Monday, 4 February 2008

Jasper Fforde, Something Rotten

Jasper Fforde's Something Rotten follows on from The Well of Lost Plots and resolves the series pretty well. It follows Thursday Next's attempts to get her husband uneradicated, her continuing conflict with Yorrick Kaine and the Goliath Corporation by way of the prophesies of a thirteenth century saint, and continuing interference in her life from the various inhabitants of Bookworld. It's a joyous mishmash of literature and time travelling, allowing Hamlet to show up alongside Emma Hamilton and Otto von Bismark, fictional emperor of the known universe Zhark to show up alongside 'president for life' George Formby.

The first good news is that my pet hate, the footnotes, have gone. The second is that for the most part this is a hugely enjoyable book that keeps twisting and turning until the very end. Perhaps it does so a little too much, setting itself up in a series of time travelling paradoxes that are just a little too neat. I also have to admit to a little annoyance with some of the liberties taken with history as we know it, not because I don't enjoy that sort of thing elsewhere, but because it leaves the 'real' world seeming much, much stranger than Bookworld. That seems to defeat half the point of jumping over into a fictional world where odd things happen. Still, on the whole these are minor points that soon fade in the face of more important things, like whether Swindon will win the croquet final or whether Hamlet will ever make up his mind, and this proves to be a very satisfying end to the series.


Andi said...

I've only gotten through book 2. For some reason I can't read these very close together or I get bored with them. But I do love seeing some of my fave literary characters (Miss Havisham!) come to life. :)

stu said...

Read close together they can be just a little too weird. I'm planning on reading the one he did after the series next; the book that Thursday Next spends time in during the third one.