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First Among Sequels (2007)

First Among Sequels (2007)

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3.99 of 5 Votes: 3
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0670038717 (ISBN13: 9780670038718)
viking adult

About book First Among Sequels (2007)

First Among Sequels is the fifth Thursday Next book, a book series which is impossibly to accurately sum up, because it’s so weird, and stubbornly resists classification (on purpose). I suppose in theory you could start reading the series with this book (after all, I had largely forgotten most of the details of the previous four when I started it and it turned out fine for me), but you’d really lose appreciation for the little details if you did that, and a lot of the stuff you just wouldn’t care about because you wouldn’t have much context for it. So start with The Eyre Affair. It’ll turn out better for you, I promise.With that said, First Among Sequels was good, but not great.I don’t remember very much about it, even though I read it only a couple of weeks ago (again, good not great). I do remember that it mostly involved: 1) Thursday running a company called Acme Carpets as a front for both her work with the now unofficial SpecOps (disbanded in the wake of previous book events), and for her work in BookWorld, which she is currently hiding from her husband, Landen; 2) Thursday and Landen trying to get their layabout son Friday to accept his destiny as a VIP member of the ChronoGuard (essentially a time-traveling police force) — this is important because grown up Friday has saved Thursday on many occasions; 3) Thursday training two of her BookWorld selves (Thursday5 is from the fifth Thursday Next book based on Thursday’s adventures, and Thursday1-4, well . . . you get it); 4) The ghost of Thursday’s uncle returns and nobody knows why; and 5) a running subplot about the Stupidity Surplus in the government, among other things. (Again, see above mention of this book being too complicated to explain.)The main problem with this book is that for the first 2/3, it doesn’t really seem to have any cohesive storyline. Of course, by the end, you realize all that meandering and punning and stuff did have a point and it all ties together, but that doesn’t change the fact that it felt like nothing but meandering at the time. Normally, Fforde is good at making his puns and jokes and clever asides feel relevant, or at least so fun that you forget there’s supposed to be a main point or a through-line of some sort, but here it just felt like he’d done it all before. (Except for the Friday time-travel bits. I really liked those. Also the thing with Jenny, their third kid . . . that was sort of a gut punch.) Not having an obvious plot also brings out my annoyance with the BookWorld, which is mostly that it’s overly complicated, but also on a personal note, the idea that books are ‘built’ in BookWorld sort of takes away the agency of authors, and I find that irksome.Anyway, if all you care about is if this series is still silly and full of literature references, you’ll have a good time. It is very silly indeed (although not nearly as deliriously silly as the second Nursery Crime book, which I enjoyed much more than this one). I’ve heard books six and seven are more on par with what I’ve come to expect from Fforde, but we’ll have to wait for my official verdict until 2015.

Quattordici anni dopo l'ultima avventura (ebbene sì, ci vuole un certo aggiustamento nelle prime pagine del romanzo) Thursday è una moglie e madre di cinquanta anni che lavora in un'azienda di tappeti. Ma l'azienda di tappeti è in realtà una copertura per il suo lavoro per gli SpecOps (ufficialmente smantellati), lavoro che è a sua volta una copertura per l'impegno nella Jurisfiction. Se questo non basta a farvi girare la testa, aggiungo che Friday è ormai un adolescente completamente calato nella parte, ma non in quella che dovrebbe interpretare: anche se sembra fondamentale per la vita di Thursday e il destino dell'intero universo che lui entri nella ChronoGuard, per il momento si rifiuta decisamente di farlo e di interessarsi minimamente alla cosa (o a qualsiasi altra cosa, a dire il vero).Il mondo di Fforde è sempre più metaletterario in quanto in questo romanzo facciamo la conoscenza di Thursday1-4 e Thursday5, protagoniste rispettivamente dei primi quattro e del quinto volume delle avventure di Thursday Next. E gestire le sue alter ego letterarie non è per niente semplice (se non altro per la caratterizzazione agli antipodi), ma ovviamente questa è solo la punta dell'iceberg: come al solito nel romanzo le trame principali e le sottotrame si intrecciano a giochi letterari e metaletterari e a veri e propri colpi di scena.Mi dispiace perché mi pare di capire che in generale questo capitolo non sia molto amato dai fedeli della saga. Io l'ho trovato quasi perfetto, tanto da replicare il voto pieno assegnato al primo volume. E' vero che ogni tanto Fforde esagera nelle spiegazioni 'tecniche' del Bookworld, e che qualche sottotrama viene apparentemente dimenticata (il formaggio letale, la mafia del formaggio, il regalo per il libro di Landen), Fforde e il suo mondo sono sempre fantastici e la forte presenza di Landen, di Friday e delle due sorelle è decisamente un punto a favore: è bellissimo vedere Thursday alle prese con le problematiche familiari di tutti i giorni (magari non proprio di tutti i giorni). Peccato, e qui arriviamo al difetto maggiore del libro, per il finale strangolato. Meno male che il libro successivo è già uscito, basta trovargli un po' di spazio!

Do You like book First Among Sequels (2007)?

This series is one of my favorites. The plot is mind boggling and very engaging. Do try them, just make sure you are well hydrated before book jumping. :)

Jasper Fforde reminds me of a Douglas Adams who came from a happier home. (I have no idea what Adams' home life was like, but for the sake of analogy, humour me.) His humour is less biting, but just as madcap, his characters are kinder, and easier to like, but the surreality is, I think, just as strong, and listen to this nice bit of language on pianos: "Composed of 550lbs of iron, wood, strings, and felt, the 88-key instrument is capable of the most subtle of melodies, yet stored up in the tensioned strings is the destructive force of a family saloon moving at 20 miles per hour."If you read for plot, you're not going to like this book. In fact, if you read for narrative, you may not like it either: at one point, with the future of the time-stream in the balance, a chapter is taken off for an adventure in laying carpet. This interlude has no connection whatsoever to anything happening before or after; you either embrace this sort of thing, or go mad.I can't remember if I've enthused about Thursday as a heroine, but really, she just keeps on getting better. She's an action heroine who doesn't carry a gun, (mostly), she's middle-aged, happily married with children, and not terribly good at communicating with her loved ones. She's female, but not highly gendered, and I think her hair colour may be mentioned once but I don't recall at the moment what it is.This book is fairly standard for Fford, but he does two interesting things with the first-person narrator, neither of which I wish to spoil for you, so go read it yourself.

For a long time, I've been wanting to pick up a Jasper Fforde book, having heard good things. As this was the only book in the "Thursday Next" series that my local library had immediately available, I thought I'd jump right in. Perhaps I should have tried to get one of the earlier books first. I enjoyed the story; it was funny and creative, and had interesting characters. I really got into all the references to different books. However, the plot seemed unnecessarily convoluted, and took too long to get into full swing. I feel like I was missing a good number of inside jokes as well, meant for readers of the former books in the series. There were also two distinct moments in the book when the first-person narration style was a hindrance. The moments involved plot twists that would work perfectly in third-person, but in order to work in first person involved some convolutedness that took me out of the story. I'd say more, but I don't want to spoil anything.Overall, it was a fun book, and I'll get back to Thursday Next at sometime in the future, or perhaps I should say the past, as I intend to read one of the earlier books next.
—Rick Davis

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