The fourth book in Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, “Something Rotten” is an absolute romp. After reading the fantastic second book, Lost in a Good Book, I couldn’t wait to read a book set entirely in the wacky world of fiction but The Well of Lost turned out to be a disappointment. Thursday’s return to the real world – well, Thursday’s real world – in Something Rotten was the antidote to that disappointment. There wasn’t a moment where I could honestly I wasn’t confused by the insane intricacies of Thursday’s world but it was so much fun that it didn’t really matter and it was all explained with much promise for the following books.
Mixed in with all of this absurdity are some very real messages about politics and human nature that can only be illustrated through this fantasy style. But my favorite thing about Fforde’s novels is probably the hidden (and not so hidden references) to literature, culture, and history peppered and spoofed throughout. I’m pretty sure there was even a Star Wars reference when Thursday and her pals used the Ovinator to get into Wales. I’ve piqued your interest now, haven’t I?
I have yet to find a novel or series comparable to Something Rotten but I absolutely recommend reading the whole Thursday Next series starting with The Eyre Affair.