Title: The Eyre Affair
Author: Jasper Fforde
Length: 378 pages
Plot Basics: Special Operative Thursday Next, a LiteraTec, knows her books. And it's a good thing, seeing as how they may know her too. When a famous manuscript is stolen by the world's Third Most Wanted criminal mastermind-- Acheron Hades -- Thursday is brought in on a special assignment to bring him in and get the manuscript back safely. That's all easier said than done, of course, and it takes help from friends, including a certain Mr. Rochester, to help rescue Jane Eyre from Hades.
Banter Points: Word Nerd feels the need to use a phrase here like, "rollicking good fun." This is quite likely the most bizarre book Word Nerd's read since last she picked up either a Douglas Adams or a Terry Pratchett book. The world of Thursday Next is like ours, but off-kilter in wacky ways -- for example, England and Russia are warring over the Crimea peninsula. Fforde peppers his novel with laughing-inducing characters (Colonel Braxton Hicks, the hotel clerk Liz Barrett-Browning, a special operative dealing in paranormal stuff named Stoker).
Moreover, Acheron Hades is a great villain, rather like the Professor Moriarty smashed together with the Joker from Batman. He gets the best dialogue in the book. ex: "The best reason for committing loathsome and detestable acts -- and let's face it, I am considered something of a expert in this field -- is purely for their own sake. Monetary gain is all very well, but it dilutes the taste of wickedness..."
Bummer Points: Word Nerd's not British. She ran across a helpful cheat-sheet online that explained things that should be funny (ex. Thursday's old flame, Landen Parke-Laine. Parke Laine apparently, in the UK version of monopoly is the equivalent of Boardwalk in the US version. So, say the name aloud again -- Landen Parke-Laine. Get it? Yeah...) Word Nerd, also, despite being the reader that she is, found some of the literary references a bit obscure.
Word Nerd recommendation: She's got the second Thursday Next book checked out from the library and is excited to know she's got time to read books 3 and 4 before the newest Thursday Next book comes out this summer.
Bonus news: Jasper Fforde will be a featured in Author Answers later this spring. Stay tuned!