I am going to try in this review to combine two people's opinions into one. My husband read this book and then handed it to me stating that it was one...moreI am going to try in this review to combine two people's opinions into one. My husband read this book and then handed it to me stating that it was one of the funniest books he'd ever read and that I "had" to read it.
A short summary: This is a typical story that has been done over and over again. There is an item everyone wants that is hidden on or with some unwitting person and many people give chase to try to retrieve said item before everyone else. This story can be found in the works of everyone from Shakespeare to the 90's movie "8 heads in a duffel bag" or "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." The item in question shows up about half way through the book and is a total of 5 million dollars in a suitcase. The hiding place is the spare tire compartment of a tourist's car. The plethora of chasers include scum and criminals from all backgrounds including a Serial killer, quite a few junkies, a Satanist from a garage band, insurance scammers, shady private investigators, and Russians posing as Latin drug dealers.
The good: There are a plethora of characters for you to read about, all with different but 95% selfish motivations. You will also be told a large number of facts about Florida history in rapid succession. There is a lot that happens in this book to appeal to those of you (like my husband) who suffer from ADHD. For those of you who like it, there are tons of drugs, and lots of violence against people and animals. Also, this is a very quick read with several witty bits sure to make anyone grin or even laugh out loud while reading.
The bad: For those of you who do not suffer from ADHD, the pace is manic, and often times out of control to the point of feeling as if you are reading an outline rather than a book. Characters and points of view switch at random, often 2-3 times on a single page. There are many characters to have to keep up with, I didn't have a problem with it, but I could see where many people would. The book seems to be badly edited, as if this was perhaps a first draft that needed a few more drafts after it to consider it completed. Many parts needed to be fleshed out or cut out entirely. Also, for those of you with an issue with extreme violence to the point of being cartoonish, there is lots of it, there is also sex and drugs, however none of it is described in extreme detail. In fact, very little is described in extreme detail through out the entire book.
All but 3 of the many characters in the book are complete scum bags of varying proportion. The main character is a homicidal, manic, ADHD, sociopath, Florida History Junkie that it is obvious Dorsey is in love with. His writing coddles and obsesses over the character even though to most readers, the character is fairly repulsive, hard to relate to, and not as interesting as the two characters that should have had the spotlight in the book.
Some will say that the ending is a cliff hanger and that you are set up to be forced into reading the second book in the apparent series. If you rip out the page in the back of the book that tells you that there is a sequel, and that you have to read it to find out what happens, I think you'll find that this book ends like many movies. Without that obvious sales pitch it doesn't feel like such a cliff hanger. Sure there is little resolution, but then again there really aren't that many people left alive anyway. Compare it in your mind to the ending of "Silence of the Lambs" and you will see what I mean (not that this book is anyway on the same level as "Silence of the Lambs"). In the end what you have is a quick read with a few humorous moments that you will forget entirely in less than 24 hours after completing the book. I would consider this an excellent time waster if you are stuck on a long plane ride or a greyhound bus for some reason(less)
The key thing that I have taken away from reading this book is that Titles cannot be trusted. Certainly the title of this book is brilliant; I even lo...moreThe key thing that I have taken away from reading this book is that Titles cannot be trusted. Certainly the title of this book is brilliant; I even love the little chocolate bunnies on the cover, glaring at me as they plot. The concept presented on the back of the book is intriguing and will force those of you with unusual senses of humor to consider the purchase. This is the point that you need to stop yourself, because for all of the pretty packaging, this book does not deliver. I am a huge fan of Pratchett, Gaimen and Adams... Rankin does not belong anywhere near their ranks.
The premise of the story is simple, a young naïve boy travels to "The City" to find his fortune. What he finds is that he is now in "Toy City" and teamed up with a raggedy bear trying to solve a string of homicides. Seems interesting enough... the problem is that where this book should have been brilliant, it is not even mediocre. The dialogue is beyond irritating, pages and pages of dialogue where no one actually says anything. It's like listening to two pre-teens having a conversation... all of the key nouns are left out, the point is left out, and you have pages and pages of them babbling about things that don't have any meaning. The characters are flat, which I am sure many will argue "But they are toys, they shouldn't have huge personalities" What I am saying is that I shouldn't be able to interchange all of the characters names and get the same effect. Everyone talks the same, reacts the same, functions the same, they are all interchangeable.
Now they bill this book as having sex, violence and debauchery. Hmmm... okay they visit a brothel, and we're told that sex did happen... as far as violence, we get to see the aftermath sometimes, otherwise our main characters are just told by another bland character "such and such was killed" and that's the end of it. Debauchery, well we're told they drink a lot, but then when they are supposedly drunk, they proceed to act exactly the same as they did before other than we have to read a paragraph or nine about how the floor looked when they woke up.
The writing style may seem "cutesy" at first... as if you are being told this story by a 10 year old. Well let me enlighten all of you who don't have the pleasure of a 10 year old at home... they suck at telling stories. They go on and on and on and never actually get anywhere. The good thing is that you can tell your 10 year old "Okay get to the point" but you can't do that with a book. You have page after page of description about the moon or the floor, or a house... but have no idea what most of the characters actually look like. Was Eddie a fuzzy teddy bear or a sleek velveteen bear? Who knows? What kind of toy was TinTo actually supposed to have been? Was Humpty Dumpty actually an egg? Or a real person? At some points in the story they imply he was an egg, and then in others he was a regular human.
Then we get to the end... I won't spoil it other than to say... huh? Where did that come from and why?
I honestly wouldn't recommend this book to anyone I thought was of sound mind or menial intelligence. It's no page turner. 1 out of 5 stars.(less)
Madness... this novel is complete and total madness from beginning to end. Returning once again to Pine Cove we can only call this a sequel to "Practi...moreMadness... this novel is complete and total madness from beginning to end. Returning once again to Pine Cove we can only call this a sequel to "Practical Demonkeeping" in that it takes place in Pine Cove several years after Catch has been taken care of. The Demon is referenced once and several of the town's folk are back, specifically Mavis, owner of the "Head of the Slug" tavern, Jenny - Still working as a waitress, and HP, who is still recovering from Pine Cove's last battle with the bizarre.
Theo is the town constable of Pine Cove and boy does he have a rough week ahead of him. Starting with a suicide and ending with a random sea beast named Steve terrorizing and consuming the weaker minded people of Pine Cove, as Theo says - I didn't get training for this. The maddening series of events that drives this novel to its completely insane and fun filled ending includes the town shrink replacing everyone's meds with placebos, a mad biologist studying rats and chasing them all over town, A washed up and completely insane B-Movie queen tearing about town wielding a sword and wearing only her barbarian bikini, Theo's boss - The sheriff who has a few secrets of his own and Catfish - a blues singer who has seen Steve the Sea Beast before.
Moore manages to hit a level of comedic insanity in this book, without ever losing control of it, which is amazing in itself. As always his characters are strange, wacky, and entirely loveable. The plot, though insane, is always fun, and his dialogue is spot on. All Moore fans have their favorite book, this is rarely listed, the reason being that many of his others (Bloodsucking Fiends, Biff, and Dirty Jobs) have much stronger plotlines while retaining the completely mad characters that everyone falls in love with. This is stronger than his first novel "Practical Demonkeeping" but not as strong as some of his others. If you are an avid Moore fan, I would suggest reading this after Demonkeeping, if you have never read Moore before, I would suggest starting with either "Bloodsucking Fiends" or "The Gospel According to Biff." Still I highly recommend this to Moore fans, it's a fun ride and you will find yourself giggling throughout.
Parent note - Moore's books are NOT okay for kids. There is foul language, bizarre sex scenes, and often a few gross death scenes. (less)
This novel was a surprisingly quick read, it is short and although not action packed, it manages to keep your attention from beginning to end. The wri...moreThis novel was a surprisingly quick read, it is short and although not action packed, it manages to keep your attention from beginning to end. The writing style is very casual and humorous, slightly vulgar but not so much as to gain an "R" rating or to turn off the casual reader. There are drugs, but they are not glorified, there is sex, but it is not explicit and there is profanity, but it is not overwhelming.
The story itself is simple enough, one man (Travis) is cursed with being the "Master" of a Demon by the name of Catch, who is not entirely under his control and tends to eat people when he so chooses. Augustus Brine, the small town owner of a bait, tackle, and fine wine shop is suddenly visited by the king of the Djinn who charges him with finding the Demonkeeper and sending Catch back to where ever it is that the Demon naturally inhabits. The story follows not only Travis and Augustus, but also most of the small town of Pine Cove. Although this is a short book, you will find yourself introduced to more characters than seems possible, and wonder how on Earth this litany of characters will intertwine and affect the story by the end of it all. In this Moore does a fantastic job of never spending too much time on the characters that go nowhere, and managing to include everyone in the ending.
As I stated before, this is a quick and easy read, my only complaint is that in order to get to the resolution, Moore does break down into a long and over involved exposition by one of the characters (Travis) that I felt could have been either broken up better through the story, or told a bit more naturally. In the end the resolution makes the story work and certainly doesn't let the reader down. The journey is a fun one and you have the opportunity to meet several very real characters along the way. No one is perfect, and no one is truly evil. In all it is a very human experience told through a very supernatural tale. (less)
I know that many have stated that there had been a decline in his writing as time goes on… I personally would have to disagree. There is a change in h...moreI know that many have stated that there had been a decline in his writing as time goes on… I personally would have to disagree. There is a change in his writing; however I feel that it has been for the better. As his book have progressed, he has leaned less toward the quick giggle and insane rush of nonsense and more toward a satirical plot with darker edges and the giggles interspersed within the story rather than his jokes running the story.
The Fifth Elephant is one of Pratchett’s more plot driven novels, there isn’t a giggle or a chortle on every page as with some of his others. I have always liked the Guard’s series for this reason, I like a good plot. If you have not read a discworld book before, I wouldn’t advise this be your starting place, instead I would start at the beginning of whichever series it is you want to read. This being part of the Guards Series I would start with “Guards Guards” which although it is by no means the strongest entry in the series, it is a good introduction to the lead character of Samuel Vimes and his crew. Each of the following books adds additional characters who become major players in the later books. The characters truly grow through each of the books and I think that having read the previous in the series will increase your enjoyment of this one.
Quick Summary: A strange theft and murder occur in Ankh-Morpork, and just as the Watch is about to investigate, The Patrician sends Vimes and his wife off to Uberwald to attend the coronation of the new Dwarfish Low King as ambassadors. While street hardened Vimes has to start learning about politicking, Angua disappears… and Carrot decides to go after her, unfortunately her trail leads to Uberwald, land of vampires, werewolves, and Dwarves who rarely come to the surface. As Sam Vimes always says – A cop will always find a crime, the origins of the strange crimes in Ankh-Morpork also lead back to Uberwald and the coronation ceremony. Vimes finds himself attempting to not only play politician and ambassador, but also detective to sort out the truth before the Dwarves are thrown into a bloody civil war.
The summary sounds a bit dark doesn’t it? Well this, much like “Carpe Jugulum,” is a darker more plot driven novel, but the humor is still there. Cheery accompanies Vimes back to her homeland as military attaché and unfortunately her modern ways cause issues amongst the more traditional dwarves of Uberwald. Detrius the Troll attends as the cultural attaché, unfortunately in Uberwald the trolls and dwarves have been at war for over a hundred years… then throw in Angua’s noble yet slightly psychotic werewolf family, and a Vampire clan that’s on the wagon from drinking human blood… everyone is moving their chess pieces and poor Sam has to figure it all out. Sybil has a much larger roll in this story than in the past, and her personality really begins to develop. This book is funny, full of action, and intrigue… who stole the Scone? Who murdered the prophylactics maker? Where is the fake stone? Who is behind it all? The opposing Dwarves? The Werewolves? The Vampires? Or is it someone from within?
Although I didn’t laugh nearly as much during this book, I found myself truly enjoying the read much more than some of the others. If I were to try to tell you what “The Color of Magic” was about… I really couldn’t other than to say it was about running away… True, I enjoyed it immensely, but this had a plot, a meaning, and more to learn from, I think this is an excellent addition to the Discworld series. (less)
As an avid Discworld fan, I have never reviewed a Discworld book. This is mainly because I didn't feel that I could give a fair review. Last night I f...moreAs an avid Discworld fan, I have never reviewed a Discworld book. This is mainly because I didn't feel that I could give a fair review. Last night I finished "The Last Continent" and although it was entertaining, I have to say that it was not one of the better installments in the series.
This is the, let's see... there was "The Color of Magic", "The Light Fantastic", "Sorcery", "Eric", and "Interesting Times"... so that makes this the sixth book in the Rincewind Series. Not exactly the best place to pick up on the story, especially since so little of the previous five books is explained in this one. Had I not read them, I would be completely baffled by the concept of The Luggage, which was previously one of my favorite of Pratchett's inventions. It has very little page time in this book and is completely unexplained.
For those that have not read the Discworld series before, Rincewind was the first anti-hero from the first of the Discworld Novels. I say anti-hero not because he is a bad guy, but because it is hard to call a man who runs away from everything a hero... even though he does accidentally save the day on many occasions. In the end of "Interesting Times" The Wizards from the Unseen University botch and attempt to teleport Rincewind back to the University and accidentally teleport him to the unknown continent of XXX or Eksekseks. This continent is strangely like our Australia complete with Kangaroos, Wombats, and Mad Max style characters. Rincewind spends the majority of the book running away from amusing characters, searching for food and water, and trying to find his way back to Anhk-Morpork.
The secondary group in this book (Pratchett is known for having several stories going on at the same time) consists of the Wizards of the Unseen Univeristy. Ridcully, the Dean, The Bursar, the Senior Wrangler, and many others go hunting for Rincewind in the hopes that he knows the original name of the Librarian. Apparently knowing the Librarian's name is one of the only ways the Wizards can think of to cure the strange affliction that he has come down with... he is sick and every time he sneezes he changes shape. So the Wizards, incompetent as usual, managed to find their way to the lost continent only the get there several thousand years too early. Their presence manages to change the future... where Rincewind currently resides, and it is up to him to set things right.
This book is full of hysterical lines and improbable discussions, specifically where the Wizards are involved. This is the first of the Discworld books where I have noticed sex being mentioned. Not that it ever takes place, but it is mentioned as they try to explain procreation to a slightly dense god of evolution. "The Last Continent" had all of the makings of a great Pratchett book, and it WAS a funny read. The problem is that:
1- You have to already know Discworld to completely understand what is going on... particularly the Rincewind series. 2- There is not enough of the Luggage 3- The switching back and forth between the Wizards and Rincewind happens so often and so quickly that many times your head will boggle. 4- The Wizards have become far more entertaining than Rincewind... which is a shame, Rincewind just wasn't as well thought out or cared for in this book.
On the whole, this is a good book, it's just not one of the best, and certainly isn't where I would start if I had never read a Discworld book before. (less)
Reviewing Pratchett is always hard, I absolutely adore most of his books, and his literary cannon is huge. I have been reading all of the Discworld bo...moreReviewing Pratchett is always hard, I absolutely adore most of his books, and his literary cannon is huge. I have been reading all of the Discworld books in chronological order and have finally arrived at “The Truth,” the twenty-fifth book in the series. “The Truth” introduces the character of William de Worde, a young son of a noble who chooses not to follow in his father’s footsteps, rather attempting to make his own way in the world. Late one night the local rumor that Dwarves have found a way to turn lead into gold comes to light right in front of de Worde. Lead can be turned into gold if you use the lead to make a printing press, and manage to find an excellent writer like de Worde to start Ankh-Morpork’s first newspaper.
As with all of Pratchett’s books, we have the evolution of the newspaper over a matter of a week rather than the hundred or so years that it took in our world. Soon there is competition across the street with headlines like “Woman gives birth to snakes” and “Man abducted by Demons.” William de Worde however, is obsessed with truth, stories come flooding in, and soon he has hired Sacharissa as a story writer, and Otto the vampire as a photographer. I have to admit that the first time Otto takes a picture for the paper literally cause me to snort my drink out through my nose, and tears to come to my eyes from laughing so hard. I think that scene is one of the funniest moments I have ever read in a book. Sacharissa is the daughter of an engraver who becomes quite the excellent reporter, and ends up being key to the discovery of the truth at the end of the book. Otto, a vampire from Uberwald has joined the temperance group and given up the red stuff, not that he doesn’t have his moments, but he tries so hard to keep himself under control.
William’s struggle as the head of the newspaper suddenly is flung into high gear when the Patrician is accused of murder. At this point the book begins satirizing the Watergate scandal complete with the anonymous tipster who is never seen (though readers of other discworld books will figure out who the tipster is fairly quickly). The guards, specifically Vimes, figure heavily into this book as they go about trying to discern what actually occurred with the Patrician. This book has one of the stronger plots in a Discworld book, rather than the humor coming from the plot, the plot is rather serious and the characters involved are the source of the humor. I personally find this to be a much better book than some of his earlier works because it feels as though it has more control over itself and doesn’t sacrifice for a joke except in some minor areas involving the bad guys.
Speaking of the bad guys, we have Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip… the bad guys from the Looney Toons, you know the ones… the big dumb guy and the little wise a__. They have been hired by a group of “concerned citizens” to set up the Patrician… these concerned citizens are of course, from the upper crust of society with a very defined idea of who should actually be in charge (preferably someone very dumb who will do what they tell him). I personally did not enjoy the bits with Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip (who has a cursing problem and an obsession with trying to get high, even though it’s never stated outright). I found them to be rather tedious though I know others would find them to be the most humorous part of the book. For those of you who either read these with your children or let your little ones read discworld books (we listen to many of them on audio CD while on road trips, our children think they are hysterical). I don’t know that I would hand this to a child under 12… possibly under 14. The main reason being that Mr. Tulip snorts anything he can get his hands on, though most of the time he’s completely unsuccessful, having snorted mothballs, flour, flea powder etc, I’m not sure that I’d want my kids hearing that (my kids are 7 and 10).
As a whole this book is brilliantly funny and the satire is genius. This will be funnier to people who are familiar with the press, particularly writing for papers and those with a pretty good idea of how Watergate played out. Although I considered making this a four star book because of my dislike for Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip… the fact that the scene with Otto made my drink exit my nose bumped it back up to a five star book. I highly recommend it to Discworld fans and those who are considering becoming Discworld fans. (less)
This book may be marketed to YA or Children, but I can't think of a woman who wouldn't enjoy it - not that men won't like it, but it's just so rare to...moreThis book may be marketed to YA or Children, but I can't think of a woman who wouldn't enjoy it - not that men won't like it, but it's just so rare to find a story of a smart little girl who no one notices that ends up saving the world through her wits (and she saves the nasty old boy too).
Tiffany Aching is a wonderful addition to the Discworld pantheon, I avoided reading this for the longest time because I was so upset that it wasn't going to be about one of the groups I already loved (the Guards and the Witches) and I just couldn't imagine loving any new character as much as I loved them. But I should have had faith in Pratchett. Tiffany is wonderful, funny and the perfect little heroine for a tale including the Nac Mac Feegle. I can imagine little girls all over the world wishing they had the Wee Free Men on their side, and that they could go and save the world from an evil queen.
The story is funny, adventureous and forced me to stay up way too late at night to finish it in a single sitting. You don't have to have read any of the other Discworld books to read this one, and for those of you who are "anti-witchcraft" I would advise you read this before harping on it - Pratchett has a very different view of witchcraft then most...
I highly recommend this book - I wish I hadn't read it so that I could have the pleasure of reading it again for the first time.(less)
I have been reading Pratchett's books in order and have now completed #26... I have to say that reading what has taken him a lifetime to write is actu...moreI have been reading Pratchett's books in order and have now completed #26... I have to say that reading what has taken him a lifetime to write is actually a very interesting experiment in watching a writer grow at his craft. Early Discworld books are one joke after another, with the plot simply stringing together the insanity of the humor... but as time has passed, his style had become far more plot driven and far less interested in the humor. True this book is still amusing, but one would read it for the plot versus the gags. I don't recall laughing out loud a single time while reading, though I did find much of the History Monks bits to be quite entertaining.
Though they claim this is on of the "DEATH" books, Death plays a very small part, taking a backseat to his granddaughter Susan. Susan has moved on from being a nanny and is now a school mistress. Once again the Death of Rats shows up to tell her that her grandfather needs her to save humanity again. Susan has quite a knack for saving humanity.
Then we have Jeremy, the clock maker... he has been employed by a mysterious woman to build a clock entirely out of glass that will tick with the beat of the world. She of course fails to tell him that a clock like this has been made before... and time stopped...
Susan isn't the only one who will be out to stop Jeremy... we have Lu-Tse and his apprentice Lopsang who are sweepers at the dojo of the History Monks. The wisdom passed from Master to Apprentice is where you will find most of the humor in this book.
The five horsemen of the apocalypse show up... yeah, turns out there were five but one quit a long time ago... but now worries... when it's time to ride out they'll all show up right? I mean Famine, War, Pestilence and Death are always ready to ride out right? Are you sure? Perhaps their hobbies have become more interesting to them.
Then we have the bad guys... the Auditors, we all know them and despise them since they tried to take away Christmas, I mean Hogswatch. The auditors audit the Discworld and truly despise humanity because we are not orderly, tidy or easily cataloged. The auditors play a much larger role in this book than in any of Pratchett's previous works.
Though I enjoyed reading this book, it won't go down as one of my favorite Discworld novels. The introduction of the History monks was nice, and I love Susan as a character... but on the whole the humor was more subtle than I would have liked, and the plot really didn't grab me the way some of the other plot driven novels did. Though Death and Susan are among my favorite characters, they always end up in my least favorite books. Amazing how that happens. Still I would suggest reading this book, it has a wonderful take on logic, rules, and time in general.(less)