The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde I was somewhere between three and four stars for this, but I thought I'd be generous. The main problem with it is it's completely obvious that it's the author's first book - some of the writing is clumsy, and the ending is totally rushed and a little too neat. However, there's a lot to love in this book.

I really liked Thursday - she was tough and good at her job and independent, without being a cliche, a robotic-type, or generally lacking in empathy. She made mistakes and she did a bunch of stupid shit, but she was essentially a good person. I don't know why, but too often writers fail to make their female characters seem human - they're either too stereotypically feminine, or to earnest in their struggle against that archetype. Points for that.

The plot is in places cartoonish, but I'm fairly sure that was intentional, given the subject matter. Acheron is a total pantomime baddie, but it fitted perfectly. Books within books and the subject of the thin divide between fantasy and reality - whether played out like it is in this book, or otherwise - is one of my favourite tropes and I really enjoyed the way it played out in this.

Like I said, it has its problems - some storylines are completely dropped (what the hell happened to Spike?) and the ending is a bit too... quick. He could have played out the real-life Jane Eyre parallel a little more subtly, I felt, but it didn't ruin it. Also, knowing that this is the first in a series, it makes sense that some things would be left behind. I AM glad that Forde didn't try to have the romance dragged out over a bunch of books - that will-they/won't-they idea has been done to death, so I guess that makes up for it feeling... rushed?

Overall, it was probably more like 3.5 stars, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, and will likely read the next one at some point.

EDIT: Also, for some reason, the idea of having a dodo as a pet, and the noise it makes being "plock-plock" is absolutely adorable. Not entirely sure why.