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The Well of Lost Plots: 03/28/07
The third in the Thursday Next series suffers from the same problems as the first, The Eyre Affair, namely an excessive amount of world building at the expense of plot.
Hoping to protect her memory of her eradicated husband and to convalesce during her pregnancy, Thursday Next seeks refuge inside the world of an unpublished book, accessible via the well of lost plots. So hung up on the possibilities of puns and metathreads, Next is tossed from one contrived situation to another, saving the bulk of the plot for the last fifty pages. Out of 350 pages, it is too long to wait for something to happen.
There were a couple of clever moments earlier on, like the multiple copies of cars Next sees on the street inside of the book version of Swindon and the suggestion that Flatland was the last original plot ever contrived before plots started being recycled.
Overall though, Fforde needs to stop trying to explain every detail of his worlds (fictional and Outlander) and just let his characters live in it. When he actually lets his characters live and go about their lives, he can tell an entertaining story. He needs someone to rein him in on his world building.