Thursday Next: First Among Sequels
by Jasper Fforde
First Among Sequels is the
seventh sixth in the Thursday Next series. The series begins with The Eyre Affair, and they do need to be read in order. Go read that now.
After the events in Something Rotten we get a long break. It is now 14 years later, and Thursday and Landon have three kids, most of the Spec Ops offices have been closed due to government cutbacks, and Thursday is officially done with the Bookworld and Jurisfiction. Unofficially, Spec Ops has gone undercover and Thursday spends most of the day dodging her (un)official responsibilities to deal with bookworldly emergencies.
And Bookworld is in trouble. First someone kills Sherlock Holmes mid-series, and thus amputating the remainder of his tales. The Miss Marple dies suddenly. Temperance Brennan reports odd goings on in her novels. And then someone tries to kill Thursday. It becomes apparent that there is a serial killer on the loose. And as Thursday has long been the star of her own book series (within this series, that is), either Thursday, or Thursday (fictional, number 1-4), or Thursday (fictional, number 5) is likely to be on the killer's list.
Worse, Thursday has been saddled with the task of training Thursday1-4 and Thursday5 (yes, those are their names). Thursday1-4 is a over-the-top action hero figure, and Thursday5 is such a big wuss that her book flopped big time and was remaindered in shame. Now they both want to be Jurisfiction agents, and neither one is any good at it.
In the meantime, Thursday has problems at home. Aside from her ongoing attempts to hide her undercover activities from her husband, illegal dealings on the black cheese market, and a daughter that always seems to be mysteriously missing, she also has to worry about Friday Next -- her son, who had already been the leader of the chronoguard for decades, had also dropped out of the program years before, and was currently not joining the chronoguard. Which is a problem, because he clearly already had... because he had already been going to save the universe (or something).
Obviously, this doesn't make a lot of sense, but it makes much less if you haven't read the previous five books. Quite frankly, this is not really a great addition to the series, although it has some very nice plot twists and is generally a pleasant read. And Jenny Next is one of my most favorite characters ever. If you liked the last book, you will surely like this one, and if you didn't, this is not going to bring you back into the fold.
Oh, and if you buy this book secondhand, beware. The first print run of the UK Hodder edition left out all of the footnotes, including a good amount of the footnoterphone speech. The text is available on-line, but the novel will read much more smoothly if you don't have to keep referring to the website.
The next book in the series is One of Our Thursdays is Missing.