With the news of Terry Pratchett's declining health, it feels as if each new Discworld novel could be his last. It also made you want to savor each enWith the news of Terry Pratchett's declining health, it feels as if each new Discworld novel could be his last. It also made you want to savor each entry a bit more.
Unfortunately, the last couple of entries haven't been quite among Pratchett's best.
Thankfully, Snuff is a return to form for Pratchett and while I hope we get more, if this is the last Discworld entry we get, it will be a solid, entertaining high note for the series to go out on.
As I've said in other Pratchett reviews, Pratchett makes looking witty, funny and satirical look easy when he's on the top of his game. And he does that hear. The story of Sam Vines being forced to take a vacation to the countryside with his wife only to find a foul plot unfolding there is well done and keeps the story moving. Part of what makes it work is the constant running gag of how husbands have to defer to their wives on whether they enjoy consuming certain things like bacon, cigars and other products that may shorten the lifespan but are still eminently enjoyable. Add in a bit of social commentary and you've got the makings of one of the better Discworld novels in recent memory. ...more
It may seem like I'm dismissing this DiscWorld entry, but I'm really not. It's early in the series and you can see PratcheIt's "MacBeth" only funnier.
It may seem like I'm dismissing this DiscWorld entry, but I'm really not. It's early in the series and you can see Pratchett evolving as a writer. It's shorter and doesn't like its trying to pad out the central joke too much and overstay its welcome.
It's not as good as "Equal Rites" but it's a step forward from "The Color of Magic."
"Hogfather" was my first entry into Terry Pratchett's Discworld series a few years ago. At the time, I devoured the book, relishing the wit and satire"Hogfather" was my first entry into Terry Pratchett's Discworld series a few years ago. At the time, I devoured the book, relishing the wit and satire, chuckling at many points in the story and wondering why it had taken me so long to discover this series of funny novels.
Now a couple of years later, I've picked it up again as part of a book group and while I still like it, I didn't love it as much as the first time.
Could it be that the book isn't as good as I originally thought or is it just impossible to recreate the joy of reading Pratchett for the first time?
It may be a little of both actually. The story itself hasn't changed that much--a group of Assassins is hired to take out the magical Hogfather from the Discworld. Death steps into the role because the world is running short on belief and he wants to try and fill the void until the Hogfather can (hopefully) return to the scene. But this is Death and he takes things in a strangely literal way that leads to all kinds of interesting and often times hilarious results. In fact, the moments when the book really hits it stride are seeing the comedy of errors that comes from Death playing Hogfather and granting each child that comes along his or her own fondest Hogswatch wish.
Meanwhile, the story of Susan, who is Death's granddaughter and a nanny to two children is one that stops and starts for me. Susan's awareness that monsters are real and can be beaten up with a special fireplace poker is nicely done, but there are other moments when this storyline drags its feet a bit, waiting for the inevitable coming together of all these random plotlines in the novels final pages.
It's not that the story is a bad one. "Hogfather" is one of the better Discworld novels. It's just not as great as I remember it being......more
Like Douglas Adams did with science-fiction, Terry Pratchett takes the typical conventions of fantasy and turns them on their head for comic effect wiLike Douglas Adams did with science-fiction, Terry Pratchett takes the typical conventions of fantasy and turns them on their head for comic effect with his popular DiscWorld series.
By having a slightly skewed view of fantasy conventions, Pratchett points out the strengths and the fallacies of the genre. And he always does it with a story that has more than its share of laugh out loud moments. Pratchett is also a master of construction language to come together in interesting ways. It's not just that what he says is funny, but it's how he puts the words together that is one of his great strengths. While not quite as pronounced or as memorable as Douglas Adam's ability to construction near perfect sentences that made you both laugh and think at the same time, Pratchett still does a great job.
A lot of the DiscWorld stories are satires on modern life. By having things set in the universe of the fantastic where rules of magic exist, Pratchett is able to say things he might not normally get away with in conventional fiction.
Oh and he also writes some pretty entertaining stories along the way.
That said, Pratchett is an author who improves with age. And while the Color of Magic is his first DiscWorld novel, it's not exactly a great starting point to the series. Yes, the typical Pratchett elements are all here, but you can see Pratchett still honing his craft. The story is told in four blocks with the linking characters of Rincewind and Twofold as they tour across DiscWorld, having various adventures and running into trouble. It's a nice overview and quick tour of DiscWorld but it pales in comparison to later novels in the series. ...more