The Well Of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde

>> Thursday, October 13, 2005

As I mentioned when I wrote about Jasper Fforde's second book in the Thursday Next series, Lost in a Good Book, that one ended leaving the situation pretty much unsolved, which meant I had to read The Well of Lost Plots as soon as possible.

Oh, but I love it when I have an excuse not to space books out!

After two rollicking New York Times bestselling adventures through Western literature, resourceful literary detective Thursday Next definitely needs some downtime. And what better place for a respite than in the hidden depths of the Well of Lost Plots, where all unpublished books reside?

But peace and quiet remain elusive for Thursday, who soon discovers that the Well is a veritable linguistic free-for-all, where grammasites run rampant, plot devices are hawked on the black market, and lousy books—like the one she has taken up residence in—are scrapped for salvage. To make matters worse, a murderer is stalking the personnel of Jurisfiction and it’s up to Thursday to save the day.
As LIAGB ends, Thursday decides she needs to lie low for a while, at least until her child is born and she can better take on her mission to get her husband Landen reinstated. She decides to take refuge in the BookWorld, deep down in the Well of Lost Plots, where things are supposed to be calmer.

And really, the TWOLP is a bit of a break from what the first two books were. It's a respite from Thursday's fight with Goliath in the real world. However, while she does absolutely nothing to get her husband back during this book, Fforde manages to still keep the emotional fight there, by making her have to fight not to lose the only thing she has left of Landen: her memories. This meant this book, while mostly lots and lots of show and tell about the BookWorld, doesn't lack in story or emotion.

Still, I must say it was Thursday's exploration of the BookWorld and her adventures as an apprentice, and later a Jurisfiction agent, that I loved best of all here. This is just full of details so brilliant that even one or two would have amazed me. But no, there are two or three a page here, ad this makes TWOLP a delight to read.

From the emotionally starved characters of Shadow the Sheepdog to the Bookie awards (where the most important category, the Most Troubled Romantic Lead, had shades of the Most Tortured Hero category in the AAR Anual Reader Poll), from Emperor Zhark to how Uriah Hope became Uriah Heep, from the whole idea of Generics (loved the profusion of Mrs. Danvers) to the idea of the grammasites... and I could go on and on. It was all amazing.

Add to this a truly interesting and well constructed mystery (and I was wowed by the way the culprit shifted the blame to Thursday by putting his/her own motive right out there in the open!), and I was in heaven! A B+.

And now I'm off to read Something Rotten. I was able to read book 2 while remembering book 1 only vaguely, but from then on, I think reading them all close together is essential.


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