ONE OF OUR THURSDAYS IS MISSING by Jasper Fforde: This is the sixth book in Jasper Fforde's brilliant metafictional, science-fictional, litmystery, and otherwise uncategorizable series about Thursday Next. I hesitate to post a real review of this one, actually, as Fforde's world builds upon itself and the plot doesn't make much sense without prior knowledge of the series: Real Thursday has gone missing and Fictional Thursday must pursue her by unraveling the most sinister plot yet in the BookWorld. Wait, I'll just post the blurb, swiped from Jasper Fforde's website:
"It is a time of unrest in the Bookworld. Only the diplomatic skills of ace literary detective Thursday Next can avert a devastating genre war. But a week before the Peace Talks, Thursday vanishes. Has she simply returned home to the Realworld or is this something more sinister?
But all is not yet lost. Living at the quiet end of Speculative fiction is the written Thursday Next, who is attempting to keep her own small four-book series both respectful to her illustrious namesake and far from the grim spectre of being remaindered.
Despite her desire to stay away from the spotlight, written Thursday is asked by Jurisfiction to investigate a novel that has suffered an in-read breakup and deposited a narrative debris-field halfway across the Bookworld. It's not quite so straightforward: Someone has ground the ISBN numbers from the wreckage, and all of a sudden the mysterious Men in Plaid want her dead.
As the hunt for answers takes her from the Council of Genres to Fan-Fiction and from Comedy to Vanity publishing, written Thursday realises that Real Thursday had been investigating a plot fiendish enough to be killed for. But who is responsible? Only a trip up the Mighty Metaphoric river and a visit to the hideously frightening Realworld can provide the answers.
With her clockwork butler Sprockett and her Designated Love Interest Whitby Jett, Thursday has to get to grips with her inability to match up to her Namesake's talent, and prove herself to the one person she respects more than anyone else: The real her..."
Got all that? Good. If that sounds intriguing, go read THE EYRE AFFAIR, the first in the series. Don't even think of starting with this one. Your head might well explode. It's best to ease into the worlds of Thursday. THE EYRE AFFAIR will introduce you to the alternate-1985 Swindon, in which the Crimean War is well into its second century, zeppelins are the preferred method of air travel, cheese is subject to ridiculous duties and is traded in a brisk black market, Will-Speak machines offer a Shakespeare quote for a coin, the ChronoGuard regulate time travel, and LitCrime is on the rise. Spec Ops Literary Detective Thursday Next is on the case of the fiendish Acheron Hades, who is stealing original manuscripts with evil in mind. Next must read herself into JANE EYRE in order to save the novel, and possibly the world. From here, the adventures only get more chaotic, improbable, and surreal. The next five books in the series spend variable amounts of time in the Real World and the Book World, and we learn much more about the surprisingly banal yet bizarre bureaucracy rampant in the Book World in subsequent books. If all this sounds weird in an off-putting way, you should probably skip it. It's not for everyone, but it's one of my absolute favorite series.
Source disclosure: I have happily purchased this series in multiple formats.