Monthly Archives: August 2012

A Hat Full of Sky

This is a review of “A Hat Full of Sky” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 32nd novel in The Discworld Series and the second novel in the Tiffany Aching Story Arc. It follows on from “The Wee Free Men“.

Tiffany Aching must leave The Chalk to go away and learn witching. Witches aren’t all that popular on The Chalk though, so she tells everyone that she is going “into service” to learn to be a housemaid.

She travels to the mountains and the house of witch Miss Level, who is more than she first seems… There are other young girls in the mountains, all stationed with a witch learning the arts. Some are nicer than others.

Tiffany can’t stand riding a broomstick (it makes her stomach heave) and even the simplest magic creation, a shamble, seems beyond her grasp. The everyday tasks of witches also seem a little monotonous.

But despite all this, Tiffany is precocious and powerful, and she’s attracted the attention of something really nasty.

Can the Nac mac Feegle help their big wee hag? Or will their new Kelda have something to say about it?

I enjoyed this book. Look out for Granny Weatherwax 🙂

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The Wee Free Men

This is a review of “The Wee Free Men” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 30th novel in The Discworld Series and the first novel in the Tiffany Aching Story Arc. The Tiffany Aching Arc is a YA arc.

Tiffany Aching is nine years old. She likes making cheese, and she dislikes looking after her sticky brother Wentworth. She is babysitting Wentworth down by the lake, when a ridiculous monster tries to grab him. She returns later on, uses Wentworth as bait to lure the monster, and bashes the monster with her iron frying pan.

She comes to the attention of witch Miss Tick, who pays Tiffany a visit. As they converse, Miss Tick realises that Tiffany has the makings of a witch. She also realises that The Chalk is in trouble. She leaves to get help, leaving behind her familiar, a talking toad.

And then Wentworth goes missing. Tiffany consults the Nac mac Feegle (Wee Free Men), pictsies: tiny blue men with red hair, Scottish accents and kilts. They inform her that Wentworth has been taken by the Queen (an elf).

It’s up to Tiffany to travel to the Queen’s world and rescue her little brother.

A great story about believing in yourself, doing the right thing, and seeing what’s actually there (not simply what you want to see).

I love the Nac mac Feegle. When something goes wrong, I feel like exclaiming “Oh! Waily waily waily”
or “Crivens!”.

Even though it is aimed at a YA audience, I loved this book just as much (and if not more than) as Pratchett’s other Discworld novels.

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The Rook

This is a review of “The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley.

This book was recommended by Charlaine Harris, not only on her blog and on The Today Show, but also during her Q&A session and signing that I attended as a part of her Australian “Deadlocked” tour. So I thought I would give it a read.

Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in the rain surrounded by dead bodies. All of whom seem to be wearing gloves. Even more bizzare, she remembers nothing. And I don’t just mean nothing about the attack. Nothing at all. She’s like a newborn.

She finds a letter in her pocket. It’s from herself. It begins: “The body you are wearing used to be mine.
She realises that in order to live (and to discover who and what she was) she must read the letters from herself and follow their instructions.

She quickly discovers that she is a member of a secret organization that protects Britain from dangerous supernatural forces. The organization is called The Chequy, and she is a member of its ruling court, a Rook.

She also discovers that her body holds a powerful ability that is quite out of the ordinary. She must impersonate herself to find out who has a vendetta against her. But life in The Chequy is far from normal…

Full of interesting, weird and creepy characters, “The Rook” is a humorous, mysterious, addictive novel.

I loved it! It’s awesome. It reminded me of X-men, Artemis Fowl, Men In Black, The Bourne Identity and the SWAT team excerpts even reminded me a little of Anita Blake.

I had decided to take a little break before I begin the next character arc in The Discworld Series. (It’s not that I am sick of Pratchett, I just don’t want to finish them all too quickly, because I enjoy them so much). I am glad I did.

I can’t wait until Daniel O’Malley writes more. “The Rook” is brilliant. For a debut novel it’s bloody fantastic.

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Carpe Jugulum

This is a review of “Carpe Jugulum” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 23rd novel in The Discworld Series and the sixth novel in the Witches Story Arc. Character arc-wise it follows on from “Maskerade“.

There is a big celebration coming up in Lancre. It’s the naming day of the infant princess. An Omnian priest has been summoned, invites have been sent out, but it seems as though an important one has been misplaced…

Vampires have come to Lancre. They were invited (*forehead slap*) by King Verence. And they’re modern vampires. Armed with positive thinking, they can overcome everything. Garlic? No biggie. Holy objects? Pfft. Sunlight? No problemo! They’re also brilliant at mind control.

Only Agnes (and Perdita) and The Quite Reverend Mightily Oats are immune. This seems to be because both are always in two minds about everything. Lancre has fallen into the hands of the vampires, and no-one else even seems to care.

Granny Weatherwax has gone off to be alone, and Lancre needs her more than ever. It’s up to Agnes, Magrat and Nanny to find her and save the day.

This is a book about vampires, witches, friendship, faith, religion and knowing your own worth.

It was very humourous (as usual) and Terry Pratchett’s take on vampires is different, amusing and a little frightening. Look out for the Nac mac Feegle (I love them! They’re probably why I love the Tiffany Aching character arc so much.)

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Maskerade

This is a review of “Maskerade” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 18th novel in The Discworld Series and the fifth novel in the Witches Story Arc. Character arc-wise it follows on from “Lords and Ladies“.

Nanny Ogg notices that Granny Weatherwax is acting differently. Nanny’s worried that with Magrat gone and married to the King, Granny won’t be satisfied with the Lancre witching life with no one to boss about.

Nanny has someone in mind, but young Agnes Nitt has left Lancre to seek her fortune in Ankh Morpork as an opera singer under the pseudonym Perdita X Dream. But how to get Granny Weatherwax to travel to Ankh Morpok?

Nanny Ogg has a humorous solution.

Meanwhile the opera house in Ankh Morpork is suffering from a situation quite similar to the plot of The Phantom of the Opera.

A ghost is terrorizing the Opera House. At first it was making simple demands like surrendering Box 8 to the ghost on opening nights, but lately people are being murdered…

It’s up to Agnes, Granny and Nanny to solve the mystery of the opera ghost.

As with all of Pratchett’s work, “Maskerade” is humorous and entertaining. I quite liked the mystery and suspense of this novel. Look out for the appearance of other favourite Discworld characters.

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Lords and Ladies

This is a review of “Lords and Ladies” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 14th novel in The Discworld Series and the fourth novel in the Witches Story Arc. Character arc-wise it follows on from “Witches Abroad“.

The three witches Magrat, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are back from their trip abroad. Magrat finds upon arrival that King Verence II has gone ahead and organized their wedding without even proposing to her. Nanny and Granny discover that young girls have decided to become the new witches of the Ramtops.

What has been happening while they’ve been away?!

Magrat after arguing with Granny Weatherwax decides to emancipate herself from the older witches and forgo being a witch altogether. And Granny Weatherwax has a thing or two to say to these young gels with romanticized views of witchcraft.

Crop circles begin appearing and Granny realises that these young witches have been playing at something far more sinister than dancing around starkers.

They’ve been meeting near a place that attracts the gentry to their world. These Lords and Ladies are not nice, and not to be trusted. They’re a nightmare.

It’s up to the witches to rescue Lancre.

Again Pratchett uses Shakespeare, this time “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

This book is about love, perserverence, might-have-beens, friendship and bravery.

It’s funny, entertaining and at times a little nostalgic. I enjoyed it.

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Witches Abroad

This is a review of “Witches Abroad” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 12th novel in The Discworld Series and the third novel in the Witches Story Arc. Character arc-wise it follows on from “Wyrd Sisters“.

One of the older witches of the Ramtops had died. Desiderata is not your everyday run-of-the-mill witch either. She was something special. She was a Fairy Godmother.

She’s left Magrat her most prized possession and a note with instructions. It seems she’s chosen her successor, and left her a task.

But neither Granny Weatherwax nor Nanny Ogg are going to let Magrat go off alone. She’s going abroad for goodness sakes. And she doesn’t even know how to use the wand…

So many pumpkins!

And perhaps Granny Weatherwax might know something the others don’t…

So far, this has been my favourite novel in the witches story arc.

It is a wonderfully witty novel about knowing yourself (and the direction you’re headed), travel and friendship. It’s also about stories and how it’s not really in anyone’s best interest to force things to happen a specific way.

Things will unfold as they must.

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Wyrd Sisters

This is a review of “Wyrd Sisters” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 6th novel in The Discworld Series and the second novel in the Witches Story Arc. Technically it follows “Pyramids” which is the 5th Discworld novel, but character-arc wise it follows “Equal Rites“.

Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick have formed a coven at Magrat’s suggestion. No-nonsense Granny and adventurous Nanny have been lifelong witches and the younger Magrat has a more romanticised view of witchcraft. She is all for dramatic eyeshadow, occult jewellery, eye of newt and full moon dances.

While meeting as a coven, they are stumbled upon by a man sheltering a baby from guards who are in hot pursuit. The witches save the infant and send the guards on their way. To keep him safe, they give the baby to a childless couple, who are also members of a roving theatre troupe.

The baby is the son of the newly murdered King Verence. The murderer is his relative, the Duke. He was bullied into it by his wife, the (mountainous, though she would say voluptuous) Duchess. Racked by guilt, the Duke is going a little loopy…

Up in the castle, The Fool is miserably going about his task of making people happy. He really doesn’t like his job, and never has, but what else is a guild-trained Fool to do?

This book is highly entertaining if you have ever studied Shakespeare, specifically Macbeth or Hamlet.

“Wyrd Sisters” focuses on the power of words, on propaganda and on how the way something is talked about can affect the way it is remembered. It’s also very humorous, very clever and entertaining.

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Meeting Charlaine Harris

Tonight I got to meet Charlaine Harris. 🙂

I must say, she met my expectations and exceeded them. She was lovely, humorous, graceful and entertaining.

I got a picture with her and my book signed, and even though I was towards the end of a very long line, she was still polite and obliging.

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Charlaine Harris is touring Australia for book signings of her newest novel “Deadlocked“.

If you have a chance to meet her, I highly recommend it 🙂

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