Where better to start than with a book about books? I’ve been wanting to read this for ages, and it did not disappoint. Time travel, metafiction, humor, literary allusions… really, what more could I have asked for? I’ll definitely have to read the rest of the series.
I think my favorite thing about this book was the worldbuilding. I want to live in that world. Well, not that world exactly, because there’s more than a little dystopia in there, but I love that the whole story takes place in an alternate universe where everyone is really into literature. I want to live in a world where Rocky Horror-style productions of Richard III play to packed houses and anyone off the street can make small talk about the Shakespeare authorship question.
- Mycroft’s crazy inventions, which include translating carbon paper and a method of faxing a pizza.
- The stealth punny names. They’re never overtly pointed out, and sometimes Fforde does it extra subtly by introducing a character’s first and last names at different times (Inspector Turner’s first name is Paige), so it felt like a little Easter egg every time I spotted one. I laughed out loud when a character showed up called Oswald Mandias and I realized that Oswald = Ozzie.
- The casual weirdness. There are vampires and time anomalies and pet dodos, and this is all perfectly normal.
Other works this reminded me of: The Great Good Thing, Inkheart, the short story “The Kugelmass Episode”, and the comic series The Unwritten, all of which feature people traveling between the real world and the world of a story. (Not counting Wuthering High or Lost in Austen, simply because I haven’t read/seen those.)
[Edit: Ooh, I have another one: Redshirts! How did I forget Redshirts?]