*I received this book from the publisher Viking in exchange for an honest review.
Thursday Next lives in a world…slightly different than ours. Librarians are highly respected and well paid. The punishment for overdue library books is a bit stiffer than a quarter-per-day fine, and then there’s Bookworld, where the characters and places in books actually exist. After being injured in the line of duty as a literary detective, Thursday Next is recuperating. But that doesn’t mean the world is perfect. A mindworm has left her with memories of a daughter she doesn’t have and a tattoo on her wrist as a reminder. The Global Standard Deity is planning a smiting, and Thursday’s genius daughter, Tuesday, hasn’t quite figured out an anti-smiting technology. Thursday’s son, Friday, has problems of his own. The time engines have shut down, and the career he would have had has been replaced. Now he’s slated to murder someone in less than a week, and he feels powerless to stop it. Thursday has been instated as Chief Librarian, but she comes up against her enemy, Goliath and faces a 100% budget cut.
If that sounds like a lot, it is. In fact, it had been long enough since I read a Fforde, that, in the beginning, I felt like I was reading a very fun but very different language. Partly, though, that’s because Thursday and her family are confused. One day she wakes up with cuts and bruises and doesn’t know how she got them. Then, the mindworm with the memory of Jenny, the fake daughter, switches to Thursday’s husband. Her children wake up with signs of fights but can’t recall how they got them, either. What’s going on?
The Woman Who Died A Lot is so enjoyable. In many ways, Fforde’s writing feels much older than it is and in fact reminded me of a book I read when I was young, Rivets and Sprockets (though I don’t remember much about it). The sci-fi feel along with the humor and a touch of mystery is perfect, and I can’t wait to go back and re-read The Eyre Affair and pick up the other books in the series.
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**Congrats to Rebecca at Love at First Book who won a copy of The Woman Who Died A Lot!