I'm probably going to get raked over the coals--again--but I think that with each successive novel Fforde has gotten much worse.
"The Eyre Affair" was clever and quite good, even if Fforde quite clearly stole the whole concept from Woody Allen's classic "The Klugelmas(sp.) Episode."
Fforde's main problem is that he's so self-consciously aware that he's treading a trail that other great, inventive British comic writers (Adams, Pratchett, Dahl) have already blazed so well that he tries desperately hard to be wackier, wittier, punnies and more original that his influences and, more often than not, falls flat on his face.
This is particarly evident in the sequels to "The Eyre Affair," where each succeeding book gets bogged down endless stretches of exposition and attempts at cleverness that just don't work. And, over time, Thursday has become an increasingly annoying and one-dimensional character. The last book was the hardest slog I've been through with a thoroughly stupid ending.
"The Big Over Easy" is, for me, the best thing he's done, much better than any of the Thursday Next series, but he wrote this before "The Eyre Affair," and perhaps that's why it's better--because he wasn't trying to be so self-consciously 'original.' But the same sequelitis problem that he's had with the TN series raises its head here, because "The Fourth Bear" is a pale shadow of "Over Easy."
I haven't even tried to read his new one.