Number of pages: 363
The sixth novel in the Thursday Next series seems no different from the previous, until you realise that the central character and narrator is not the original Thursday.
The previous title, First Among Sequels introduced some extra versions of Thursday that originated in the bookworld when her original adventures were published as books. The narrator here is one of the two fictional versions of Thursday, and we find out quite early on that the original Thursday is missing, and the plot revolves around the search to find her, introducing a new character who is Thursday's understudy (books in this series are presented as plays, with the characters as actors). Thursday spends most of this novel partnered with a robot butler and being chased by "men in plaid", and having to frequently explain that she is not the real Thursday. The novel also involves a lot of politics as there are references to Thursday having to attend peace talks within the book universe, all related to the "racy novels" genre.
This book expands the book universe further by including a transit system with roads named after authors, and even sets out where all genres are located (many seem to be on islands).
Like the previous book, I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the earlier titles; they have never been the easiest of books to read, but they seem to get increasingly difficult, particularly as the plot goes off on a lot of tangents. There are some moments of brilliance though, including a sequence where Thursday goes into the real world, a "mine field", and the appearance of fanfiction characters that are mostly two-dimensional (a joke about the low quality of a lot of online fan fictions).
The plot does get explained in the end, and everything does finally make sense (although the big mcguffin is incredibly surreal); I mostly enjoyed this book, although it took a little while to really get into it. I probably will continue the series with "The Woman Who Died a Lot".
Next book: Christmas Playlist (Alistair Begg)