Tag Archives: Terry Pratchett

Strata

This is a review of the novel “Strata” by Sir Terry Pratchett.

I am still coming to terms with the fact that this wonderful man is gone from the world.

I was given “Strata” as a birthday present some time ago, by one of my dearest friends. Due to the sheer number of books I have had in my To Be Read pile, I have only just gotten to it.

Kin Arad is one of the foremost experts on terraforming. She is a planetary engineer and a famous author to boot. She is very, very old. She has lived many lifetimes, but never has she met anyone quite like Jago Jalo.

Jago is a human from a time long ago. Yes, he’s even older than Kin. He says he has found a world that not a sphere, not a planet, but a disc. And Kin’s curiosity is sparked. She follows Jago’s instructions and meets with Marco, a four-armed, frog-like, paranoid warrior Kung, and Silver, a Shand, a shaggy bear-like creature. Kin knows that they are not human like her, but their differences sometimes take her by surprise. They set out to find the Disc, but never did they imagine what they would find, or just how their expedition would pan out.

I loved this novel. It had a very Pratchett feel (of course) but it was also very different to a lot of his other works that I have read. I loved his slant on a more sci-fi type of work. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I enjoyed it quite immensely. The tone of this novel seemed more serious and less flippant than his novels in the Discworld Series, and I still appreciated that.

  

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Good Omens

This is a review of the novel “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

I love Terry Pratchett’s novels. I was devastated to hear of his passing earlier this year, and I truly feel as though I have lost a friend.

I have had this book that he wrote with his friend Neil Gaiman for a while now. I bought it some time ago, but life has been busy for me of late, and I haven’t really been reviewing or even reading at a fast pace for a while now. I decided it was time to get back into the swing of things. And what a book I chose to swing with!

“Good Omens” is a very funny, witty novel about the end of days.

The ultimate battle between heavenly and demonic forces is fast approaching, and both sides have been preparing for centuries. Aziraphale is an angel, and Crowley; a demon. They enjoy a certain camaraderie with one another. Not quite “friends”, not really enemies. Both know that the apocalypse is nigh, and they’re not really sure what to do about it…

The Antichrist is on Earth, among humankind. He was switched with another baby in a hospital by satanic nuns, and big things are expected of him.

Anathema Device is a modern witch who lives her life according to a book of prophecies left behind by her ancestor, one Agnes Nutter. Anathema knows what’s coming, and she knows she has a part to play in the grand scheme of things, she just wishes she could decipher Agnes’ prophecies just that little bit quicker sometimes.

Newt Pulsifer is an aspiring computer engineer. Or he would be, if he was not so hopeless at anything to do with electronics. He’s stumbled across Shadwell, an old (and questionably sane?) and ferocious witch finder. Little does he know that Agnes saw him there at the end too.

This book is hilarious, and highly entertaining. It contains a lot of the wit and humour that Pratchett is renowned for, and has made me keen to read more of Gaiman’s work. There were a few lines that I have read before, or that were very similar to lines in some of Pratchett’s other works, but they were great words, placed in a perfect order, so I didn’t mind reading them again. And who knows? I am not an expert on the chronology of Pratchett’s entire body of work, but perhaps this book was written first. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. 

 

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Thief of Time

This is a review of “Thief of Time” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 26th novel in The Discworld Series and the 5th novel in the Death Story Arc. It follows on, story-arc wise from “Hogfather” but it can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Jeremy is a strange man. He’s a whizz with clocks, and loves making them. Abandoned as a baby, he was raised by the Clockmaker’s Guild after being left upon their doorstep. He has no friends and doesn’t mind his own company. He is approached one morning by a rather different woman, a Lady LeJean, who wishes for Jeremy to make her a clock. A glass clock. The most accurate clock in the world…

The Auditors are, as ever, unimpressed with the state of the universe, and particularly the Discworld. Humans, they believe are too unpredictable and unorderly. They wish for time to stop, for then things will become more ordered and understandable. Little does Jeremy know, but Lady LeJean is an auditor disguised as a human woman. And the glass clock she wants made will stop time, effectively bringing about the Auditors wishes.

Susan Sto Helit is now a school teacher. Miss Susan is rather frightening, but she’s the best teacher around. Her classroom is amazing, and she brings a whole new meaning to the word “field-trip”. The Death of Rats pays a visit to her classroom, and Susan knows that most probably means she has to perform some occult duty or other.

Lobsang Ludd is a novice of the Monks of History. But he’s causing problems and his mentors just don’t know what to do with him. He’s smart but doesn’t pay attention, and he is always stealing things (but too quickly for comfort). He too is a foundling, first raised by the Guild of Thieves and then recruited by the Monks of History. They decide that he is to become the apprentice of the legendary Lu-Tze. It’s up to them to stop the clock from stopping time and destroying the world.

Death is trying to amass the other three horsemen for the apocalypse. But they’re not all that keen to ride out again. Apparently there used to be a fifth horsemen too, but he left before they were famous…

This book was funny, enlightening and very entertaining. Lu-Tze was humorous, Susan, as kick-ass as ever. I liked Lobsang and Lady LeJean. The auditors-as-humans were very entertaining. This book brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “death by chocolate”.

Favourite Quotes and Passages:

…the universe is, instant by instant, recreated anew … there is in truth, no past, only a memory of the past …Therefore, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.
-Terry Pratchett

Time waited for no man, they said.
Perhaps she’d waited for one, once.
-Terry Pratchett

Lu-Tze had long considered that everything happens for a reason, except possibly football.
-Terry Pratchett

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Hogfather

This is a review of “Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 20th novel in The Discworld Series and the 4th novel in the Death Story Arc. It follows on, story-arc wise from “Soul Music” but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. It has also been made into a film by Sky One. Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather is so great. I loved it. Teatime was perfect and Susan was too. I mean Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary from Downton Abbey) as Susan Sto Helit? Perfection. Well worth a watch!

The Auditors are back. And they want the Hogfather (Santa Claus of the Discworld) dead. They only way to do this, they decide, is to purchase the services of the Guild of Assassins. The guild nominates the disturbing Mr. Teatime (pronounced Te-ah-Tim-eh) for the job. Mr Teatime is not like other people, and even the other assassins find him to be incredibly creepy. But how does one eliminate a mythical being?

Death has taken it upon himself to fill in for the Hogfather in his absence. So with the aid of a pixie-clad Albert, he’s commandeering the sleigh and delivering presents to children with a pillow stuffed up his shirt and a fake beard adorning his skull. He’s spreading Hogswatch cheer. But Death soon realises that although Hogswatch is renowned to be the jolliest time of year, bad (and sad) things still happen.

Susan, Death’s own grand-daughter is now a governess. She’s the bane of childhood terrors everywhere, from Bogey men to crack bears. But when she finds her grand-father moonlighting as the Hogfather, she knows something is up. So she resolves to figure it out. Along with the Death of Rats and Quoth the Raven, she sets out to put things right.

The Wizards of Unseen University have a dilemma of their own. It seems that for some unknown reason, mythical beings who shouldn’t really be, are. It is getting a little ridiculous. Anytime someone mentions a slightly plausible creature as explanation for say: missing socks, balding heads or additional verrucas, it pops into being. Reason: unknown.

Can the Hogfather be saved? What’s Teatime’s plan? What does Teatime and his band of villains want with the Tooth Fairy? How can a mythical being be murdered? What can Susan do to help? Why are things like the Verruca Gnome suddenly existing?

This book is highly humorous and well thought out. Teatime is so creepy. Death is loveable as always. Susan is my kind of girl. Strong, intelligent, bossy. If you’ve ever wished for a different ending to the story of the little match girl, or wanted to know why the Tooth Fairy exists, and why she takes your teeth and leaves you money, then this is the book for you.

And because I have secretly wanted to do this for some time (but not really known when to start) and because Pratchett is such a literary genius, I have decided to include some of my favourite quotes/sentences from this book.

“Don’t get afraid. Get angry”
Susan Sto Helit

There was always something that needed transferring from A to B or, of course, to the bottom of the C.
Terry Pratchett

“I don’t have many [friends]…On the other hand, I don’t seem to have any enemies at all. Not one. Isn’t that nice?”
Mr Teatime

MERE ACCUMULATION OF OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE IS NOT PROOF
Death

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Soul Music

This is a review of “Soul Music” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 16th novel in The Discworld Series and the 3rd novel in the Death Story Arc. It follows on, story-arc wise from “Reaper Man” but it can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Susan Sto Helit is a no-nonsense teenaged girl. She’s a bit strange. Her hair is mostly white and she can disappear at will. She’s an orphan and attends the Quirm College for Young Ladies. She’s about to find out who her grandfather is, and he’s definitely not like all the other grandads (his knees are too bony for one). He is Death. And he wants to forget. While he’s trying to accomplish this, it’s up to Susan to fulfil the Deathly duties. But she’s got a lot to learn.

Imp y Celyn is a musician, a bard from Llamedos. He’s decided to seek his fortune in Ankh Morpork. He soon discovers that to play music in the city, he must first become a member of the Musician’s Guild. He finds he cannot afford the joining fee. He meets Lias, a troll and Glod, a dwarf who have the same predicament. Together they form an illicit band. Imp’s harp is inadvertently destroyed and he buys a guitar as a replacement at a rather mysterious Music Shop. The music they make is like no other ever heard befor on the Discworld. It’s music with rocks in.

Music with rocks in has a profound effect on anyone who hears it. The wizards are certainly affected. The Dean becomes quite rebellious and wears besequinned leather robes. The Librarian plays the Organ and Piano like a man (erm Ape) possessed. Archancellor Ridcully knows there’s something not quite right with the music. It’s not magic, but it’s not…right.

When Imp has an appointment with Death (well … Susan), things don’t turn out the way they were meant to.

This novel was very entertaining and humorous. I really liked Susan, she’s my type of girl. It was amusing to read all of Pratchett’s very clever allusions to famous Rock Bands and songs, and it was fun trying to decipher the song titles and band names. There is a cartoon adaptation of “Soul Music”, and they used to air it on the ABC channel here in Australia quite late in the afternoon in the mid to late nineties. The image of the four elephants holding up the Discworld and riding on the back of the Great Sky Turtle A’Tuin will always remain with me.

Onwards I travel in my quest to read all of Pratchett’s Discworld novels.

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Reaper Man

This is a review of “Reaper Man” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 11th novel in The Discworld Series and the 2nd novel in the Death Story Arc. It follows on (story arc wise) from “Mort” but it can be read as a stand alone novel.

The Auditors are strange beings who audit The Discworld, ensuring that everything obeys The Rules. Death has begun to develop a personality. The Auditors think that this stops him from performing his duty correctly. So they send him off to live a normal life like everyone else. So Death assumes the name Bill Door and works for old Miss Flitworth on her farm, harvesting her crop and performing the duties of a farm hand.

But while Death is otherwise preoccupied, humans have no-one to perform their deathly duties. Life force begins to build, and poltergeist activity, ghosts and undead abound. Mrs Cake, a medium (more like a small actually) tries to inform the wizards at Unseen University of this. Windle Poons, a recently deceased wizard, finds he is not as dead as he would like to be. (He was really looking forward to being reincarnated.) Being undead sucks. His friends keep trying to bury him. He attends a meeting for The Fresh Start Club, a club for undead rights.

The Fresh Start Club has vampires, a zombie, a bogeyman and a were-man (a wolf who turns into a wolf man every full moon. Strange little orbs keep popping up in the city of Ankh-Morpork. What they are, nobody knows. They seem to contain tiny cities. There’s just something not quite right about them. What are they? Will Death remain Bill Door until he well, dies? Will Windle Poons remain undead forevermore?

This was like all Terry Pratchett books, very entertaining. It had some wonderful quotes, clever puns and interesting themes: death, shopping malls, fringe groups and minority rights movements. Sometimes Mrs Cake agitated me, her precognition was, while very clever, a bit annoying and confusing. I liked the sweetness of Bill Door/Death at the end. I will continue on in my quest to complete all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Novels.

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Mort

This is a review of “Mort” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 4th novel in The Discworld Series and the first novel in the Death Story Arc.

Mort is an odd young man. He is gangly and awkward and thinks too much. His father takes him to the local job fair, where boys are taken on by masters of many different trades to become apprentices.

Mort waits with the other boys in the marketplace. One by one they all leave, until Mort is the only one left. He refuses to lose hope, and insists on waiting until midnight before leaving. Miraculously, a tall and mysterious stranger turns up looking for a likely apprentice.

It is Death.

Yes. Death. Skeletal fellow with cowl and scythe; harvester of mankind. Mort becomes Death’s apprentice. He leaves the marketplace to go and dwell in Death’s own Kingdom, where time does not exist, but two other humans do. Albert and Ysabell.

Albert is Death’s manservant, an old man who loves cooking greasy food and hates people prying into his past. Ysabell is Death’s daughter. Adopted of course.

Mort listens to his master and does his duties. He goes out on business with Death. This he finds hard. Some people don’t really deserve to die in his opinion (which doesn’t come into it at all). And he impulsively “saves “a rather attractive princess whose life was meant to end.

But Mort has disturbed reality and caused ripples that will take a very long time to heal. And history wants to proceed as planned.

What is Mort to do?

Meanwhile, Death finds that it’s rather nice to have an apprentice. It means he can take a day or two off here and there…

A humorous and entertaining novel.

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I Shall Wear Midnight

This is a review of “I Shall Wear Midnight” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 38th novel in The Discworld Series and the fourth novel in the Tiffany Aching Story Arc. (YA)

It follows “Wintersmith“.

Tiffany Aching is the witch on The Chalk. Witching is a tiring and often thankless task. Tiffany has to work long hours and do some tough jobs. She barely has time to care for herself, she hardly sleeps and almost never eats.

The old Baron is very ill, and is slowly dying. Tiffany is taking his pain away, but even so, his time is nigh. The Baron’s son Roland, Tiffany’s old friend, doesn’t speak to her anymore. And to make matters worse, something truly awful has just occurred within the community. Something so awful, that the rough music has started playing, and a mob is forming.

Tiffany does her best to prevent events from worsening, but it seems like everyone is turning against her, and witches in general. What could be happening?

Tiffany travels to Ankh Morpork to locate Roland to tell him some news, and here she meets two witches who help her to figure out what’s going on. Tiffany learns that she’s up against an old, old evil. And it’s worse than the queen of the fairies, the wintersmith and the hiver…

A story about growing up, having pride in yourself and your actions and about love.

(I just adore the last page!)

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Wintersmith

This is a review of “Wintersmith” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 35th novel in The Discworld Series and the third novel in the Tiffany Aching Story Arc. (YA)

It follows “A Hat Full of Sky“.

Tiffany Aching is well on her way to becoming a fully fledged witch. She is up in The Ramptops living with Miss Treason and learning more about witchcraft. She is one of the first girls to stay on full-term with Miss Treason. The other girls found her somewhat … frightening in her appearance and manner.

Tiffany attends the Dark Morris with Miss Treason, the Dance that welcomes winter. It is a very solemn affair, silent, serious and it’s meant to be danced by the morris dancers only, and not anyone else. But Tiffany feels her feet tapping along in time with the dance and before she knows it, she has joined in.

She doesn’t really know what she’s done. But she gathers that there will be a price to pay from Miss Treason’s reaction.

She is correct in this assumption.

For now the Wintersmith is in love with her. An elemental, the God of Winter-in love with a mortal girl. The Wintersmith is taken with Tiffany and believes her to be the Summer Lady, the goddess of Summer.

He woos her with snowflakes shaped in her form, ice roses and frost graffiti written on her windowpane. And while it’s admittedly…cool to be the object of such admiration, Tiffany knows she must put things to rights.

Because if she can’t get rid of the Wintersmith, it will stay wintertime forever…

A great novel about growing up and taking responsibility for your actions.

And of course: the Nac mac Feegle and Granny Weatherwax. There’s some Nanny Ogg too.

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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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