NESFA Members' Reviews

The Well of Lost Plots

by Jasper Fforde

Viking, 2004 [2003], ISBN 0-670-03289-1

A book review by Elisabeth Carey

Having escaped her assorted enemies for the moment, Thursday Next is hiding out in an unpublished novel in the Well of Lost Plots as part of the character exchange program. She's still pregnant, and her husband, Landen Parke-Laine, is still eradicated, due to the evil machinations of Goliath Corp. Acheron Hades is dead, but Acheron's sister Aornis is still after Thursday, seeking revenge for her brother's death. She also still has to stand trial on a charge of Fiction Infraction, due to her unauthorized alterations to the ending of Jane Eyre, back in the first book, The Eyre Affair.

Anybody else might think this was a good time to lie low.

What Thursday does instead of lie low is try to save the unpublished novel from being recycled into the Text Sea, take her exams to become a full-fledged Jurisfiction agent, try to keep the Wuthering Heights characters from either doing violence to each other, or being killed by ProCath terrorists, attempt to figure out why the about-to-be-unveiled upgrade to the book operating system, UltraWord, is worth killing three senior Jurisfiction agents over, and fight grammasites. Oh, and also fight the mindworm Aornis gave her, that's attempting to eradicate her memories of Landen.

It's all great fun, and very well done. I do find it interesting that the BookWorld feels richer, more layered, more lived-in, altogether more convincing than Fforde's "real-world" alternate history. Possibly he over-indulged in silliness and absurdity in his alternate history. He seems to have put a lot more thought and creativity into making BookWorld, absurd and impossible on its face, feel not only plausible, but real, and peopled by characters far more likely to have depth and complexity than the cartoon villains of Goliath Corp.

The Eyre Affair was fun, but Lost in a Good Book was meatier, more lasting fun, and The Well of Lost Plots is even better. Recommended.

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