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Something Rotten

A Thursday Next mystery

by Jasper Fforde

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2004, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2005, 416 pages

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Power Reviewer Cloggie Downunder

totally unpredictable
Something Rotten is the 4th of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. After 2 years as Bellman for Jurisfiction, Thursday has begun to miss the Real World, and decides to go back to Swindon with her two-year-old son, Friday, to see if she can get her husband Landen Parke-Laine, currently eradicated by the Chrono-Guard, un-eradicated. But life is never straight forward for Thursday: she is low on funds and needs her Spec-Ops job back; she wants to return a troublesome bookjumper, Yorick Kaine, back to the book he came from, before he succeeds in his campaign to leap from Chancellor and leader of the Whigs to Dictator of England; and she needs to organise Play Group and a speech therapist for Friday, whose first two years spent in the Fiction world have him talking Lorem Ipsum, the dummy text used by printers. Soon enough, Thursday also discovers she had an Officially-Sanctioned Stalker, Millon deFloss. On top of all this she has been saddled with Hamlet, on leave in the Outland to see if people really consider him a ditherer: rather untimely as Kaine is agitating for war against the Danish. Goliath Corporation, meanwhile, is attempting to switch to a faith-based operation management system. As always, Fforde peppers his narrative with wonderfully imaginative names for characters (Fawsten Gayle, Adam Gnusense, Commander Braxton Hicks, Brik Schitt-Hawse, Piarno Keyes, Tork Armada, Julie Aseizer, Alf Widdershaine, Ernst Stricknene), for bureaucratic entities (the Apologarium in Goliathopolis, St Septyk’s Hospital) and for TV game shows (Evade the Question Time, Celebrity Name That Fruit!, Toasters From Hell, You’ve Been Stapled!). The titles of the journals quoted in the chapter introductions are similarly clever (New Oppressor, The Toad, The Mole, Gadfly, Portsmouth Penny Dreadful, Swindon Eevening Blurb, Arboreal Times, Swindon Daily Eyestrain) and the context is hilariously inane. In this instalment we see more of Thursday’s family and learn more about the Chrono-Guard. Thursday survives several assassination attempts, smuggles banned books out of the country, plays World Championship Croquet, searches for cloned Shakespeares and makes a startling discovery about Granny Next. The Whigs, with their idiotic policies are way ahead in popularity, of the Commonsense Party, so in that aspect, Thursday’s world is not so different from ours, although re-engineered Dodos, Mammoths, Thylacines and Neanderthals are unlikely to ever abound here. As always, Fforde provides many laugh out loud moments in a plot that is original, thrilling and totally unpredictable. I look forward to First Among Sequels.
paul@bookbrowse.com

Loved it as much as - and maybe more than - the first book in the series. Which was really good.

To be honest the third book - "the well of lost plots" - was a bit of a disappointment to me. I felt Fforde had lost his quirky magic, and was a getting a bit desperate for ideas. But this one came back with a vengence; solid storyline, wild ideas, memorable characters - I will never see Hamlet (or Emma Hamilton) in the same light again - surprises, awful literary puns, bizzare ideas - all were there.

The book accelerated to a very satisfying conclusion. I coudn't put it down for the last few chapters - and the gentle twist at the end of the brought it to a nice conclusion, while leaving the door open for another few books.

Even if you have not read any of the other books, you will enjoy this one. And if you enjoyed the first two, you will LOVE this one.

Enjoy!
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