This is the latest in the Thursday Next series; it is set fourteen years after the last one. She is married to Landen, and lives quietly with him and their three children. She supposedly works at Acme Carpets, but is secretly still working for SpecOps, and even more secretly for Jurisfiction; Landen is one of the only people who doesn’t know this. Her oldest son, Friday, is eighteen; he was supposed to have joined the Chronoguard at sixteen (Thursday has met his older self), but did not and is a stereotypical lazy and sullen teenage boy. The end of the world is approaching and only he can save it, apparently.
I was vaguely curious about what happens in this book, but didn’t really care about any of the characters, especially Thursday Next herself. She is the narrator, so this is problematic. Thursday has an apprentice, and spends far too much time explaining the workings of the Bookworld to her; I am glad that Fforde has the mechanics of the world worked out, but I don’t like long infodumps. I didn’t care enough about the plot to get past my indifference to the characters, either. The lying to her husband about her job (for fourteen years?) really bothered me; I was waiting for (but didn’t want to see) the inevitable scene, especially since it seemed like everyone knew and were advising her to tell him.
I loved The Eyre Affair, but have had mixed feelings about the later books. I have them all, but it’s been a while since I read any of them; I do remember that my least favorite before this was the second one (Lost in a Good Book) and know a few people who stopped reading there. I did like the other two better than the second. I think I like the world itself better than any of the characters, and this book (at least as far as I read) wasn’t as much fun as the previous books; it was all Thursday explaining her current situation and the mechanics of the Bookworld and worrying about her son.
I will eventually try this again, maybe after re-reading the others. Part of the reason I didn’t finish it is because I ran out of time: it’s a library book, I didn’t have as much time as I expected to read it, and it’s due and non-renewable (though there are other copies available). I made it about halfway through only because I was out of town and had finished everything else I had. Maybe rereading the others would make me more interested in the characters. I do want to read this someday, and will probably buy it eventually because I have the others and am not ready to give up on the series yet.