Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Great Good Thing; Into the Labyrinth - Roderick Townley

Roderick Townley has written an entertaining trilogy that is akin to Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" series. In The Great Good Thing the Princess Sylvie is eternally twelve years old and has been a princess for more than 80 years, ever since the novel in which she lives was first published. She longs to break free of the never-ending quest on which her character goes. It's not that she doesn't like her story - she does - she's the heroine and it's full of excitement, but it's always exciting in the same way, and although Sylvie loves her storybook friends and family, she's getting bored. Then one day, after many, many years of neglect, the book is opened and, as a new reader gazes down into Chapter One, Sylvie breaks the most important rule for all storybook characters - she looks up at the Reader. Even worse, she gets to know the Reader, a shy young girl called Claire, and when Claire falls asleep with the book open, Sylvie is able to enter her dreams, discovering a new and exciting world. A world where adventures are rewritten daily, and dark, unpredictable dangers lie in wait - and where Sylvie must achieve one great, good thing to save the lives of everyone she loves.

The sequel to The Great Good Thing is Into The Labyrinth. Sylvie's storybook (The Great Good Thing) is republished one and the characters who live inside it suddenly discover that they have Readers again - lots of them. And the number increases after the book is uploaded onto the Internet. The endless reading exhausts the characters (who are forced to perform the story (much like actors performing a play) for each individual Reader. However, this is nothing compared to the problems they face when strange things start happening: words get changed around, scenes disappear - and Sylvie and her friends find they must enter the labyrinth of cyberspace in order to confront a twenty-first century evil that threatens to destroy their world.

When I was looking up the Amazon links for these two titles, I found that Townley published a third book, The Constellation of Sylvie earlier this year. The synopsis from Amazon tells us that a copy of The Great Good Thing is sent out into real space - in a space shuttle that is embarking on a four-year mission to Jupiter ! I've reserved a copy of the book and look forward to reading it in due course.

There's a spoilerish review of the first two books over on the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone.


Little Willow said...

Are these adorable or what?


Michele said...

They are quite cute... I'm very intrigued by Townley's idea that the text is a physical place/entity for his characters, which it is not for Jasper Fforde's characters in the "Thursday Next" series.

Anonymous said...

Just found these books now. I read the first today, and am posting a review, with a nod to your post. It'll be at my LJ address.

Michele said...

Oh cool! I shall come and take a look!