Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (2004)

Book review: Thursday Next #4: Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (Hodder and Stoughton, 2005 [2004])

somethingrottenThursday Next means business.

Literary detective Thursday Next is on a mission – and it’s not just a mission to save the planet. If only life were that simple …

Unemployed following an international cheese-smuggling scandal, our favourite cultural crime-fighter is faced with a world of problems: Hamlet’s not attending his conflict resolution classes, President George Formby is facing a coup led by dastardly Yorrick Kaine and, what’s more, the evil Goliath Corporation are refusing to un-eradicate Thursday’s husband, Landen.

Will she ever see Landen again? Is shopping the new religion? Can Thursday prevent Armageddon? And who will babysit her son while she does it?

Join Thursday on her toughest assignment yet, and enter a world where fiction is always much stranger than the truth …

She’s back again, and it’s been two years since the previous instalment, The Well of Lost Plots. Thursday Next and son Friday (speaking in Lorem Ipsum) are back in the real world, after having spent the past couple of years inside fiction, and find the real world rather strange. The fictional Yorrick Kaine is trying to oust George Formby from his presidency-for-life, and starts a strange kind of crusade against everything Danish.

Thursday’s pet dodo has a son with a horrible attitude, Hamlet is taken into the real world because of his issues and there’s mutiny going on in the play. If only Shakespeare was still around to sort the mess out! … Or is he?

Then there’s the Goliath Corporation, who are trying to re-structure and re-brand themselves as a religion – and a part of that is to apologise for their past behaviour. Maybe that way, Thursday can finally get her eradicated husband back?

According to prophecy, if the Swindon Mallets don’t win the SuperHoops of 1988, the world will end, even if the 13th century prophet St. Zvlkx re-appears. In Tesco. So, basically, Thursday has her work cut out for her.

In the review for the previous novel in the BookWorld (Thursday Next) series, I mentioned things didn’t seem to progress very much. Things were still lingering on, and it felt a bit like it should come to a head once and for all. That’s what I liked about Something Rotten. Things finally come to a head: Kaine, Landen, even the punishment for changing the ending of Jane Eyre. Everything!

While I’m not versed in Shakespeare, so a lot of the Shakespeare references go over my head, it’s still a funny novel. The amount of Battenberg cake going around is enough to give you cravings, and while the genius of mixing real world with fiction is still there, it’s refreshing to have this one mainly set in the real world. Strangely.

The thing is, Something Rotten feels like it’s better paced, and it’s nice to see Thursday’s pals at SpecOps again. She’s on full form and it’s a joy to read. There are still lots of giggles and things for bookworms everywhere, but it stands on its own two feet without needing to rely too heavily on other works. Definitely worth a read!

5 out of 5 Neanderthals.

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