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In which we enter a world where libraries have armed agents to enforce late fees and toast parlors are all the rage

Title: The Woman Who Died A Lot

Author: Jasper Fforde

Disclaimer for the uninitiated: What you are about to read is a review of the seventh book in a long-running series. Be warned that reading this review will probably lead to severe confusion and potential psychotic babbling without first having read the previous six volumes. If uninitiated, please direct your attention to The Eyre Affair and prepare to enter the world behind the written word. Highly recommended for all book lovers, very comedic, but may contain dodo birds.

What it’s about: Following an assassination attempt in the Book World, the once-great Thursday Next finds herself mildly incapacitated with a limp and a possible addiction to pain patches. But Thursday can’t stay out of the line of fire for long, especially if she plans to take on the role of Chief Librarian for the Swindon All-You-Can-Eat-at Fatso’s Drinks Not Included Library Service. Plus, there’s the problem on the eminent smiting of downtown Swindon by an angry Deity if her sixteen-year-old genius daughter Tuesday isn’t able to get the Anti-Smite Shield up and running by Friday. Following the eradication of the Chronoguard, her son Friday is now without function and his Letter of Destiny helpfully indicates that he’ll be put away for murder on Friday as well. A bunch of fabricated Thursdays seem bent on replacing her, who knows why, and she now has a tattoo on her hand to remind her that her daughter Jenny is just a mindworm—though why she has it is unclear since Landen’s the one who believes in her anyway, right?

Though I usually enjoy the Book World more than Thursday’s real world, I was pleasantly surprised with this Thursday installment. The key was in Thursday herself, who has changed a lot since her early days of guns-blazing bids for glory. Thursday is definitely showing her age—she can barely stand up without help, let alone draw her weapon on a Goliath agent in a firefight. So this time around, Thursday has to use her smarts and learn to trust others when she’s in a jam. The older, wiser Thursday was a welcome switch for me. I also enjoyed the wealth of library jokes and strongly encourage Mr. Fforde to go into production on his “Don’t Give Me Any of Your Shit—I’m A Librarian” T-shirts as fast as possible.

Would I recommend? Certainly. Longtime Thursday fans won’t be disappointed and may be happy to see this new development in the Nextian universe.

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