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Something Rotten

(Thursday Next #4)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  32,566 ratings  ·  1,501 reviews
Detective Thursday Next has had her fill of her responsibilities as the Bellman in Jurisfiction. Packing up her son, Friday, Thursday returns to Swindon accompanied by none other than the dithering Danish prince Hamlet. But returning to SpecOps is no snap—as outlaw fictioneer Yorrick Kaine plots for absolute power, the return of Swindon's patron saint foretells doom, and i ...more
Paperback, 385 pages
Published July 26th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published July 31st 2004)
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Jennifer Lee Rossman I don't think you'll miss out on too much if you don't read it, but there are a lot of Hamlet references.…moreI don't think you'll miss out on too much if you don't read it, but there are a lot of Hamlet references.(less)

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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  32,566 ratings  ·  1,501 reviews

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Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fforde-jasper
So here come some of the main ingredients of this part of the series of inimitable inter genre reading cocktails:

Propaganda, manipulation, and warmongering in politics and trade: the satirizing of all the conspiracy theories and real-life events in this regard play a key role in the series, as it´s often the evil corporation that is playing with the next attempt of real-world domination, literary world submission, or just mega sales of a new product, not caring about the potential causality, tim
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor-satire
Jasper Fforde has easily made his way into my favourite authors list. He is smart, witty, inventive, and packs his Thursday Next series full of literary references. He's basically a book lovers dream. The only terrible thing about reading one of his books is knowing it has to end. This one was definitely one of my favourites. Fforde seems to have had a vision of the future because I could swear he based his villain character Yorrick Kaine on Trump. Thursday is, as usual, a magnificent heroine an ...more
The fouth instalment of the Thursday Next series is my favourite one, the one in which all the plotlines set out earlier are woven together and political satire enters the series in a grand way.

In Something Rotten, Thursday returns from the book world to late-1980s England with her two-year-old son, two dodos and the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet, who wishes to see a bit of the world. As it happens, Hamlet's arrival in the real world poses a bit of a problem, for unbeknownst to Thursday, a fictional
R.S. Carter
Have you started the Thursday Next series yet? If not, put the first book The Eyre Affair on your short list. This is one of my favorite series and Something Rotten is easily the best book in the series thus far.

How can a book this hilarious make me weep like a heartbroken teenager at the end? I laughed, I cried - I was nearly institutionalized because of the Fforde-induced bipolar syndrome this book caused.

It wasn't just me. Hamlet (various classic fiction characters make grand entrances in all
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this installment in the Thursday Next series! It moved more quickly than The Well of Lost Plots, and there was some suspense. Overall, it’s the characters and the quirkiness that keep me invested in this series. I love Fforde’s writing style, his humor, and the literary allusions. I love that the series is postmodern surrealist science fiction. There’s time travel, strange technology, and visits to the underworld. Mythological characters feature as much as the characters of the ...more
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
With every book I've read in this series, I've said the same thing: this was fun but I doubt I'll continue on with the series. Well, this is the fourth book and I give up. I'm going to keep reading Thursday Next books because they're absolutely ridiculous and they make me laugh. This time around, Thursday is back in the real world, where she has to deal with fictional would-be dictators, semi-dead presidents, a husband who may not actually exist, violent cricket matches, 13th century mystics, a ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
I'm rereading the whole Thursday Next series and I'm having such a great time! I think I'm actually enjoying the books even more the second time around:) Something Rotten is probably one of my favourite instalment in the series and I just love having Hamlet in the real world, along with Lady Hamilton, an extra dodo, St Zvlkx... This is just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!


The best book in the Thursday Next series & a hilarious must-read ! I really hope Jasper Fforde will write a follow-up
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed

"I knocked at their door and, hearing no answer, walked in. When I was last working at SpecOps we rarely heard anything from the mildly eccentric members of the time-travelling elite, but when you work in the time business, you don’t waste it by nattering – it’s much too precious. My father always argued that time was far and away the most valuable commodity we had and that temporal profligacy should be a criminal offence – which kind of makes watching Celebrity Kidney Swap or reading Daphne
Book Concierge
Book on CD read by Emily Gray.

Book four in the Thursday Next fantasy / sci-fi “literary detective” series. The Goliath Corporation is still trying to take over the world, though this time their scheme is to be declared a religion. Hamlet is staying with Thursday and her family, while she tries to sort out the mess that all the cloned Shakespeares have made of the original play. Thursday’s father, the rogue ChronoGuard, and her mad-scientist Uncle Mycroft, both make significant, though small, con
Ms. Smartarse
I regarded reading the 4th book in the series more like a duty, rather than something interesting to pass time with. I didn't really want to read it now, but since I got through the first 3 I might as well read the 4th one too, right? Plus I would've probably forgotten the plot in a year. In other words: Something Rotten was bound for failure right from the beginning.

... and now I'm wondering if I could just possibly insert yet another I somewhere in this paragraph: I!

sorry bro

Two years have passed since
This took me a LONG time to get into. It has been on my "to-read" list since 2008, so for a while I wondered why I even bothered. I started enjoying it about half way through, and then I came across a passage that made the whole thing worth it:

(view spoiler)
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
After belong a little disappointed by the third book, this one was back in the 'real world', and just as much fun as the first two.
The plot was deliberately complex, full of twists and turns. Nevertheless I found it easy to understand as events follow their own internal logic.

The bad people were vanquished, the good people won (but not without cost), the funny characters amused, and the dodos waddled in occasionally to do their dodo thing.

By the end of the book the major story lines were resolve
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This was just okay for me. There was so much going on. The author kept it reigned in, but it was like a jumbo zig zag. Usually I like busy, so I'm not sure why this rubbed me the wrong way. There was also a fair amount of repetition which caused eye rolling....not excessive eye rolling...just basic eye rolling.

I liked Thurdsay. She was great. I also liked Hamlet. He seemed like the comic relief. Everything else was just okay.
Ashley Marie
This might be my favorite book of the series. Time travel gives me a headache but Fforde handles it very well across this series, and the inclusion of classic characters remains a joy. (I still need a Mrs Tiggy-Winkle figurine for my bookshelf. Christmas, anyone?) The one mistake I made after Well of Lost Plots was to go reading about Thursday Next on Wikipedia -- spoilered myself for Granny Next, but that actually resolved itself in this book! Huzzah! And it was quite... I feel like I've used " ...more
Stephen Richter
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
The fate of the world depends on the results of the Superhoop, with help from the cloned Neanderthals wholly owned by Goliath Corporation, now a religion after a year of bad press. Thursday Next is back in the real world after hiding out in the world of unpublished novels. Jasper Fforde books are wonderfully crazy . ...more
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
Happy birthday, William Shakespeare, and as a gift for your 450th, I present to you an excellent book written for your 440th. Jasper Fforde has exactly the same love of reading and writer's inventiveness as many of the great ones who are inspired by your creativity. Not only does he give Hamlet some thoughtful reflection upon his role as a dithering protagonist, but also literally brings you back to life with all the tragic consequences of your great plays. Okay, not even King Lear suggests an a ...more
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2014
Two years have passed and Thursday is still working in Jurisfiction and hunting the Minotaur, but she longs to return to the real world and find Landen, previously eradicated by the Goliath Corporation. Her son Friday is now two

She returns to Swindon with Hamlet, who wants to see what the real world is like and stays with her mother and father. She gets her job back at SpecOps and starts to find out all she has missed. President George Formby is still in power but the Goliath Corporation has mad
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this series actually with the second book, because we read it at an English course at University. Then I read the first book in German and just some time ago after years the third one again in English. I didn’t want to wait so long again, so I directly started the fourth book.
I liked this one even better than the third, even though there was less book jumping and literature involved (except for Hamlet). But still it was funny, it was exciting, it was just really enjoyable. I loved how
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So crazy it's really funny. And in the end most things are sort of tied up, so I can stop reading this series.
Or will I? ;)
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Top flight stuff, with Thursday keeping about six balls in the air at once, clues to what's about to happen slipped in so deftly you don't notice, and relentlessly clever twists and details in a storyline capped by the most vicious game of croquet as ever was. ...more
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hi, this is hands down one of my favourite series and I can‘t but applaud Jasper Fforde on his genius and inventing Thursday Next.
Will I read the spin-off? Oh boy!!!
Ashley Fritch
So, I've really enjoyed this series...BUT... there was just so much going on in this book; it was crowded with storylines and they just didn't feel developed enough for me to get truly interested in them. I may be taking a break from the series for a bit after this one. ...more
Maggie K
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: monopoly
Easily the best one so far....the various plot lines come together, and a couple things are even resolved! Not that this will make things any less hectic in the literary world...after all, what is going to happen when Ophelia finds out about Hamlet's affair with Lady Hamilton????? ...more
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Book lovers
The fourth (4th) book in the Thursday Next series.


Thursday Next is living in Bookworld. She is one of the rare, rare people with the ability to read herself into books. Now she is The Bellman - the sort of leader in charge of Bookworld. She spends her days calming fictional characters, stopping character rebellion, and keeping plotlines stable. She has a two-year-old son, the boy Friday. Her husband and one true love, Landon, is eradica
Oct 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was book №4 in the Thursday next series, and although a lot of loose threads from the previous books came together, for me this book just didn't read as well as the others. There was a fair amount of repetition which went on, which seemed to interupt the flow of the storyline. Once again the multiple threads reminded me of the plate spinners from the old variety acts.
Time has moved on and Thursday exits the Bookworld to reappear in the real world. She is accompanied by her 2 year old son, S
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Just when you think it can’t get any stranger, Jasper Fforde makes sure to let you know it can and it will:

“The fate of all life on this beautiful planet decided on the swing of a croquet mallet.” (351)

I mean COME ON! Anyone who can turn croquet into a full-contact sport and make me want to watch it has to be a genius right?

I also can’t believe it took me until almost 12 hours later to finally connect the title to most of the story, as in hey this story has a lot about Hamlet in it and the quote
As much as I enjoy the Bookworld and Jurisfiction, I prefer the wacky world of Spec Ops and Swindon, so I was rather pleased when this started with Thursday's decision to return to the real world. And I was thrilled when this featured large amounts of crossover between the two worlds, with characters from the Bookworld coming to babysit or just hang out and Thursday occasionally still jumping into the Bookworld.

But most of all, I loved that Landen finally returned. And that the Granny Next thre
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Didn't enjoy the plot of this one as much as much as its predecessors; it felt less driven and more meandering than the others. Probably because there was a bit less of the madcap action, even Thursday didn't really know what was going on, and I was sad that the Bookverse had taken a backseat to the real world.

But it was absolutely, completely worth it because of the twist, and because of the awesome connections Fforde made right back to the very first book. The man is a genius at continuity, an
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, fantasy
Happily, Mr. Fforde delivers a light, entertaining novel that offers a tangled pile of subplots all eventually resolved by his dependably resilient heroine, Thursday Next. She makes her labyrinthine way through time, reality, fiction as an alternative dimension, and child-rearing. And if you like hilarious word play and turns of phrase spot-on that you'd NEVER have thought up on your own, this is the place for you.
Jasper is as good as Woodhouse for a reliable, fun read. Always recommended no mat
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: completed-series
TN4: I enjoyed it less than the first three -- it was a 'helicopter', a lot of unrelated parts moving in synchrony, that yet somehow seem to get the story from point A to point B. However, we get a few answers! (Of course, it would be a spoiler to give them all away. But, gingham? Really?) It has a lot to recommend it to the literophile, especially fans of the Revernd Dodgson (I really hope I spelled his name correctly. Oh, wait -- I'm on the Internet! ...more
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Play Book Tag: Something Rotten / Jasper Fforde - 3*** 1 9 Jun 30, 2017 04:30PM  
Another book down, a bunch more to go 1 34 Feb 19, 2012 11:57AM  

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Fforde began his career in the film industry, and for nineteen years held a variety of posts on such movies as Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment. Secretly harbouring a desire to tell his own stories rather than help other people tell their's, Jasper started writing in 1988, and spent eleven years secretly writing novel after novel as he strove to find a style of his own that was a no-man ...more

Other books in the series

Thursday Next (7 books)
  • The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)
  • Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next, #2)
  • The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next #3)
  • First Among Sequels (Thursday Next, #5)
  • One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (Thursday Next, #6)
  • The Woman Who Died a Lot (Thursday Next, #7)

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