Probably my favourite of the Witches books in the Discworld series, WYRD SISTERS is Shakespearean, comedic and a really clever combination of witchesProbably my favourite of the Witches books in the Discworld series, WYRD SISTERS is Shakespearean, comedic and a really clever combination of witches being witches, royalty being royalty and subjects being subjects....more
Immediately you'd have to wonder what on earth this reader would be doing even attempting a book like THE ROOK - an urban fantasy thriller. With paranImmediately you'd have to wonder what on earth this reader would be doing even attempting a book like THE ROOK - an urban fantasy thriller. With paranormal aspects, and spies, and something about world domination.
Although it starts out with a young woman waking in a London park with no memory, surrounded by dead bodies, wearing, what is allegedly, somebody elses body. Okay, so I thought crime fiction for the first couple of minutes, and then got a bit of a sinking feeling with the whole body thing, although a bit of a sense of humour from the outset certainly helped the swallowing of the rest of it.
It is probably the cup of tea and biscuit for fans of urban fantasy, albeit with what is possibly a slightly tongue in cheek feeling. For the rest of us - that biscuit is going to need more than dunking in a cup of tea to make it palatable.
Whilst there are points that THE ROOK set up a cracking pace, there are also places that seem to lag, possibly because the joke isn't as strong as it could be, or because of that personal need for a lot of hardy chewing.
To be fair though, there's a good balance of character and plot here what with secret British organisations, strange sorts of super-powers, and ... well that whole other body thing, although there are some aspects of the superness of Myfanwy that felt a bit ... boy's own adventure maybe.
But, given that THE ROOK wasn't ever going to be my cup of tea, and no matter how many biscuits I chewed my way through, it's taken an absolute age to finish the book which probably isn't necessarily a reflection on it - definitely different books for different readers.
It would, however, probably be right up the alley of somebody who likes this sort of Urban Fantasy adventure, unlikely, completely off with the demons, scenario especially when it comes with a big serving of tongue in cheek humour.
This year I've decided the bittersweet experience of going back to the very start of this series and re-reading them all.
It's been a lot of years sincThis year I've decided the bittersweet experience of going back to the very start of this series and re-reading them all.
It's been a lot of years since I first stumbled upon the Discworld books - so long to be honest I've completely and utterly forgotten how I came upon them.
Not so long that I don't remember with fondness alt.fan.pratchett and L-space usenet environments.
When I first got into these books it was very much a matter of whatever you could get your hands on, never anything read in order, so a trip back to the start, to see things develop from scratch will be fun. And will undoubtedly be a spot of giddy fandom which everybody needs once in a while. I find the combination of humour, subtle hat-tips and references, and just the general idea of the entire Discworld and it's parallels with life extremely clever. Even more clever as the books, and the world develops....more
The origins of the Battle of Koom Valley between the Trolls and the Dwarves is obscure and the subject of much debate, but every year, the anniversaryThe origins of the Battle of Koom Valley between the Trolls and the Dwarves is obscure and the subject of much debate, but every year, the anniversary celebrations of the battle spark off tensions between the two communities. This year, this celebration, tensions are rising in Ank-Morpork.
Dwarf extremists are undermining (literally) the city and the Watch is starting to fall apart. When extremist leader Hamcrusher is murdered deep underground in the mines, seemingly by a Troll, Vimes must hold together the Watch; investigate the murder; prevent an outbreak of war between the Trolls and Dwarves of the city; keep the peace between Angua and a new Watch Member who just happens to be a vampire; and be home by 6.00pm every night to read "Where's My Cow?" to his young son Sam. Just to complicate matters, not only has The Patrician forced Sam to take on Sally, the vampire, he's also called in a pencil pushing bureaucrat to audit the Watch's operations. Needless to say Sam Vimes is on a pretty short fuse and it's not helped one tiny little bit when matters escalate and his own family is threatened.
In the true nature of any Terry Pratchett novel, there are more twists and turns than there are windy passages in dwarf mines in THUD!. Commander Vimes is a dedicated commander who takes his position in Ankh-Morpork very very seriously and his management of the Watch is part inspiration, part perspiration and part sheer lunacy. All the supporting cast of Watch members are here in all their assorted oddness, although, to be honest, as you read these books these characters are less odd and more realistic and endearing.
Whilst it almost seems impossible for Terry Pratchett to write a bad entry in the Discwold series, THUD! is undoubtedly one of the best books to come out of the eccentricity that is the Discworld recently....more
I don't read a lot of Fantasy - Dark or not, but luckily I've been steered in the right direction when I have picked up one of these books - and MADIGI don't read a lot of Fantasy - Dark or not, but luckily I've been steered in the right direction when I have picked up one of these books - and MADIGAN MINE is no exception. What was even more startling is that this is a first book, yet it's very assured, cleverly paced and quite engaging.
This book is the story of Alex Bishop who meets up with his childhood friend Madigan Sargood after many years apart. A very intense love affair follows, with tensions over friendships, time spent together and time spent apart. Their affair eventually ends, but the attraction continues. Forever.
There's something very believable about the attraction that Alex has for Madigan. Despite the warnings of friends, despite the way that she takes over his life, but seems oddly to hold back a little from him, Alex cannot and does not want to let go. He is bewitched, besotted and utterly in love. On the one hand Madigan, in some ways as committed to their relationship, is also somewhat absent, often more interested in her increasing band of odd friends and her desire for control of everything and everybody.
All of the characters in this book are extremely engaging. Alex is definitely a victim, but he's not pathetic, or a figure of contempt. His love and support of Madigan is beautifully written. Madigan quickly reveals some complicated sides to her own personality - a victim in her own right, a catalyst, a threat, a lover and an object of worship, a controller who is controlled by events in her own life. It's actually quite a juxtaposition of typical gender expectations that works really well. And there's a good supporting cast from the discomforted flatmate to the acolytes that surround Madison, all of whom lead or spotlight the main characters and their actions.
I came away from MADIGAN MINE really pleased I'd taken the time to pick it up. Whilst Dark Fantasy at it's core, there is enough in this book to engage fans of thrillers as well. Whilst the action and outcomes rely heavily on paranormal aspects - there is also a wonderful sense of foreboding and threat, combined with excellent pace and an overall thriller styling that really really works well. Combine all of those elements with a rather touching, and somewhat sinister love story, and this was definitely a one-sitting book. ...more
Less of a fully fledged review, more of a musing on the latest Discworld Novel from Terry Pratchett UNSEEN ACADEMICALS.
The quote on the back sort of sLess of a fully fledged review, more of a musing on the latest Discworld Novel from Terry Pratchett UNSEEN ACADEMICALS.
The quote on the back sort of says it all "The thing about football - the IMPORTANT thing about football - is that it is not just about football". Now I will admit I'm not a football (in any incarnation) fan. Can't stand the hype. Can't stand the carry-on. Can't stand the games themselves. So I was a little intrigued by this book - how would a Terry Pratchett treatment of the dreaded awfulness work? I was certainly intrigued enough to put aside my up until now tendency to purchase immediately and horde for the future any Discworld novels (what can I say - I'm a bit weird - I'm doing it with a few of my all time favourite authors).
Needless to say, football does get a lot of the Pratchett / Discworld treatment and there are some wonderful digs, jabs and observations about football, football fans and the way that this sort of game is regarded. There are some great characterisations, and some cameo performances by many of the Wizards of the Unseen University and thankfully some fantastic politics in their ranks.
Perhaps there is a little less focus, sharpness, snappiness in the story telling. Maybe this is because of the known health problems of Mr Pratchett, maybe it's just that every now and then a book gets a little more reflective, a little less paced and fast and furious. Who knows, and frankly, who cares. UNSEEN ACADEMICALS is another entrant in the Discworld series, and even if it's not the best ever book in a series of best ever books - it's a Discworld novel.
Did it make me laugh enough to wake up the long suffering husband (who keeps saying that a Discworld book on the nightstand should immediately instigate a move to the spare bed)? It did indeed. Did it make me care about football? Miracles don't happen in these parts. But I do think the next time somebody asks me who I barrack for, I'll be nominating the Unseen University. ...more
Less of a review - more of a note to self. If Terry Pratchett published the doodles from the notepad on his telephone table I'd probably read that, soLess of a review - more of a note to self. If Terry Pratchett published the doodles from the notepad on his telephone table I'd probably read that, so MAKING MONEY was no trial at all, even though it's probably not one of the better of the Discworld novels.
Maybe that's because there was a decided lack of wizards, maybe it's because Moist Von Lipwig isn't quite as flamboyant or, well let's say it, lunatic as some of the central characters in other books. Maybe it's also because the plot isn't quite as convoluted, layered, twisty, and, well lunatic, as others.
Frankly a slightly less than stellar Terry Pratchett book is still a thing of joy for me. In 2013 I am really hoping to go back and start the entire Discworld series from the very beginning again just because I want to... ...more
Create a fantasy quest, add a mystery and some thriller elements, include an online community and game and THE MALICE BOX is something way outside theCreate a fantasy quest, add a mystery and some thriller elements, include an online community and game and THE MALICE BOX is something way outside the normal, expected style of Thriller or Fantasy Quest novel.
Robert Reckliss (yes that is his name) is seemingly just another Englishman in New York. He and his wife Katherine originally met at Cambridge, at the same time that they both fell under the spell of the mercurial Adam - who has continued to appear and disappear from their lives since their school days.
When Robert receives what seems to be a simple copper puzzle box, both he and Katherine assume this is just another one of Adam's little practical jokes or puzzles. But that night one of Robert's acquaintances kills himself in curious circumstances and the existence of an arcane weapon that could wipe the Western world from the face of the planet is revealed. Suddenly, New York in the year 2004 is a battleground to the death between ancient forces and Robert must use his spiritual powers to overcome seven mystical trials - Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, Mind and Spirit. Only then can he come face to face with evil in a disused subway station beneath City Hall and save the World from destruction.
THE MALICE BOX is definitely unusual. Set in current day New York there's a really weird combination of the arcane and the current day - New York interwoven into a plot that is sometimes told in current day language, sometimes in something more Gothic and elaborate. It has a highly complex plot combining the alchemical and the mystical, taking characters on a journey of danger and self-discovery.
Because the THE MALICE BOX is a combination of fantasy, thriller and mystery it is a different reading experience from a standard, more conventional thriller. It is also different from a lot of recent big-name thrillers in that it does have the adventure or the quest, but the characters are an important component at the same time. The fantastical aspects of THE MALICE BOX will require an acceptance of the unexpected and the other-worldly which is not going to appeal to all readers. The combination of the styles of language - the gothic and the everyday is also obvious at points in the book - not necessarily completely off-putting, but unusual enough to stand out.
The online game at http://www.maliceboxquest.com/ is still running, although the prize competition is resolved. Playing the game adds a level of interest and multi-media experience that could just be that little something different that you're looking for....more