Reviews by Jen Chapin-Smith
Thursday Next
»
The fifth in the "Thursday Next" series by Jasper Fforde, "First Among Sequels" focuses more on Thursday's children. She and her husband now have three and their eldest is supposed to enter the ChronoGuard like his grandfather. They know this because someone from the future informed them. Her son, Friday, is resisting, which is throwing the future into danger. Meanwhile, Thursday is also encountering renegade apprentices, Big Brother-like corporations, and throuble from Cheese Enforcement Agency (cheese as become a highly valued black market commodity).
Thursday's world is somewhat parallel to our own: she lives in Swindon, England. Yet the technology there is quite different. People travel in dirigibles rather than airplanes. Wales is its own nation. Scientists have cloned neanderthals, dodos and wooly mammoths, who now migrant freely across England. Thursday is also secretly part of a police force investigating crimes in fiction, such as "real" world murderers who are hiding in novels or people trying to disrupt plot lines.
The quality of the series deteriorates with each novel, yet I still enjoyed them and read the entire set.
Chromocracy
»
Jasper Fforde begins what he promises will be a trilogy with "Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron" set in an alternate universe in which people live in a hierarchy according to which colors they can see and to what degree. I have dubbed it a chromocracy, although Fforde does not use that term. Colors that everyone can see are a precious commodity regulated and used like electricity or water in our own world.

The totalitarian government also enacted frivolous rules, such as outlawing spoon production (hence the shortage of and so high value of spoons) and the number of friends each person can have. Everything has a number, including the last living rabbit, which is on display for the public to see.

Our protagonist, Eddie Russett, who can see red, has been sent with his father to the nowhere town of High Saffron (possibly in what we would call Wales) to conduct a chair census, possibly as punishment for Eddie's practical joke. The pair soon figure out that this is a permanent move for them. Meanwhile, Eddie meets Jane, a grey (someone who cannot see color and so is in the lowest caste) who is involved in a secret movement to overthrow the color dictatorship.

Meanwhile, Eddie gets caught misbehaving by the town council, which sends him on a dangerous mission.

I'm eager to read the sequels to find out how Eddie and Jane's relationship progresses and whether the freedom movement is successful.
Chromocracy
»
Jasper Fforde begins what he promises will be a trilogy with "Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron" set in an alternate universe in which people live in a hierarchy according to which colors they can see and to what degree. I have dubbed it a chromocracy, although Fforde does not use that term. Colors that everyone can see are a precious commodity regulated and used like electricity or water in our own world. The totalitarian government also enacted frivolous rules, such as outlawing spoon production (hence the shortage of and so high value of spoons) and the number of friends each person can have.

Our protagonist, Eddie Russett, who can see red, has been sent with his father to the nowhere town of High Saffron to conduct a chair census, possibly as punishment for Eddie's practical joke. The pair soon figure out that this is a permanent move for them. Meanwhile, Eddie meets Jane, a grey (someone who cannot see color and so is in the lowest caste), who is involved in a secret movement to overthrow the color dictatorship.

Meanwhile, Eddie gets caught misbehaving by the town council, which sends him on a dangerous mission. However, he discovers terrible plots and murders along the way.

I'm eager to read the sequels to find out how Eddie and Jane's relationship progresses and whether the freedom movement is successful.
Chromocracy
»
Jasper Fforde begins what he promises will be a trilogy with "Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron" set in an alternate universe in which people live in a hierarchy according to which colors they can see and to what degree. I have dubbed it a chromocracy, although Fforde does not use that term. Colors that everyone can see are a precious commodity regulated and used like electricity or water in our own world. The totalitarian government also enacted frivolous rules, such as outlawing spoon production (hence the shortage of and so high value of spoons) and the number of friends each person can have.

Our protagonist, Eddie Russett, who can see red, has been sent with his father to the nowhere town of High Saffron to conduct a chair census, possibly as punishment for Eddie's practical joke. The pair soon figure out that this is a permanent move for them. Meanwhile, Eddie meets Jane, a grey (someone who cannot see color and so is in the lowest caste) who is involved in a secret movement to overthrow the color dictatorship.

Meanwhile, Eddie gets caught misbehaving by the town council, which sends him on a dangerous mission.

I'm eager to read the sequels to find out how Eddie and Jane's relationship progresses and whether the freedom movement is successful.
Thursday Next
»
Anyone who majored in English or literature will adore the "Thursday Next" series with its constant literary allusions. I highly recommend this series that makes lit geeks like myself feel smart.

The series is set in an alternate version of Swindon, England. In it, scientists have cloned and brought back to everyday life neanderthals, dodo birds, wooly mammoths and other creatures. People travel in dirigibles, rather than airplanes. Wales is a separate nation from England and cheese has become a black market commodity.

However, in "The Well of Lost Plots" the author begins to change the rules about how literary characters live and who they are. They stop being the characters themselves and become actors who play a role when someone is reading the novel. In this novel the readers hear less about existing literature and more about how it is manufactured in an alternate universe away from the eyes of most humans.

In this book, the now pregnant protagonist, Thursday Next, is hiding in an unpublished novel from the Big Brother-like Goliath Corporation. Goliath runs everything, is angry at Thursday for foiling their evil plans in the last book, so they eradicate Thursday's husband from the timeline as if he never existed.

Fforde's rule change is necessary for the plot line of "The Well of Lost Plots," but it takes away from the sense of magical realism of the previous two novels.

Nonetheless, I find the "Thursday Next" series enjoyable and read every one.