Jasper Fforde, First Among Sequels

Serves me right, I guess. Jasper Fforde's First Among Sequels has been on my shelf for some time (though my book-focused obsessiveness, bizarrely, seems to have let me down for the first time as a blogger so that I can't see when I picked up a book I've been about to review), and it's been within sight for weeks now as a reward for finishing this gruelling semester.

In other words, too much pressure for it to rise to the occasion.

It's good, really, and if you've been happy with the others, you'll be happy here again. It's my least favourite of Fforde's books I've read so far, though. There are some inspired bits, such as the idea that if politicians don't regularly do dumb things, there will arise a "Stupidity Surplus" that can only be remedied through stupidity offsets (cue reasonably sensible humour over climate crisis, sniping at both "sides," if one can boil it down that way), and the byzantine plot involving multiple versions of Thursday's son Friday (active in the ChronoGuard) is handled smoothly and effectively.

But I wanted more of the laughs I had with the earlier books; I wanted more absurdity, more abandon, and a richer milieu (like that provided by, among other things, the previous volumes' fake chapter epigraphs from newspapers). My response to this one is muted, even though I persist in thinking that Jasper Fforde is one of the most inventive -- and successfully inventive -- writers currently working.


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