The Eyre Affair

Title: The Eyre Affair
Author: Jasper Fforde 
Rating: 2
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 374 pgs. 

Synopsis: It’s 1985 in an alternate reality version of England and Thursday Next is a LiteraTec, a detective who investigates literary mysteries. In this world, literature is a *big* deal. There’s also time travel and vampire sand seemingly invincible villains. Thursday’s uncle has managed to create a machine that uses bookworms (actual worms. who eat books) to transport people into works of literature. For example, right now his wife is lost in a Wordsworth poem. Enter Acheron Hades, whose villainy knows no bounds. He’s learned that if you enter the manuscript of a book and make changes, those changes go out to every copy of the book ever created. Hades kidnaps Thursday’s uncle and uses his machine to hold Dicken’s Martin Chuzzlewit hostage. After that plot fails, he decides to go after one of the most beloved books in all of literature, Jane Eyre.

Review: It had so much promise! Who wouldn’t want to read a book with literary detectives, time travel, and the ability to travel into books?! But oh my god, it was bad. Let’s start with the setting: Thursday Next’s world is weird and not in a god way. It’s England, but alternate history, but set in the modern day, but not really, with vampires and genetic splicing, but everything else is normal, but the Crimean war has been going on for 100 years…you get where I’m going with this, it’s just too much. It reminded me of Terry Pratchett, but on a really off day.

The characters left much to be desired as well. Thursday was one of the few fully fleshed out characters, yet her whole focus was on things that happened 10 years ago. Get over it, girl. She has the potential of being a really strong female character, but she ends up being just a stereotype. The other characters were just as bad. Acheron Hades (because of course you’d name your villain after 2 gods of hell) doesn’t have any motivation other than being a pain in the side of the police. He doesn’t seem evil, just bored. Everyone else, including the man Thursday left behind and yet can’t stop think about, were instantly forgettable.

I was all for giving this book 1.5 stars until the point that Thursday went into Jane Eyre. Then the book really picked up and the plot got interesting, it’s just a shame that it waited until the last 50 pages to do so. This book was a waste of my time. Skip it.

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4 thoughts on “The Eyre Affair

  1. Madeleine

    Oh sad! I love the Thursday Next series dearly. I will say, though, that the first book is probably the weakest by far, and that I almost didn't continue with the series. I agree with some of your complaints about characterization. It's definitely not his strength. Thursday, especially, feels a bit cardboard-y or flat at times. She gets better as the series goes on, although it never fully goes away. The other issue I sometimes have with Fforde (I've read his other series too) is that he has these really crazy, intricate plots, and occasionally it feels a little out of control.

    Anyway, now that I said I loved them and proceeded to point out all the flaws…books 2 and 3 were my favorite. If you like the “going into books” aspect of the series, then you might like them a lot better. Essentially, in book 2, Thursday figures out an alternate way to read herself into books, and then Fforde develops this entire BookWorld that exists behind all books. It's a funny/fascinating world, but Thursday joins Jurisfiction (the police force in BookWorld) and is apprenticed to Miss Havisham, and you meet all sorts of characters from books when they're “off-duty”. It's fun. The series does get a bit long in the middle, but I loved the most recent one, if only because Thursday becomes a librarian, and there are all sorts of library jokes.

    “Do I have to talk to insane people?”
    “You're a librarian now. I'm afraid it's mandatory.”

    “Librarying is a harder profession than the public realizes, he said. People think it's all rubber stamps, knowing that Dewey 521 is celestial mechanics and saying 'Try looking under fiction' sixty eight times a day.”

    Anyway, I'll stop rambling now. I SUPPOSE it's okay if you don't like the books I like. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Nox

    No! Don't tell me that! I was fine and dandy just not like the first book and stopping there knowing that my life wasn't missing out on a great series even if it was book related! Now I sort of want to read the rest of them! I'll think about it….. when my book list goes down a bit.

    Reply
  3. misfortuneofknowing

    I'm sorry to hear you didn't like this one! I read The Eyre Affair (and others by Fforde) a decade ago, and I remember really liking it. I wonder if I'd like it as much on a re-read.

    Reply

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