I finished my fifth book of May yesterday, and I’m quite proud I finished that many books considering I had to write four papers this month. The Eyre Affair perfectly fits my Books About Books Challenge, as the title would suggest.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde is one of those books that is both entertaining and absolutely absurd. I’ve been trying to figure out how best to describe it, but as it turns out, The Wall Street Journal perfectly encapsulates it:
“The Eyre Affair combines elements of Monty Python, Harry Potter, Stephen Hawking, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Now if that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will. Here’s a short summary of the book:
The Eyre Affair follows Special Operative Thursday Next, as she tries to solve a couple of literary crimes. It takes place in Great Britain, 1985, and there are a few things you should know. The Crimea War is still on, dodos have been cloned and can be had as pets, bananas don’t exist yet, but time travel does.
Not to mention that literature and other arts are the most important part of society. When classic literary characters go missing, it’s up to Thursday to catch the culprit before these characters are lost to the public forever.
What I liked
This book was positively quirky. I thought I was going to read an unusual detective, and I got that, but so much more. Thursday is one of those characters you can’t dislike. She’s honest, no-nonsense, and loyal to the cause. At the same time, she’s not afraid to take some, uhm, moral liberties in order to get the job done.
I loved how most of the characters had quirky names, too, and you could kinda tell which ones were gonna be bad news. I mean, there are characters called Acheron Hades and Jack Schitt!
Plus I thought the writing was utterly enjoyable. The book was chock full with typical British humor, which I love. I’ve seen reviews of Fforde’s books saying you should either read them drunk or sober, to keep up with the writing, and there’s a truth to that. Nothing is really explained, but for some reason it doesn’t take away from the story at all. You find yourself turning pages regardless, wanting to find out more.
What I liked less
Unfortunately, one of my main gripes with this book is that the plot is kind of slow to pick up. I was a third of the way in before the main plot really started. Luckily, the first 100 pages weren’t boring; there just wasn’t a whole lot of direction yet. Additionally, there were occasions where the characters got sidetracked randomly, and it made the story confusing at times.