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First Among Sequels: Thursday Next    by Jasper Fforde order for
First Among Sequels
by Jasper Fforde
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels were like nothing I had ever read before. They defied genres, deftly mixing fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, action, horror, and even historical as the Special Ops Literary Detectives jumped from book to book. Now, the intrepid Thursday Next is back for more adventure in Thursday Next: First Among Sequels.

Twelve years ago, most Special Ops units were shut down. However, under the guise of a carpet store, Thursday Next and her displaced associates are still keeping England safe from prehistoric beasts, demons, and rogue literary characters. Thursday still has her job with Jurisfiction (although she keeps it a secret from her husband) and is attempting to train her fictional selves as agents while keeping Outlanders out of BookWorld. BookWorld is in trouble, though, as reader rates decline due to short attention spans, and Thursday must keep the Council of Genres from making unwise decisions regarding feuding genres and pushy Outlander producers. Thursday must also keep the peace at home as her son refuses to follow his destiny and join the Chrono Guard. However, none of these obstacles compare to her hardest task yet defeating herself to save BookWorld.

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels is a good return to Fforde's series, but lacks a little in novelty. I think this is due to Fforde's updating it from an alternate 1980s to an alternate 2000s. Some aspects that make the first four books so imaginative such as airships and dodos are either gone or explained away in this book. Nonetheless, fans of the series will rejoice at the return of Thursday Next and enjoy her new adventure. Fforde displays a unique talent in creating wild plot situations and fun characters that readers will remember long after putting the book down. You do not have to read all four of Jasper Fforde's previous Thursday Next novels, but it does help to at least have read The Eyre Affair to get some of the humor in Thursday Next: First Among Sequels.

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