So, Jasper Fforde has a new Thursday Next book out! It made my month to see this, especially since it was miraculously available at the library when I went!
One of our Thursdays is Missing is so meta that it will make your head spin. It's set mostly in the Bookworld, and the main character is the written Thursday Next. If you read First Among Sequels, you've met the two competing written Thursdays that got whittled down to one by the end of the book. Well, the book is about her. The characters are somewhat familiar, but different. Pickwick the dodo is played by a total diva who bullies everyone in the written Next household. Thursday's dad is also somewhat of a diva who is always blaming their low read rates on her performance. Acheron Hades, arch-villain of the series, is actually a really nice guy who often does not have a coffee with the written Thursday (the coffee shops are so expensive that no one actually drinks in them, they just go to be seen).
There are others, too. Mrs. Malaprop, trying to manage her unfortunate illness, serves as sort of a housekeeper. Early on, Thursday meets a robot about to be stoned and rescues it, procuring his services as a butler in the process. In order to enable the written Thursday to enjoy the occasional non-coffee and rescue robots, she has an understudy, a talented but panicky woman who likes to get 'hypenated' off her brain and hook up with goblins in her off-hours.
The plot of this one? Honestly, I'm not sure. As the title implies, the real-life Thursday Next has gone missing, and the written Thursday spends some time looking for her, to be sure, but there are all sorts of other complications and convolutions that were sort of tough to follow. If I'm to be completely honest, I didn't enjoy this one as much as the others. I sort of felt the humor wasn't there, and that's what always saved the others from becoming total confusion. But if someone had told me that last week, I would have picked this up anyway, so I won't discourage anyone else.