Review: One of Our Thursdays Is Missing

Review: One of Our Thursdays Is MissingOne of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde
Series: Thursday Next #6
Published by Viking Adult on March 8, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Humor, Mystery
Pages: 362
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

The newest tour de force from The New York Times bestselling author of Thursday Next and Shades of Grey

Jasper Fforde's exuberant return to the fantastical BookWorld opens during a time of great unrest. All-out Genre war is rumbling, and the BookWorld desperately needs a heroine like Thursday Next. But with the real Thursday apparently retired to the Realworld, the Council of Genres turns to the written Thursday.

The Council wants her to pretend to be the real Thursday and travel as a peacekeeping emissary to the warring factions. A trip up the mighty Metaphoric River beckons-a trip that will reveal a fiendish plot that threatens the very fabric of the BookWorld itself.

Once again New York Times bestselling author Jasper Fforde has a field day gleefully blending satire, romance, and thriller with literary allusions galore in a fantastic adventure through the landscape of a frisky and fertile imagination. Fans will rejoice that their favorite character in the Fforde universe is back.

First Sentence: “Everyone can remember where they were when the BookWorld was remade.”

Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series has been for me a very uneven read. Certain installments rank among my favorite books, while others I had to force myself to get through. In fact, I almost gave up on the series after book three, until my parents, who I started on the series, insisted that book four, Something Rotten, was amazing and that I just had to read it. Thus was I sucked back in. Last week, I read book five, which I found quite slow, but with One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, Fforde has once again made me glad I did not give up on the series.

What I will always love this series for, even the books that I would never try to reread, is its utter originality. Of course, that’s a term that gets thrown around a lot in the book-reviewing world, but, if asked to name a book or series I thought truly original, I would probably have to go with this one. I simply have never encountered anything else like Fforde’s work. It’s utterly irreverent, absurd, self-referential, off-the-wall, confusing, pop culture-tastic, humorous, silly, and, occasionally, quite deep.

In One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, we have a new heroine. In place of Thursday Next, we have Thursday Next. Confused yet? Welcome to Jasper Fforde. THIS Thursday Next is the written Thursday, rather than the Outlander Thursday. Told in the first person, the reader follows Thursday Next (from this point the Outlander Thursday shall be called just that for clarity), the tree-hugging one from the Thursday Next novels.

As established in the last book, Thursday Next has been trying to change the series a bit to fit better with Outlander Thursday’s actual image and personality, the original written Thursday Next in books 1-4 having been more like a paranormal romance heroine. Her changes to the series have not gone over particularly well, the whole series now dangerously close to being unread, which displeases her costars greatly.

When she gets an offer to go investigate a mysterious book-crash in Conspiracy, she jumps on the chance, a bit bored with the irascibility of her fellow characters. On the way, a Man in Plaid (think men in black, only…you know…plaid) tells her that a Thursday is missing and disappears. These two elements combine into one big mystery that Thursday Next feels a compulsion to solve. What happened to Outlander Thursday? Will she be back in time to negotiate peace between Racy Novel and the rest of the BookWorld? Why did that book crash?

I thought the first person perspective and change to the basic formula of the previous books brought new life into the book that was missing from the last. I really like Thursday Next, even if she’s not quite as bright or capable as Outlander Thursday. She is perhaps a bit more approachable. Also, her narration allowed for a clever ‘will the real Thursday Next please stand up’ kind of confusion.

Also, there was some really hilarious commentary on published vs. self-published books in here, done in the standard ridiculous Jasper Fforde way. A fact I’d forgotten until I read this is that self-published books used to be known as vanity titles. This still amuses me. In light of all of the recent changes in publishing, I found these themes and his attitudes very interesting, particularly that on fan fiction, though I do wonder if that would be different now that so much fan fiction is getting published.

I apologize to those of you who are probably rubbing your heads in mystified confusion. Jasper Fforde’s books are rather complex, particularly since there are so many of the same (though very different in personality) character running around. However, if you have the patience to disentangle his books, they are a book nerd’s delight, full of puns and jokes poking fun at literary tropes.

Favorite Quote:

“‘Don’t anyone move. . . I think we’ve driven into a mimefield.'”

6 responses to “Review: One of Our Thursdays Is Missing”

  1. Giselle says:

    huh. I never heard of this series before, and I Have to say, this cover is really terrible O_O But I do like smart/complex books with clever humor in it – puns etc. It also definitely sounds original! Glad that this one was better than the last, a change to first perspective is nice I always enjoy those a lot more.

  2. Nori says:

    I loved these books until The Well of Lost Plots, and then I gave up on them…I didn’t even really know that Fforde was continuing with this one! I may end up checking the rest of the series out from my library at some point. This one does sound really good.

  3. fakesteph says:

    I’m not sure I’m completely wrapping my head around this… it does sound original though! I think I may have to try this out. But I hate when a series is all over the place, especially when half the books are amazing and the other half… aren’t.

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