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One of Our Thursdays Is Missing: A Novel by Jasper Fforde
Review by Paul Haggerty
Viking Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780670022526
Date: 08 March 2011 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Thursday Next being asked by Jurisfiction to investigate the crash of a book inside the BookWorld isn't something terribly out of the common way. Except this isn't Thursday Next, at least not the Real Thursday Next. The Written Thursday wanted to join Jurisfiction, but couldn't make the grade. Now she spends most of her time in her book, just hoping to be read. This, unfortunately, is another rather futile pastime. While having been trained by the Real Thursday has gained her some respect, it's still a bit of a mystery why the Jurisfiction Accident Investigation Department would want her to investigate the mysterious crash of a book rather than the Real Thursday. Still, she's glad to help out. Until she runs into a man on the train who gives her a bit of help, some advice, and a warning. It seems the Real Thursday Next has gone missing. And the timing couldn't be worse. The BookWorld stands on the brink of war. And Thursday may be the only one that can stop it. But which Thursday?

The physical nature of the BookWorld has been remade. No longer are the books distinct little worldlets in a mysterious mist. Now the whole BookWorld is imprinted on the interior of a great sphere, with each genre being a separate island, grouped together by their similarities so that the more popular genres are continents with sub-genres being countries within, while other, less well-defined genres are scattered archipelagos. For the purposes of this book, this means that there's a whole new world to explore, and a lot of jokes to be made at literature's expense. It also makes it a bit easier for our new heroine to move around in a way that makes some sense to the reader.

It turns out that the Written Thursday is a lot like the real one, which some people are counting on, and some people are afraid of. She really wants to do what's expected of her basically just close the case as unsolvable and let it all go away. It's a pity she just can't do that. There's something really foul going on, and the spirit of Thursday can not be denied.

Joining Thursday is Sprocket, her new robotic butler, Scarlett, a Thursday understudy for when the Written Thursday has to be a way from her book, Lorena, the dodo that plays Pickwick in the book, as well as the dodo from Alice in Wonderland. After all, there aren't that many dodos, so beggars can't be choosers. Rounding out the cast of characters is a host of normal BookWorld characters from Red Herring to Speedy Muffler to Emperor Zhark. With all the players on the field, Thursday is going to have a tough time figuring out what book crashed, why it crashed, why was it covered up, where is the Real Thursday Next, and why is Racy Novel getting ready to start a full-fledged war.

This is a novel that is going to send Thursday on a quest through a dozen genres, a brief side trip to the real world, and up the Metaphoric River literally before she can save that day and finally get to relax in a good book.

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