I find Fforde very witty, and his writing is full of puns and obscure literary references (I'm sure I miss a lot of them), but I ended up finding his stories a bit stale.It is. I've had him recommended to me a couple of times, but thus far I'm finding his world building a bit sloppy and his writing style irritating. He's not only used the "have your protag look in a mirror to describe themselves" trope, he's also committed the cardinal sin of cutting away just as a huge, important confrontation with the Big Bad is beginning, then having the next chapter begin with the protag regaining consciousness in a hospital bed and recounting that battle. It's clunky as hell, particularly given that when describing the battle, the protag isn't talking like a human being would talk - she's essentially speaking narrative. It's as if he wrote the confrontation scene, then decided to have her tell it afterward instead, but didn't bother to rewrite it so it sounded real.
Maybe this kind of thing is acceptable to the average reader, but as a writer, I was really put off by it.