This is the seventh book in Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series. I have been a huge fan of this series ever since I stumbled across the first book, The Eyre Affair, on the wrong shelf in my local library. I was a little hesitant to read this one, however, since the fifth book ended in a big cliff hanger and the book after that spent the whole time following another character. Basically, since I was all caught up with the series, I had to spend several years wondering if one of the major characters was dead or alive! Although, we finally found out what had happened at the very end of the last novel, I waited a long time to read this one (because I had some trust issues!) Fortunately, this book turned out to be the one I had been waiting for!
This series is very hard to categorize. It has elements of multiple genres, particularly sci fi and fantasy, and it also has tons of references to classic literature. The main character, Thursday Next, has worked in law enforcement both in the real world (which is mostly like ours, with a few key differences, like time travel) and in Bookworld. In The Woman Who Died A Lot, Thursday’s injuries prevent her from jumping to Bookworld, and she is hoping to return to her old job as a Literary Detective. Instead, she is named Chief Librarian. Apparently, libraries in Thursday’s world are quite different from ours. They receive huge amounts of funding, their names include corporate sponsors (like stadiums do here), and they even have security guards who can use SWAT-like tactics to retrieve overdue books.
While some of Thursday’s friends hope that this cushy job will make her life calmer and safer, there is still plenty of trouble brewing in Swindon. The city is going to be smited by an angry deity unless Thursday’s brilliant daughter, Tuesday, can develop her Anti-Smite shield in time. Thursday’s son, Friday, is struggling with a lack of purpose ever since the discontinuation of time travel erased his brilliant career in the ChronoGuard. An old nemesis, Aornis Hades, is still causing problems for Thursday and her family. And of course, the evil Goliath Corporation is up to no good as usual. In other words, Thursday’s calm retirement is turning out to be just as dangerous and chaotic as her careers as a Literary Detective and Jurisfiction agent.
While I really enjoyed this book, I have to recommend that you read the series from the beginning. The first two books are especially important, as they set up key elements of Thursday’s world. Also, they are incredibly fun to read, and it would be a shame to miss them. As I said before, these books are hard to place in just one genre, but the series’s predominant characteristic is a love of books and reading. It was a lot of fun to see that theme expand to include libraries in the latest novel. I give this particular book four stars, but the series as a whole is a solid five stars! I highly recommend it to anyone that loves books! ★★★★