plots.
The resourceful literary detective Thursday Next returns to Swindon from the BookWorld accompanied by her son Friday and none other than the dithering Hamlet. But returning to SpecOps is no snap - as outlaw fictioner Yorrick Kaine plots for absolute power, the return of Swindon’s patron saint foretells doom, and, if that isn’t bad enough, The Merry Wives of Windsor is becoming entangled with Hamlet. Can Thursday find a Shakespeare clone to stop this hostile takeover? Can she vanquish Kaine and prevent the world from plunging into war? And will she ever find reliable child care?
*** Reading this review further may contain plot spoilers for the previous books ***
In the Well of Lost Plots, Thursday had decided to hide out in the book world so that she could sort herself out after her husband Landen had been eradicated. This book starts two years after the ending of that novel and Thursday has decided that she has to go back to the real world, Swindon 1988, to begin living again.
Swindon 1988 (not our reality's 1988) is still as fantastical as we remember from books one and two in this series: with cloned Shakespeare's, power mad politicians (wait that does sound like our world), resurrected saints and all sorts of twists and turns during the course of the story.
With a whole cast of characters both real and fictional, Thursday’s life cannot get busier. Looking after her two year old son, Friday, she is trying to get her old job back whilst also being the "go-to person" at Jurisfication. She also has her family and friends, who support her almost unquestionably, mostly as they are too busy living their own lives to look beyond the surface. What makes this book and Jasper Fforde’s writing so well thought out is the fact that all these characters, from Thursday’s Mum to Hamlet, all have lives of their own ,so it feels more like a real life than characters who are written in just for plot filler.
There is so much detail to be found in these novels that it is sometimes hard to convey how special these stories are. There are so many layers which keep you reading, that also remind you of parts previously mentioned in the other books and you are never sure where the story will take you next or where the journal will end. There are not many authors out there who can achieve this, especially when they are also taking you not only into their stories but through previously written well known fiction from across the ages.
Review by Michelle Herbert
Jasper Fforde is a novelist living in Wales. He is the son of John Standish Fforde, the 24th Chief Cashier for the Bank of England, whose signature used to appear on Sterling banknotes, and is cousin of the author, Katie Ffor [...]
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