Monday, August 18, 2008

Nextian Geography

I just finished Jasper Fforde's First Among Sequels and have a few comments - spoiler-free! I want to start off by staying that Fforde is one of the few authors who makes me genuinely happy just reading. There are some beautiful explanations, puns, situations ... and a diabolical cameo by one of my favorite fiends, Aornis Hades. The book ended with a few plot threads dangling and one (large) new one just opened ... well, it *is* the first among sequels.

This is the first book in the Next series, however, that felt like a sequel in the Hollywood sense - as if Fforde went back, analyzed popular elements, and made a point of continuing them on popularity, not so much whether they fit a story he wanted to tell. Now, this could be just my vibe, but it is particularly ironic in a book that deals - as part of its plot - with pandering to the demographic. I'm not disappointed by any means, but it struck me peculiarly.

On another highlight points - Thursday's family rocks, and the jump forward to Friday's teenagerhood is far from just a gratuitious gap. Landen, her husband, could so easily be a cardboard character, and yet his page-time is realized with skill.

Also amusement is this novel features the series' first cameo of a character from a series of a living (and active) writer - apparently with permission! Cool.

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