I bought The Eyre Affair sometime last year and I'm kicking myself for taking as long as I did to finally read it - because it's got to be one of the funniest and most inventive books that I've come across in years! The book is set in this delightfully fun and quirky world in which everyone is obsessed with literature. If it wasn't for the Crimean War and the Goliath Corporation I think every book-lover would want to visit its world! And I don't think I've ever come across another book which spans as many genres as this book does either. It's a sci-fi novel, it's a fantasy, it's a police procedural, it's a thriller, it's a comedy and it's a literary satire. There's also a little bit of a romance and even a slight horror element to the story (since vampires and werewolves exist in its world and there's a pretty suspenseful scene where Thursday has to confront a vampire).
The characters are a lot of fun in this book too. The main character, Thursday, is clever, resourceful, funny and badass and I really enjoyed her exchanges with her uncle Mycroft and her work colleagues Bowden and Victor. Having said that I'm not sure if she was my favourite character in the book, I think that might actually have to be Hades because he was suave and smooth and got some of the most hilarious lines in the whole book :D He actually reminded me a little bit of Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber from Die Hard.
And finally yet another great thing that this book of course is its connection to Jane Eyre! To enjoy this book a love of Jane Eyre is by no means essential but it will certainly enhance your enjoyment of the story. Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favourite books and although neither Jane or Rochester got a huge amount of page-time in The Eyre Affair I still thought Jasper Fforde portrayed both of their characters extremely well. Unlike some authors out there I could care to mention (glares in the direction of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea), Fforde clearly loves and respects Charlotte Bronte's book.
This book was hilarious, clever, imaginative, suspenseful, and a lot of fun. I loved it :)