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by Jasper Fforde
Viking, July 2007
400 pages
ISBN: 0670038717

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The Special Operations Network has been disbanded. Many of the former SpecOps members now work at Acme Carpet, where they do SpecOps activities without the authority they once had. Thursday Next is also still working at Jurisfiction, where she helps police the book world. Thursday is keeping her true job a secret from her husband, as she does not want him to worry. Unfortunately things begin to heat up as a serial killer begins targeting characters within the book world.

Then Thursday (possibly one of her selves who appear in fictional form) becomes a target herself. She must track down the serial killer, while trying to accomplish other important Jurisfiction tasks. These tasks include hunting down the humor in Thomas Hardy books, stopping the Goliath Corporation from de-regulating book travel, training new operatives and any other problems that might arise.

Outside of the novel, Thursday must also try to motivate her slacker son, Friday, to join the ChronoGuard and save the world. As she has met his future self, she knows that he joins the ChronoGuard and radically changes the future. Finally, the world's attention span is getting shorter and without corrective action, the book world and meaning in general will be lost. Luckily Thursday Next is a talented detective and will use all of her resources to protect the book world.

Like all of the books in the Thursday Next series, THURSDAY NEXT: FIRST AMONG SEQUELS is campy and sarcastic. This book combines the literary novel with the mystery with the genre of cult fiction. In theory this book has something for everybody as it touches on so many different genres, although there might be too many genres for readers who prefer their fiction pure. The Thursday Next series can be incredibly humorous but it takes a certain type of reader to enjoy these books.

I really enjoy the series even though a portion of each book is irreverent to the plot or the series in general. I appreciate humor dealing with a Stupidity Surplus or the Cheese Enforcement Agency. I like the idea of Jurisfiction keeping books safe and regaining things lost through the generations. For example, I hope that someone is able to discover the missing comedy in Hardy's books, as humor would make his books more appealing. This type of approach to literature and the fiction is not found frequently but it does make for entertaining reading.

I did not read the previous book in the series so some of the events that happened in THURSDAY NEXT: FIRST AMONG SEQUELS are surprising. While it is possible to read and enjoy it as a standalone, I think this book would be best enjoyed when the reader is already familiar with events from the previous books.

I look forward to each new Jasper Fforde book and THURSDAY NEXT: FIRST AMONG SEQUELS proves to be no exception.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, June 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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