The Well of Lost Plots (#3) by Jasper Fforde

Published: January 19th 2004
Goodreads badgePublisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 360
Format: Book
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Pursued by a sinister multinational corporation and an evil genius with a penchant for clothes shopping and memory modification, literary detective Thursday Next is on the run. Not an ideal situation considering she is pregnant by her husband who is presently suffering a non-existence problem.

Taking refuge in the Well of Lost plots – the place where all fiction is created – Thursday ponders her next move from inside an unpublished novel of dubious merit entitled Caversham Heights. But in Thursday’s world, trouble is only ever a page away, and when a succession of Jurisfiction agents are killed, only one woman is up to the job of unmasking the villain responsible.

Will Thursday ever be able to enjoy the quiet life again, or is she about the lose the plot completely.

Inside the Book World, the Well of Lost Plots is where fiction is created. Not only the ideas, but the unpublished, rejected and snippets of stories that have ever been thought of. It is wonderful place, and it is here that we find Thursday Next, hiding within an unpublished Caversham Heights. So welcome to February, and welcome to book number three in the Thursday Next series!

We left book number two with Thursday’s great idea, and this has led her back into the world of literature. Hiding within a novel does not mean a time of rest as Thursday must play her part in the novel as cover, accompanied and with the help of her partner DCI Jack Spratt. As we follow Thursday’s story we learn more about The Great Library and the ins and outs of the Book World we know, but we also get to see the workings of The Well. Inside The Well is where the unpublished books, characters and stories exist, ever hoping to one day be published. The Well has been mentioned in previous books as part of the many sub-levels but this is the first time we get to really see what it is like.

As the narrative explores Thursday’s time down in The Well, Miss Havisham returns and continues Thursday’s training to become an agent. Woven into all the other plots and drama we follow them as they venture around the world solving everyone’s dilemmas, with Miss Havisham being delightfully fun to read about as per usual. Along with Miss Havisham there are many people I adore in this book but Granny Next is definitely a strong favourite. She joins Thursday in the Book World to help her cope, and help her remember what she needs to remember. With Granny Next we are given parts to her story as well, something I find amusing because I am sure it is offending someone in the world somewhere. Personally, I think the moments with Granny Next and Thursday are the best moments to read about in the grand scheme of things, but there is so much going on and so many funny moments you can’t truly pick one. Though Humpty’s drama gets a special mention because I was so pleased with myself when I understood something it made me feel rather special.

What I think is the most enjoyable aspects are the ongoing narratives through this series.  Of course there as probably hundreds of little things that make it wonderful as well, but the underlying story that has structure and consistency makes it that much greater. Naturally there are things that are raised and solved within each book, but by having the same stories, the same issues, and the same people pop up as the books in the background throughout gives an added sense to the real world feeling. Things take time, and ongoing political and global issues are going to still be there no matter what is happening that week, month or year. So by having these issues from past books return, along with new faces, old faces, bureaucratic issues and just plain old murder (which is never as plain as it appears), Jasper is giving us everything we would ever need to create a simply beautiful and spectacular book to read that makes life that little bit more interesting.

I’ve just about given up trying to list all the books Fforde mentions, whether in passing or as a major contributor, so I won’t. Just know there is something for everyone. We also see a greater connection to Jasper’s other series The Nursery Crimes in Lost Plots too. Something that will, naturally, make you want to read them as soon as possible as well. The footnoterphone returns which is always a fun experience, there are grammasites, the mispeling vyrus, and BOOK V8.3 is getting an upgrade. There is also the glam affair of the 923rd Annual Fiction Awards, a mysterious trial, and a lot of waiting! There really is no end to the excitement. The Well of Lost Plots does progress Thursday’s story, but it also spends a lot of the time expanding our view of the Book World rather than the real one. We gain more understanding of how detailed and intricate this world really is, and just how simply reading a book can cause all sorts of emotional, physical and bureaucratical stress. You will never look at books the same way after this novel, I promise you.

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