Something Rotten (Jasper Fforde)

Rating: [rate 5]

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (image courtesy of 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 favorite 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? – blurb from the back of the book

If you were (or still) a fan of Nancy Drew or have read Agatha Christie novels, you’d probably like Thursday Next. Thursday is Nancy Drew and Hercule Poirot thrown in a Harry Potter-like land: an alternate England where there is a special police department named Special Operatives (SpecOps) who deals with EVERYTHING (from literature to the undead), where having a stalker is normal, where time travel is possible and where dodos make good pets. What a world, eh? I definitely agree. :)

Something Rotten is actually the fourth Thursday Next novel in Mr. Fforde‘s Thursday Next series. In case you’re a new reader of his works (like me), you don’t have to worry about getting confused with the characters because more or less each character was re-introduced at the start of the novel. Thursday Next is a literary detective at SpecOps-27, the Literary Detective department (or LiteraTec) of the SpecOps. Thursday is also the head of Jurisfiction in the BookWorld and after living there for two years, she wanted a break for her to properly take care of her son Friday and to find a way to get her husband Landen back after being eradicated by the ChronoGuard (the time-travelling department of SpecOps — SO-12) when he was two. So she goes back to Swindon with her son, her pet dodo Pickwick and her son Alan and Hamlet the Prince of Denmark (who wanted to see if the reports about him from the real world a.k.a Outland is true). Thursday heads back home and tries to fix her life again (and to bring her husband back), but then finds herself under an assassination plot, responsible to get rid of Yorrick Kaine, a fictional character who got out of an unknown book and was planning to become a dictator and of course, to stop the world from ending. What’s new?

The book is a wild ride, totally different from all the other books I’ve read before. It comes close to Harry Potter, but on a different scale because it makes use of references from all other pieces of literature, most obviously from Hamlet. It’s a fun read, with lots of unexpected twists and turns and little subplots to get your mind busy as it tries to connect everything at the end.

As weird as Thursday’s world may have been, she actually feels like a real person, which is quite remarkable given the world she moves in. The other characters in the book (such as Millon de Floss, her stalker, Stig, the Neanderthal from SO-17, Bowden Cable, her partner and Granny Next) feel so real as well, that it would actually make you wonder if this alternate universe was actually, well, real.

The book made me want to read up on classics more (right now I want to get my hands on Hamlet), and read other possible books that Mr. Fforde got some of his jokes from. Something Rotten is a really good read and I can’t wait to get my hands at all other Fforde novels. :)

Read this! I’m sure you’ll have fun. :)