As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a tremendous fan of series fiction. It’s often frustrating to me when I read the first in a series, and then come to discover that the book isn’t over and the characters are off gallivanting around in another tale without me; carrying on like it doesn’t matter if I pay attention or not. This one had an element of that frustration, until I realized that it’s also a well-crafted stand-alone novel.
How do I describe the plot of this book… Hmmm, let’s see… Literary time travel detectives who save our beloved stories and the culture in which we live by thwarting the greediness of insipid megalomaniacs bent on changing our world through wanton destruction of classic literature. Okay, that’s not perfectly accurate, but it comes close. The author plays at making the dull classics we were forced to read in high school and college three dimensional and much more entertaining. He walks a nearly sacrilege line between paraphrase and public domain rewrites while always returning to the initial integrity of the work. It’s nutty!
This book was a great deal of fun to read, even if it did start out a bit on the slow side. (Series backstory is never very exciting.) Suspending disbelief is easy, just as long as you know a bit about classic literature. In this case, Shakespeare and of course, Bronte. If you don’t have that background, I can see how you might get lost, or at the very least, not fully enjoy the journey. It helps if you get the many inside jokes and side quips that are sprinkled throughout the narrative. There are a bunch of little underlying subplot devices that keep you guessing where the story might go next (some pun intended). Think intellectual Easter Eggs. Plus, the ending made me giggle out loud; so it’s got that going for it.
Will I continue to read this series? Perhaps. Book Two is “Lost In A Good Book”. It sounds like terrific fun… but before I read it, I’ll brush up on my Dickens, Kafka, Potter, Austen, and Poe a bit, just to be sure I get the full effect.
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