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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did I say rest ??? :)
As you already know, "The Well of Lost Plots" is the 3rd book in the "Thursday Next" series. After reading the first two awesome books in the series, you might think that there is no way the author can surprise you again... However, if you were to think that you would be very wrong, because Jasper Fforde does it again :)
At the end of "Lost in a good book" we left...
Published on June 22 2004 by M. B. Alcat

3.0 out of 5 stars This next Next book gets ponderous
It's rare that a new author can build a franchise immediately, but this is exactly what Japser Fforde has been able to do with his Thursday Next book adventures. But is he able to pull off the trifecta with his third in the series, "The Well of Lost Plots"?
Not many authors are able to boast a wholly original idea and create a unique world out of it; Fforde has...
Published on April 29 2004 by Daniel L Edelen

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did I say rest ??? :), June 22 2004
M. B. Alcat "Curiosity killed the cat, but sa... (Hanoi, Vietnam) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
As you already know, "The Well of Lost Plots" is the 3rd book in the "Thursday Next" series. After reading the first two awesome books in the series, you might think that there is no way the author can surprise you again... However, if you were to think that you would be very wrong, because Jasper Fforde does it again :)
At the end of "Lost in a good book" we left Thursday pregnant, with a husband eradicated at the age of two, and followed by the Goliath Corporation (who wanted her skills to jump into books). She was in urgent need of a hiding place, at least until her son was born and she could begin again her efforts to un-eradicate her husband. As a consequence, she decided to "get lost in a good book", more specifically in a B novel in the Well of Lost Plots, in order to get some deserved rest.
Did I say rest?. Well, at least that is what she expected to get, but with her temporary job at Jurisfiction, an assassin killing Jurisfiction agents and grammasites all over the place, getting some rest won't be easy. On top of all that, Thursday must face the very real risk that "Caversham Heights" (the B novel where she is staying for a year thanks to the Character Exchange Program) will be scraped, and deal with an enemy that she thought was left behind in the "real" world: Aornis Hades.
As you can see, the "Well of Lost Plots" is likely to be everything but boring... You will meet again some old friends (for example Miss Havisham), and get to know new ones. But beware: there is a traitor among the people Thursday knows and likes. And where is Godot?. Why doesn't he appear?.
I want to point out that I loved the introduction of the generic characters who lived with Thursday, "ibb" and "obb", who later won the right to use capital letters, thus becoming "Ibb" and "Obb", and who went to school in order to become characters in different books. They are... different, but charming :)
Fforde goes on introducing unexpected things, for example a footnote system that works not only as a radio, but also as cellular phones that allow everybody to listen to private conversations. I liked the misspelling "vyrus", and the idea that in order to contain it many dictionaries were needed, but I hated what happened to one of the characters because of an incident involving that "vyrus".
I probably could go on and on writing about "The Well of Lost Plots", because I loved it, and there are really lots of things to be said about it. However, I think that it is better to allow you to discover the rest, because if I don't let you do that I would be depriving you of a wonderful pleasure...
I recommend this book to all those who love literature and will appreciate casual and pertinent allusions to well-known books and characters, but also to those who just enjoy an innovative and appealing fantasy book. If you would like to "jump into a book", seize the opportunity and do exactly that, with Thursday Next !!!.
Belen Alcat
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious Send-Up of Literature and Writing, July 18 2004
Debbie Lee Wesselmann (the Lehigh Valley, PA) - See all my reviews
From the first chapter of Jasper Fforde's third novel, you can tell that the author had a blast writing this satiric mystery that explores the creation of fiction. Thursday Next - pregnant by her eradicated husband, haunted by a Hades sister intent on destroying her memory, and a Jurisfiction apprentice to none other than Miss Havisham of Dickens fame - takes refuge in a poorly written and unpublished crime novel called Caversham Heights. Thursday expects to rest there until the birth of her child, but she and Miss Havisham discover that the death of another agent by a Minotaur attack might not be the accident it seems. Meanwhile, nursery rhyme characters threaten a strike for not being treated like other fictional characters, two generic characters living with Thursday begin to become more well-rounded, and Thursday tries to save Caversham Heights from being destroyed by the Council of Genres for being so hopelessly bad.
The more you know about literature, the more hilarious you'll find this fantasy. Characters are being manufactured in record numbers because Vikram Seth is planning a new novel, and no one wants a return to minimalism simply because of a character shortage. Heathcliff, Catherine, and the rest of the characters from Wuthering Heights attend anger management classes, and Mr. Toad is relentless in his competition with Miss Havisham for the fastest driver in both the Book World and the Outland. And if you're interesting in writing, you'll gain tips for keeping your novel out of the Text Sea, as Fforde pokes fun at hackneyed writing and incomplete character development.
Because this is my first Fforde novel, I started reading this without any knowledge of what has happened previously in the series, but the author provides enough of a synopsis in the beginning to give a new reader the proper bearings. Despite this, there remains a disjointedness at times as so much satire is pumped into the book that does little to advance the plot. Sometimes Thursday seems to be there purely as a straight man, raising the question that perhaps Fforde should have heeded some of his own lessons in fiction writing. Fortunately, these lapses are few and don't hinder the enjoyment of the novel as a whole. This relatively long novel is not demanding and can be read more quickly than the page count might indicate.
As a literary joke, The Well of Lost Plots is a triumph. As a mystery/fantasy, it is less successful. Readers will nonetheless delight in Fforde's imagination as he takes them through the land of the unpublished and the more solid, though more turbulent, ground of the classics.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious literary fun, June 13 2004
This third installment of the Thursday Next series is just as magical, offbeat, and hilarious as the previous two. I was thoroughly impressed with the world that Jasper Fforde created with the first book, The Eyre Affair, and was glad to discover the same kind of imaginative detail in this novel. I can only think to compare the quirky world of The Well of Lost Plots with that of The Wizard of OZ (but for book lovers!). In this novel, Thursday Next is hiding out in the book world, the world of fiction. She joins the character exchange program, fills a role in a novel so bad that it's threatened to be broken up and recycled in the text sea, befriends some generics that have yet to be actualized into characters, battles a mindworm that is destroying her memories and struggles to solve a series of murders all at the same time.
As an English major graduate with a good knowledge of classic fiction under my belt, what I love most about the Thursday Next series is the amount of humor in the text. Fforde sprinkles witty tongue-in-cheek jokes about all kinds of literature and literary characters throughout the story. The cast of Wuthering Heights is enrolled in a rage counselling group, everyone ends up waiting for Agent Godot, and a multitude of other characters from well known novels have cameos in this book.
My only complaint about this novel is that I was eager to have the plot regarding Thursday's erradiacated husband Landen furthered more than it was. This novel mainly deals with Thursday's own inner battles against her mindworm and the murders in the Well of Lost Plots. --But perhaps I'm too eager. The next Next book is slated for release this the rest will come in time.
I would highly recommend this novel to fans of the Thursday Next series. For those unfamiliar, read The Eyre Affair!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Far from "Lost", June 6 2004
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
In 2002, Jasper Fforde won over fans from all over the world with "The Eyre Affair." Now he's presented "Well of Lost Plots," the third playful satire/mystery/fantasy starring hardboiled detective Thursday Next. It lacks the oomph and tightness of the first two books, but the hilariously literate mystery is still enthralling.
Thursday Next is in self-exile. After her husband was erased as a blackmail ploy and the world was almost reduced to goo, she is lying low to wait for her baby's birth, and to figure out how to bring her husband back. Problem is, she is now living in an unpublished detective thriller in the Well of Lost Plots, a sort of fiction limbo. The fictional people are thrilled to meet an Outlander (a person from the real world), but Thursday must deal with some generic extra roommates, and a pregnancy by the husband who no longer technically exists.
Then her mentor dies horribly, and Thursday finds that her brain is being invaded by memory-erasing mindworm. She sets out to uncover a black market that is recycling characters, and to avoid the attacks of the evil Aornis. Soon the world of fiction is under attack yet again -- and it's Thursday Next to somehow stop everything from collapsing.
One of the greatest things about Fforde's books is how hysterically smart they are. Fforde peppers his book with the Lewis Carroll, Falstaff, the Questing Beast, Mr. Toad, the Minotaur, the early works of the Brontë sisters, Heathcliff, and much more. What's more, he gives them a wink-nudge twist worthy of the best of British comedy.
That isn't to say that it's perfect. Fforde seems to lose the flow from time to time, and the plot takes quite some time to figure out where it's going. But his dialogue is still wickedly funny (when talking about discarded fantasy novels: "Do you have unicorns?" "Yes, sackloads"), and his subtle satire is delicious. It almost makes you forget that the plot meanders.
Thursday is a little more weathered in her third mystery; she's a little more vulnerable than before, which has dulled her edge. She still totes a gun and can be the toughie when required, though. The hilariously tough Ms. Havisham and nurturing Gran serve as nice foils and backups. So do ibb and obb, a pair of generic background characters who have no personalities, backgrounds... or senses of humor.
Fforde's unique fantasy-mysteries are like reading an Escher print, with a bit of Monty Python sprinkled in the margins. "Well of Lost Plots" isn't as good as the two before it, but it's still wickedly intellectual goofiness. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fforde Masterpiece!, May 22 2004
(Warning: Reading this book without having read the first two is extremely hazardous to mental health!)
Thursday Next is back! Hoorah! Being in grave danger from the Hades girl and having been unsuccessful in the recovery of her eradicated husband, she has left the real world (a/k/a the Outland) to spend her gestation period in the Book World. Thanks to her position as Jurisfiction apprentice, she takes advantage of the "character exchange program" to hide out in Caversham Heights (a not-very-good, detective novel that is still under construction in the Well). Thursday mistakenly assumes that this will give her a peaceful year in which to be pregnant, have the child of a man that never existed, and decide just how to get that man's existence back.
Jurisfiction (the policing agency of the fiction world) turns out to be much more exciting than anticipated, what with the Pro Catherine faction trying to kill Heathcliff, the Minotaur disappearing and something odd and dangerous going on with the new UltraWord testings--not to mention the everyday adventures of training under Miss Havisham!
On top of that, she's billeting two Generics in her home, attempting to defeat a memory thief, studying for her Jurisfiction exam, having morning sickness, presenting the Bookie for "Best Chapter Opening in the English Language" and giving advice to a lady gorilla.
Sure, the storyline's a bit unbelievable, there's a lot to keep up with, and I didn't always get the jokes, but all in all The Well of Lost Plots is another gem! Fforde keeps the funnies coming so fast, it's hard to breathe in between them. His Douglas Adams-esq humor, literary jokes and just darn good writing skills make this an A-1 book! But remember, you MUST read The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book before attempting this one. If you ignore this warning, it'll be like reading Macbeth for Yeast* and not at all the pleasant experience it was for me.
*"///..//..///// ......///// .../ ./ .......// ..// ..// ./// ...///////"
excerpt from Macbeth for Yeast, translated by ..//// ..///..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Phantasik Fanthaci Phfunnnn!, May 9 2004
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
I read relatively little fantasy because authors usually make it too much work . . . and not enough fun. Jasper Fforde has exceeded my expectations for fun, and kept me chuckling for hours. Although I have not read the earlier two books in the series (a mistake I'll be sure to remedy quickly), I had no trouble picking up the story line and following the continuity. If this book were to be graded solely on the fantasy world that was created, this book would be about a seven star effort. The subplots could have been trimmed (especially Lola, Randolph, Captain Nemo and the nursery rhyme characters), and this would have been an outstanding book.
Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite fantasy books, and The Well of Lost Plots clearly borrows from that inventive work while adding unique elements relating to how fiction is written, read and understood. Fans of Alice will enjoy meeting the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, the King and Queen of Hearts and the Gryphon. The book also borrows heavily from the Wizard of Oz in its story of conflict between good and evil in a magical land where characters live according to the limits of their development.
As a writer, though, the book had me spellbound in its concoctions to pick up on all of the tasks that writers go through to create books. I often felt like I was traveling through my own mind rather than reading a book.
The book had me chuckling at the same time as a reader. There are constant references to important characters in fiction (such as Miss Havisham and Heathcliff) and plot devices used in those works.
What's the story then? Well, Thursday Next has left the real world for the Well of Lost Plots (the 26 floors of subbasement beneath the Great Library where all English fiction books are shelved)) where all stories are developed and protected. She's pregnant by her husband who was eradicated at age two in an earlier book. She's looking for temporary refuge from the threat to her life. While there, she finds she's been infected with a memory virus that is sapping her recollections of her husband. Miss Havisham is to be her guide, and helps her find a role filling in temporarily for another character in an unpublished book, Caversham Heights. Miss Havisham directs her towards becoming a Prose Resource Operative for Jurisfiction, those who help maintain the integrity of fiction. In that role, she's soon confronted with mayhem, death and a sinister plot that threatens fiction to the core. By book's end, she's made some progress in counteracting those influences, but clearly there's a fourth book to come in the series.
I sincerely hope that English teachers will seriously consider assigning this book to help their students appreciate the true potential of fiction to stir the imagination, inform, influence and intrigue.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This next Next book gets ponderous, April 29 2004
Daniel L Edelen (Mt. Orab, OH USA) - See all my reviews
It's rare that a new author can build a franchise immediately, but this is exactly what Japser Fforde has been able to do with his Thursday Next book adventures. But is he able to pull off the trifecta with his third in the series, "The Well of Lost Plots"?
Not many authors are able to boast a wholly original idea and create a unique world out of it; Fforde has. Readers follow his heroine Thursday Next not only in her books, but into books themselves. In "WOLP," we find her pregnant and hiding away from the Microsoft-like Goliath Corporation, a monolithic, über-corporation none too happy with how she foiled their latest attempt at world domination in the previous book, "Lost in a Good Book." With the ability to actually jump into the storyline of a novel, Thursday has stolen into an unpublished, hackneyed, detective potboiler. There she expects to have her baby in peace, even as she fights to remember the husband the Goliath Corporation erased from the timestream.
But all is not well in the Well of Lost Plots inside the Great Library, the repository of all books ever written. Her hideout book is threatened with being dismantled and sold for scrap ideas. As she tries to become a Jurisfiction agent (charged with keeping storylines pure), she watches her future colleagues--themselves characters from various novels (including "Great Expectations" and "Alice in Wonderland")--killed off one by one. And to top it all off, her memories are being erased by supervillain Aornis Hades, the Minotaur goes on a rampage, and the upcoming upgrade to UltraWord (a new way of improving the book-reading experience) may instead destroy the book world. Toss in two housemates struggling with going from generic characters to fully realized, starring roles in their own novel, and Thursday finds her peaceful escape coming apart at the binding.
For fans of the Next novels ("The Eyre Affair" is the first in the series), coming back to Thursday's adventures is a breath of fresh air in a formulaic marketplace. And yes, another book will come after "WOLP." But this third book has some problems that make it less enjoyable than the previous two--problems that will hopefully be rectified by the fourth novel.
Like so many novels today, it is too long by almost twenty percent, yet the battle against Aornis Hades ends abruptly and with few details. But perhaps most hurtful of all, Fforde's clever world within books has become overrun with too many characters. This makes it hard to keep track of who's who. And the author's attempts to further develop his world leaves readers with almost TOO much detail. Like many books that do this, the flow of reading is interrupted while the reader scurries back to previous novels in the series or to an earlier chapter to doublecheck info. Lastly, "WOLP" takes far too long developing its complex storyline. A third of the way in and virtually nothing has happened. This makes "WOLP" more tedious reading than the earlier books.
Jasper Fforde has conjured up an enjoyable sci-fi/fantasy series that takes us into the world of books like no other before it. Its wacky vision makes it noteworthy. But let's hope that in the next Next book will have more story, better writing, and a whole lot less of everything else or else readers are going to need a shelf of reference books dedicated to the series in order to follow it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Satisfying Thursday Next Novel, April 20 2004
Josh Aterovis (Baltimore, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
Author Jasper Fforde continues to prove himself as one of the more creative, clever and original authors of our time with his third book in the Thursday Next series, The Well of Lost Plots. At the end of the last book, Thursday had escaped from the evil corporation Goliath by entering the Book World, the secret universe that exists inside books where fictional characters are more real than the Outsiders who read about them. She is hiding out in the Character Exchange Program, living inside a rather awful, unpublished detective novel. She is hoping to simply have her baby and remember her non-existent husband. (He was eradicated by Goliath.)
Things seldom work out as Thursday plans, however, and she soon finds herself being drawn out of her restful existence. Things start to turn when she is asked by the characters in her book to help them save their novel from being scrapped for salvage. Then there's the dangerous would of Jurisfiction agents. She is still apprenticed to Miss Havisham, of Dickens fame, and her final exam looms. Before she can become a full agent, several other agents are murdered in a ghastly fashion, and it seems that only Thursday and Miss Havisham are willing to seek the truth. Soon, they find that they are targets as well. Will they be able to solve the murders before they end up victims? Will Thursday be able to save the book she has come to call home? And what about those cryptic prophecies from the three witches? As Thursday tries to answer those questions-and more-she journeys from book to book, everything from Sense and Sensibility to Wuthering Heights to Alice in Wonderland. In the end, though, all she really wants is to return to the real world with her life, baby, and husband...and her memory.
As in his first two books, Fforde maintains a brilliantly witty tone throughout the whole story. I laughed out loud so many times I lost count. The Well of Lost Plots feels less structured than his earlier books, and actually reads more like a series of short stories that are loosely connected at best. While it's not as well-plotted as The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book, it is still a deliciously fun read, especially for fans of literature. He sprinkles his narrative with so many inside jokes that I'm sure I only caught a small fraction. He also offers up a sharp satire of the publishing world with the Grand Text Central's proposed upgrade to the suspicious UltraWord™, a system that promises to be "the ultimate reading experience" but may be something less than advertised. Jasper Fforde has proven himself once again to be a truly original fantasy writer.
Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Crack it open and, pow, the story goes off at a tangent.", April 20 2004
In his previous two novels, Fforde created a wacky, fictional universe in which "real world" characters could transport themselves into books, associate with the characters there, turn back the clock, and even change the endings. Heroine Thursday Next, has saved Jane Eyre from disaster, imprisoned Jack Schitt in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," and ended the Crimean War, but she has also made enemies of some powerful criminals, one of whom has gone back in time and killed off her husband when he was just a small child. Now, pregnant, she is the only person who can remember him as an adult, and her memory is failing. Anxious for a rest, she decides to go with her dodo Pickwick to visit the Well of Lost Plots, where all book characters, plots, and settings reside until they are chosen for novels.
In this most literary of Fforde's three novels, Thursday is an apprentice agent-in-training for JurisFiction, the policing agency that works inside books, her mentor and guide being Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. Living inside an unpublished crime thriller, Thursday explores the Great Library, where the Cheshire Cat is librarian, sees the workshop for backstories (some used, some not), meets generic characters ("human canvases without paint") and "orals" (nursery rhyme characters), tours available settings (high-capped mountains, arched stone bridges, ruined castles), and watches as Miss Havisham joyrides in "Chitty Bang Bang." Holesmiths work there fixing holes in narratives, grammatacists try to prevent grammacites (gerunds) and mispeling vyruses from infecting novels, and pace-setters, moodmongers, and plot speculators work on new creations.
As the Well considers installing the UltraWord operating system, which will expand the basic eight-plot architecture into thirty-two plots, Thursday tries to preserve the memory of Landen, fight against her enemies, and win her trial for a fiction infraction. Fforde pulls out all the stops here, creating a carnival ride through books and the creative process with surprises and delights on every page. Less plot-driven than the previous novels, this novel is episodic, with scenes ranging from a Star Wars-type bar scene to a group counseling session for the characters in Wuthering Heights. While Thursday's exact role is not always clear, Fforde's ability to free the reader's imagination and keep him/her involved in the literary world with its infinite possibilities is daunting. Full of satire, parody, puns, literary jokes, and word play, this latest in the Thursday Next series provides hours of entertainment for anyone interested in books and how they "work." Mary Whipple
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, funny, with a well integrated message. Good one, April 6 2004
Thursday Next is in trouble. Her husband has been stricken at age two and now only Thursday's memories of him keep him alive. She plans on getting him back, but a memory virus is attacking even her own memories of him. And, while the world of literature is getting ready for its annual book awards and for the release of a new book reading experience (the biggest change since the upgrade from Scroll to Book), Jurisfiction agents are vanishing or being murdered. Somehow, Thursday, who has taken refuge in a terrible detective mystery under the character exchange program, must solve the murders, keep herself alive, and regain the memories of her husband.
Thursday's adventures take her across multiple novels--from Sense and Sensibility to Wuthering Heights to The Stars My Destination (one of my favorites) to a variety of pot-boiler mysteries and to the mysterious Well of Lost Plots itself. In Thursday's universe, books are created from characters that are composed of words. Characters dream about moving from stock roles to having a backstory, a name, even taking over a book. Of course, there's plenty of danger and the Jurisfiction agency is responsible for ensuring that books aren't changed--say by having the evil squire actually fall in love with the chambermaid and letting them live happily ever after.
Author Jasper Fforde writes a very funny book, but with some serious political agendas to hone. His mix of clever ideas, cliche, and hackneyed plots (done tongue in cheek) from every new writer's first attempt at a novel kept me laughing and reading. I especially enjoyed the dramatic moment when Thursday nearly fell into the vanished boxing gym--which the author had apparently cut out to use in another book. The magical word creatures add a nice touch.
This is a different kind of fantasy--so much so that I considered reviewing it in general fiction rather than fantasy, but it is fantasy. Fford's strong writing, clever plot devices, and well integrated agenda all add up to a superior novel. WELL OF LOST PLOTS is definitely one to add to your must-read list.
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