This is a book for people who love books.
It is set in a world where books dominate popular culture, where children are named after writers and poets, where religious/political movements are based on theories of who wrote Shakespeare’s plays and where the police have a special department for literary crimes.
It’s a wonderful world for the book lover. However, it goes beyond that it’s a world where the Crimean War was still ongoing in the 80s, Dodos and Mamoths have been cloned and Wales is a communist state, all of which drag the reader further and further away from being able to relate.
Thursday Next is a police officer with the literary crimes department, with the growing realisation that she has the power to enter (and change) fiction and with a super-villain arch-nemesis. She also has a awkward relationship with an ex and his role in he brother’s posthumous condemnation for a major military blunder.
The book is fun – almost Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett-esk – but with a bleak undertone which rather than making it deeper detracts from the fun. The time travel is cliche and obvious, the romance forced and unwelcome, and it never seems to come to terms with the idea of entering fiction instead becoming enamoured with the usual conflict with the super-villain.
But despite the flaws there is such imagination, wacky characters and potential here that you just have to seek out the next book to find out what else happens to Thursday Next.