The Woman Who Dies A Lot

who died alot

The Woman Who Died A Lot
Thursday Next, Book 7

Jasper Fforde
Viking, 2012

From the dust jacket, “The BookWorld’s leading enforcement officer, Thursday Next, has been forced into semi-retirement following an assassination attempt. When Thursday’s former SpecOps division is reinstated, she assumes she’s the obvious choice to lead the Literary Detectives. But our banged-up heroine is no spring chicken, and her old boss has a cushier job in mind for her: chief librarian of the Swindon All-You-Can-Eat at Fatso’s Drink Not Included Library.

“But where Thursday goes, trouble follows, and pretty soon impressively engineered synthetic Thursdays called Day Players are not only waking up in the stacks, they’re downloading her very consciousness.

“In the meantime, the Next children face their own career hiccups. A little glitch in human history has forced the shutdown of the time engines, making Friday a might-have-been whose bright future in the ChronoGuard has been replaced by a murderous one; Tuesday is unlikely to finish the Anti-Smith Shield in time to thwart and angry deity’s destruction of downtown Swindon; and Thursday’s third child, Jenny, still doesn’t exist, despite the memories that keep surfacing – and not just for Thursday.

“As our chief librarian stares down 100 percent budget cuts, the ever-evil Jack Schitt’s inexplicable interest in worthless thirteenth-century codices, and a love affair with painkiller patches, one thing is clear: Thursday’s convalescence is going to be anything but restful.”

With this book, the good news is that Thursday spends all of her time in the real world (real for her) and even with all the crazy twists and turns about the mindworm jumping from person to person, Thursday dying every other day (synthetic Thursdays) and an angry god about to take his wrath out on Swindon (it was rather nice he forewarned them) this was a good read with lots of action and mystery. The bad news is that Thursday doesn’t go into the BookWorld so I miss that bit of insanity; also, it ends with a bit of a cliffhanger and no follow-up book has been published yet! Come on, Jasper Fforde! It’s been 6 years! Where’s the book you promised at the end of this one?

Rating: 5 out of 5 paws because it’s a – great book – lots of fun, as usual the whole time thing flew over my head but I can put up with it when Thursday Next’s in the middle of it!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

One of Our Thursdays is Missing

thursday is missing

One of Our Thursdays is Missing
Thursday Next, Book 6

Jasper Fforde
Viking, 2011

Brace yourselves, this is a long intro from the dust jacket (the story of Thursday Next is so twisty and turny that it’s better to let the publisher explain!): “It is a time of unrest in the BookWorld. Only the diplomatic skills of ace literary detective Thursday Next can avert a devastating genre war. But a week before the peace talks, Thursday vanishes. Has she simply returned home to the RealWorld or is this something more sinister?

“But all is not yet lost. Living at the quiet end of speculative fiction is the written Thursday Next, who is attempting to keep her own small four-book series both respectful to her illustrious namesake and far from the grim specter of being remaindered.

“Despite her desire to stay out of the spotlight, written Thursday is asked by Jurisfiction to investigate a novel that has suffered an in-read breakup and deposited a narrative debris field halfway across the BookWorld. It’s not quite so straightforward: Someone has ground the ISBN numbers from the wreckage, and all of a sudden the mysterious Men in Plaid want her dead.

“As the hunt for answers takes her from the Council of Genres to Fan Fiction and from Comedy to Vanity publishing, written Thursday realizes that real Thursday had been investigating a plot fiendish enough to be killed for. But who is responsible? Only a trip up the mighty Metaphoric River and a visit to the hideously frightening RealWorld can provide the answers.

“With her clockwork butler, Sprockett, and her Designated Love Interest, Whitby Jett, Thursday has to come to grips with her inability to live up to her namesake’s talent and prove to herself to the one person she respects more than anyone else: the real her….”

Throughout the book, Thursday wonders if she is the real Thursday or the written one and it makes the reader wonder the same. And, as its been several years since I’d read the book, I had forgotten as well. The book takes the reader deep into BookWorld where clowns are soldiers, mimes are assassins, and the Men in Plain actually wear tartan suits, drive Buick Roadmasters and are the Secret Police who keep the citizenry of BookWorld under control. There’s lots of twists and turns along the way – the reader has to pay attention, or they will be completely lost. But the story is worth it and I’m always up for another Thursday Next novel!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because as much as I like the written Thursday, I do prefer the real one. Or, is it the other way around? Hmm…

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

The Eyre Affair

eyre affair

The Eyre Affair
Thursday Next Book 1

Jasper Fforde
Viking Penguin, 2002

From the dust jacket, “Great Britain circa 1985: 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 Wordsworth poems, militant Baconians roam freely spreading the gospel that Bacon, not Shakespeare, penned those immortal works. And forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. This is all business as usual for brainy, bookish (and heat-packing) Thursday Next, a renowned Special Operative in literary direction – that is, until someone begins murdering characters from works of literature. When this madman plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Bronte’s novel Thursday faces the challenge of her career. Aided and abetted by characters that include her time-traveling father, an executive of the all-powerful Goliath Corporation, and Edward Rochester himself, Thursday must track down the world’s Third Most Wanted criminal and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide.”

This is the 6th time I’ve read this book and it’s as good now as it was the first-time years ago. It certainly isn’t for every reader – you must buy into the alternate earth premise from the start and don’t question the irrationality of it. It’s one of those books that if you read and try to figure out the how’s and whys (like why do they use blimps instead of airplanes or how can worms burp out hyphens), you won’t like it and give up. But if you don’t mind the incongruous then give this book (and the whole series) a try. Additionally, if you’re a lover of the Bronte sisters or Shakespeare, you’ll take particular delight in reading it, but being familiar with those classic works isn’t a requirement. I’ve never read Jane Eyre (or seen any of the many movie/tv adaptations) and have had no problem with understanding what’s going on!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws for sheer imaginative, book-hopping, time-traveling fun!!

Reviewer: bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

 

The Dark Prophecy

the dark prophecy

The Dark Prophecy
The Trials of Apollo, Book Two

Rick Riordan
Disney/Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Books, 2017

From the dust jacket, “’Go west, capture Apollo before he can find the next oracle. If you cannot bring him to me alive, kill him.’ Those were the orders my old enemy Nero had given to Meg McCaffrey. But why would an ancient Roman emperor zero in on Indianapolis? And now that I made it here (still in the embarrassing form of Lester Papadopoulous), where is Meg?

“Meg, my demigod master, is a cantankerous street urchin. She betrayed me to Nero back at
Camp Half-Blood. And while I’m mortal, she can order me to do anything … even kill myself. Despite all this, if I have a chance of prying her away from her villainous stepfather, I have to try.

“But I’m new to this heroic-quest business, and my father, Zeus, stripped me of all my godly powers. Oh, the indignities and pain I have already suffered! Untold humiliation, impossible time limits, life-threatening danger … Shouldn’t there be a reward at the end of each completed tasks? Not just more deadly quests?”

“I vow that if I ever regain my godhood I will never again send a poor mortal on a quest. Unless it is really important. and unless I am sure the mortal can handle it. and unless I am pressed for time…or I really just don’t feel like doing it myself. I will be much kinder and more generous that everyone else is being to me—especially that sorceress Calypso. What does Leo see in her, anyway?”

I never read the dust jackets or backs of books before I read them – but now that I’ve read it I can see that readers unfamiliar with this series of books would likely confused by it. So, let me explain briefly. In the first book the Greek god, Apollo, ticked off his father so much that Zeus took away Apollo’s godly powers (which includes immortality), sent him to New York City in the form of a gawky 16-year-old boy named Lester Papdopoulous and told him to perform certain quests before he would reinstate him as a god. Apollo, by virtue of being the god of beauty, music, medicine, etc., is incredibly self-centered to the extreme and thought highly of himself. As Lester, he has trouble accepting that he is now a mere mortal who has a bad case of acne and is nowhere near being the beautiful, charming, sweet-talking, arrogant deity he once was. And, as you can tell from the dust jacket information, the story is all about Apollo/Lester and is told in first-person by Apollo/Lester.

In this book, the author has Apollo/Lester continuing westward where he faces more challenges and some very creative ways of learning humility and compassion. The story is another fine example of Riordan’s ability to tell a story well, which, to me, is harder in first person. It is funny, sad, exciting, and thrilling all at the same time. My only negative comment is that I have to wait until Spring, 2018 for the next installment. I’ve told mom I want to add this series to our permanent library so I can read the first two when the third one comes out. If you liked the Percy Jackson series, you’ll love this fantasy of Greek gods, monsters, demi-gods and mortals.

Rating: 5 out of 5 paws because Riordan’s writing power puts you smack dam in the middle of all the action!! Wait – was that a griffin that just flew by????

Reviewer:

toby-loc
Toby

One Blood Ruby

one blood ruby

One Blood Ruby

Melissa Marr
Harper, an imprint HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017

From the dust jacket: “Now that Lilywhite Abernathy is the heir to the Hidden Lands, everything is about to change. The Queen of Blood and Rage wants Lily to help broker peace with the human world, but Lily knows that harmony won’t come easily. After decades of waging war on the humans, who cost the queen her firstborn daughter, the fae are struggling to accept Lily, a half-human monarch. And the humans, while no match against faery affinities, will hardly agree to the queen’s détente without resistance.
“Lily wants to be a fair ruler but fears having to abandon the life she’s known to do so. Now that she and Creed are more than just fellow Black Diamonds—operatives for the queen—her priorities have shifted. But her worries about assuming the throne are derailed when it becomes clear that someone—or some fae—is masterminding violent attacks to discourage peace.
“In this gripping follow-up to Melissa Marr’s Seven Black Diamonds, Lily and her friends are forced to reckon with the truth of their own parentage and to protect one of their own, no matter what—or who—comes between them.”

I was looking forward to reading the follow-up to Seven Black Diamonds and was (mostly) not disappointed. Melissa Marr is very skillful at crafting a believable world where humans and fae (faery) coexist. These two books aren’t on the same level as her Wicked Lovely series, which I hope to reread sometime this summer, but they are very well done. As a book for young adults there is some (mostly) non-graphic violence, allusions to sexual encounters and a curse word here and there – nothing that youth of today’s world would even think twice about.

At first I was a little lost since it had been several months since I read the first book but I caught up quickly and enjoyed the story. My only constructive criticism is the book ended too quickly. After the dramatic (and somewhat violent) climax, everybody said their last words and it was done. I have read so many books and watched lots TV shows/movies that ended with the surviving characters recovering in the hospital with all their well-wishers surrounding them that the book’s ending (which ends in a hospital room) was really rather cliché.

I feel the author should have taken another chapter to wind things down – not a long chapter, just more than a couple of pages. It’s always bothersome when an author wraps the story up too fast – you know how when humans get in their car too fast and either the belt of their coat or some other piece of clothing they’re wearing gets caught in the door and when they drive off it’s like a tail just-a-flappin’-in-the-wind. I don’t know if that’s a good metaphor or not but that’s what I feel like – like the author said, “I’m done!”, jumped in a car, raced off to start something else, and the I’m left there, just-a-flappin’-in-the-wind wondering what happened. The characters deserve more respect as do the readers.

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because despite the severed ending, I still liked both books a lot.

peggysue-loc
PeggySue