I had such, amazingly high hopes for this book. I adoredShades of Grey (no, not Fifty Shades of Grey,Godfuckingdamnit) and assumed that a novel written by the same brilliant quirky mind in a universe where you can step into novels, especially when stepping into one of my all time favorites, Jane Eyre, would be of the same caliber, if not better. I was bloody disappointed.
Thursday Next is the stereotypical drop-in Female Agent Character; see The President's Daughter andSympathetic Sue, from tvtropes, to see what I thought of how her character was built. She was wanted by various parts of Special Ops because of what her father did in the Chrono Guard. Her brother was lost at war, and because of something to do with this fact, she also broke up with her fiance of the time. My real problem with Thursday as a narrator was that her entire focus was on the "pity me" crap from her past. All she can think of during the climax(es) of the novel is of Landen, her ex-fiance. I know she's a woman, but come on Fforde, we do think of things other than our men.
It made me want to kick her in the face hole.
Acheron Hades - what an evil name, right? Okay, so he's kidnapped Thursday's uncle because he built the machine and bred the bookworms that allow one to step into fiction. Okay, so he's stolen a manuscript or two. But Gods above, he is taken as suchSerious Business, and I don't see him as as evil as his name and his adversaries seem to make him out to be. It just escalates too damn quickly for me to really see him as a villain, instead all I saw him as was a mostly-invincible dolt who wanted to be evil. He was a Card Carrying Villain, instead of a truly evil man.
What really, really, disappointed me though, was that even though this novel is calledThe Eyre Affair, we don't really get to jump into Jane Eyre until two thirds of the way through the book, and it was so random after the first 2/3. It seemed like two different stories that were really only barely related to one another.
It did earn itself a star because the stuff with Jane, Rochester, and Thursday was pretty fucking cool. I just wish there'd been more of it. And the parallels between Jane and Rochester and Thursday and Landen almost made Landen bearable - almost.
And that ending!? Dear Gods, we wrapped it up with a neat little bow. And they rode off into the sunset, Happily Ever After.
Headdesk. Please excuse my while I shoot myself.
I am honestly not sure I care enough to read the rest of the series, which is really, really sad because I so loved Shades of Grey (I recommend it to everyone!). I just fear that while this was Fforde's first novel (obviously) that this lack of editing continues. He really needed a good editor for this book, but the series has done so well that I'm afraid he's been given free reign. Though on the flip side of that same coin, I'm sure that in the past 12 years, the man has matured as an author and it'd be interesting to read one of the more modern Thursday Next stories. Hmm. We'll see.