Book Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Author: Jasper Fforde
Publication Details: February 25th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published 2001)
Literary Awards: Locus Award Nominee for Best Science Fiction Novel (2002), Dilys Award Nominee (2003), ALA Alex Award (2003), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2006) (source Goodreads)
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Fantasy, Mystery
Copy: Paperback bought from National Book Store
Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide (Source: Goodreads).
I was not really planning on reading the Thursday Next series. It was not on my TBR list. I haven't really heard anything about it. But one Warehouse Sale, I chanced upon One of Our Thursdays is Missing and The Woman Who Died A Lot. The synopsis intrigued me so I bought them thinking that there'll be only three books in the series. When I got home, I checked Goodreads. And bam, there are 8 books! Haha! One of Our Thursdays is Missing is actually book 6 and The Woman Who Died A Lot is book 7. Haha!
I bought The Eyre Affair last year but I only read it this month. And folks, I should've read it sooner.
The Eyre Affair is weird yet very entertaining. I did not know what the book is about when I started reading, so while at first I was clueless on what's happening, it got me hooked immediately, wanting to know what's next.
There are a lot of elements fused into the story: time travelling, portals, police/agents, literary classics, war, etc. It can be quite overwhelming but the author was able to weaved them such that the story is easy to follow and the entertainment sustained. And I especially liked how the mix of all elements created a unique plot. As I've said earlier, weird but entertaining.
The plot thread I liked the most is the portal. A portal where one can enter any book? That, folks, would be amazing! The Eyre Affair also made me want to read more classics. I was inspired by Thursday and the other LiteraTecs. Their love of classics and their dedication to their work are so contagious. Haha! The book actually moved Jane Eyre to the top of my TBR. :)
The ending was not as "grand" as I expected it to be, but it was still good. Everything was tied together in the end. Thus, The Eyre Affair can be read as a stand-alone. But of course, I would still follow Thursday's adventure. Haha! I can't wait to know what she'll be facing next.
Some minor characters did not make sense to me, but in general, I enjoyed reading about them. The main character, Thursday Next, is very likable. She's smart, funny and very brave. Throughout the book, she had this dilemma concerning his brother (Aaron) and the man she loves (), but I liked how she reconciled with it in the end.
Among the secondary characters, I liked Mycroft the most. He is Thursday's uncle, who is a scientist and inventor. His inventions are super weird, not really much in terms of utility, but they are amazing nevertheless. Haha!
I liked the author's writing style! It was mostly written in first person perspective and in Thursday's POV, but there were some chapters written in a third person perspective. I was confused at first, but later on saw the importance of knowing the events outside Thursday's mind.
There were also terms I had a hard time understanding (haha!), but that's only because I am not from England and am not familiar with their history or whatsoever. However, it was remedied by note-taking and a bit of rereading for some parts. :)
Other than that, I did get the flow of the story despite of a lot going on in Thursday's life. Humor was also injected adding more entertainment to the reading experience.
I especially liked how in the beginning of each chapter, there's an 'excerpt' from a fictional book or some character's interview, memoirs or biography. Here's an example:
Overall, The Eyre Affair is an enjoyable, adventurous read. If you're a fan of classics, science fiction, fantasy and adventure, then this book is for you. It's a fun read and I can't wait to read the next books in the series.
Jasper Fforde is a novelist living in Wales. He is the son of John Standish Fforde, the 24th Chief Cashier for the Bank of England, whose signature used to appear on sterling banknotes, and is cousin of Desmond Fforde, married to author Katie Fforde. His early career was spent as a focus puller in the film industry, where he worked on a number of films including Quills, GoldenEye, and Entrapment.