**spoiler alert** A Dangerous Climate takes St. Germain to the building of St. Petersburg where he must pose as a woman's husband. The book starts off...more**spoiler alert** A Dangerous Climate takes St. Germain to the building of St. Petersburg where he must pose as a woman's husband. The book starts off well, but at times the story drags. The imposter does not appear until about a third of the way into the book, and the plot line never really seems to take off. Both of the women in the book, Zozia and Ludmilla, are not very memorable, not when compared to other women in the series (such as Olivia, Hero, or Xenya). In fact, one wonders how good a spy/diplomat Zozia really is. However, there are several good points to the novel. Long time fans will welcome the return of Niklos (Olivia's bondsman) and the scenes with Niklos, the Count, and Hroger (Roger) are wonderful to read. The one scene that really stands out is a love scene between the Count and Ludmilla. Many fans refer to a scene between Xenya and the Count in Darker Jewels as one of the greatest or most erotic love scenes in the series; the scene between Ludmilla and the Count in this book rivials that one, and is a reminder that erotic doesn't always have to be graphic sexual descriptions.(less)
Philip Pullman is known, perhaps infamously, for His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been attacked because of Pullman's atheist beliefs as well as t...more
Philip Pullman is known, perhaps infamously, for His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been attacked because of Pullman's atheist beliefs as well as the endorsement of atheism that book represents. Pullman isn't the only writer to have been attacked due to his view on religion, and I doubt that he will be the last one. Of course, he will undoubtedly be attacked this year because of his new book about Jesus and his buddy Christ.
I find it strange that there was barely a peep about the books until the movie came out.
The problem, as I see it, with such "fame" as Pullman receives is that people get hot and bothered either condemning the work or, justly, defending the work. So hot and bothered that books like Nation get overlooked. In many ways, this is good, for no one is trying to ban the book. In other ways, it is bad, for the book doesn't get the fame it deserves.
Terry Pratchett is a humanist writer of fantasy fiction. He wouldn't call his work literature, but many of his later novels either is literature or rests on literature's mutable border. I've been a huge fan of Pratchett since Wyrd Sisters made me laugh during a very tough time in my life (Thanks Mom, for giving the book to me).
Nation is the best thing that Pratchett has ever written. Nation is Literature.
I'm not sure if Nation was inspired by the Tsunami in Asia and/or Pratchett receiving his medical news. In truth, I don't really care. I do know, for Pratchett himself has said it, that Nation demanded to be told, and he stopped other projects to write it.
Supposedly a children's book, Nation tells the story of Mau who loses his whole Nation, his whole tribe, when a tsunami hits his island home. Eventually, Mau discovers Daphne, a "ghost" girl who was washed up by the same wave. What then follows is part Robinson Crusoe, told from Friday's point of view; part Swiss Family Robinson; part Island of the Blue Dolphins, and part religious and philosophical debate.
Pratchett's novels work because each of his characters is like the reader or like someone the reader knows. His characters are human and contain one or more aspects of everyone. Even Pratchett's most heroic or inhuman characters such as Carrot, Rincewind, or Death, have human traits that effect how they act (remember, Death really likes cats). Here, in this book, Pratchett presents multiple answers to the questions, "Why do bad things happen to good people if there is a just god?" and "How do you feel afterwards?"
Both Mau and Daphne have tragically lost family. Both of their reactions are human, yet different from each other. Both question the idea of god (or in the case of Mau, gods) and faith. Both arrive at different answers. More importantly, Pratchett doesn't preach, he doesn't persuade. He just wants the reader to think, the conclusion is left up to the reader. This makes the book totally honest, for there is no clear cut answer to the first question.
Besides engaging the idea of the god debate, Pratchett touches on another part of creation - where do stories come from? Are stories more than just religion? Is religion more than story? This comes as no surprise to the reader who has read the last two Science of Discworld books.
Despite the tragic and bittersweet events of the story, Pratchett's trademark humor, including footnotes, is present in full force. Like his characters, Pratchett's humor works because it contains an element of human truth. As the following exchange shows:
"Don't look back!" "Why not?" "Because I just did! Run faster!"
The tale of Mau and Daphne is an adventure tale of two teens surviving the aftermath of a natural disaster. They most rebuild. They must outwit cold blooded killers and hungry cannibal as well as the odd Grandfather Bird and tree climbing octopus. It is a thrillingly story that closely, honestly, and fairly examines faith, science and all in between.
Older Review When Nation came out, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't a Discworld novel.
Then I read it.
It's the best thing that Pratchett has ever written.
The one thing about Terry Pratchett, as Lawrence Watt-Evans pointed out, is that the only real difference between his adult books and his children books are the age of his protagonists. There is no reason why an adult shouldn't treat this as a book.
It's a book everyone should read.
I suppose if Pratchett had the reputation or high profile of Philip Pullman or J. K. Rowling, then there would be a huge cry of how this book should be snatched from the hands of impressable children before they learn how to think for themselves. Maybe there is already such an outcry, but I haven't heard anything.
Nation reminds me a bit of Island of the Blue Dolphins, with much more thrown in. Pratchett addresses the big questions of whether or not there is a god, and if there is a god, why do bad things happen? Bad things happen in this book, right from the start. Pratchett deserves credit for not sugarcoating what happens, but for also dealing with the deathes in a way that does not alienate or upset readers (okay, upset them too much).
What Pratchett presents for the reader is a book about what extactly faith and life are. When one reads Pullman, it is quite easy to figure out where Pullman stands in regards to religion. It is not easy to figure out where Pratchett stands. One character has lost his faith, but may or may not be talking to the gods. Other characters have faith. Neither character is seen as stupid or evil because of a belief or lack of belief. In many ways, Nation is a more mature novel about faith than Pratchett's earlier tolerance novel Small Gods.
This a powerful book, and I hope it continues to fly under the radar of those people who think children shouldn't read books that make you think.
For me, Possession is like a bottle of wine or a box of really good chocolate (the really, expensive and sinfully good kind). There is an aboluste bea...moreFor me, Possession is like a bottle of wine or a box of really good chocolate (the really, expensive and sinfully good kind). There is an aboluste beauty in this book, and it seems to lie in the details. How all the characters still in character, the resolution to both romances at the end, all the touches about criticism - all these ring true.
Over the years I have read this book, my favorite character has gone from Maud to Leonora then to both. Leonora, it seems to me, is so much larger than life, and I have to wonder if the character got away from Byatt, if perhaps, she had been intended to be more of "bad" critic than she is.
One of the best and greatest books ever written. Without a doubt, a canon book. Something I re-read every year to year and a half.(less)
There is something about the Watch series by Lukyanenko.
It is, quite simply, the idea of what good and evil are. The first book sets that up, and whi...moreThere is something about the Watch series by Lukyanenko.
It is, quite simply, the idea of what good and evil are. The first book sets that up, and while it hinges on the idea of love (strangly Olga and Gesar seem more of pair than Anton and his girlfriend), but also on the idea of choice and what doing what is right means. This idea gets expanded on in the later books.(less)
**spoiler alert** The best in the series so far. The book and the whole series takes a good look at what good and bad are. Bonus points for making the...more**spoiler alert** The best in the series so far. The book and the whole series takes a good look at what good and bad are. Bonus points for making the chosen one female.(less)
Recently, there was (or currently still is) a scandel about the International Booker Prize. One of the judges resigned over the fact that it had been...moreRecently, there was (or currently still is) a scandel about the International Booker Prize. One of the judges resigned over the fact that it had been awarded to Philip Roth. She then went public with her reasons which included the belief that Roth always wrote about the same thing.
I don't know about that. I haven't read any Roth (hangs head in shame).
I do know that Terry Pratchett, the world's greatest humanist, should win the bloody thing. As well as the regular Booker.
And the Nobel Prize.
And have statues and such set-up in his honor.
Okay, maybe not the last one, but he at least deserves a place in Poet's Cornor when he mets his end (may it be a long time coming).
The reason for this is simple.
TERRY PRATCHETT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!
This book is the first in the Discworld series, and is one of the weakest. It is a jumble of things, most importantly poking fun at several fantasy tropes.
More importantly, it introduces the reader to several long running characters. Here you will see the first appearance of the fastest runner ever. No, not that Bolt dude. It's Rincewind; he's sorta a wizard. Sorry, wizzard. Twoflower, the first tourist, makes his appearance, though it is hard not to see him as Sean Astiin now. The world's best politican makes an appearance. I know who should be president, we just gotta figure a way around the facts that (1) he's a figment of imagnation and (2) he's not an American. And Death, don't forget Death, makes an appearance as well.
But more importantly, the book introduces the reader to the real star of the Disc. The Brad Pitt. The Denzel. The Viggo. Everyone's favorite hero! The most desired character in existence!
Do you hear the sound of hunderds of little feet? Have all the birds disappered?
It's the Luggage!
Want the loyalty of a dog combined with the jaw power of one of those big meating dinosaurs?
Get the Luggage.
If Frodo had the Luggage, dropping the Ring in Mount Doom would've been a piece of cake.
Which the Luggage would've eated after eating the trolls, goblins, and Ringwraiths.
On a more serious note, Pratchett's start to the Discworld is not the best Discworld novel ever. He is still planning the world. Yet there is the genius and genus here. While not the everyman or alter ego that Commander Vimes will turn out to be, Rincewind does in a way represent every reader. We would all like to be the hero of the book, but in reality if confronted with Ringwraiths, dragons and such, most, if not all, of us would run very quickly the other way.
That is what Rincewind does.
Twoflower, as well, is part of us. The part that wishes to succumb simply to curiousity.
Even at the begining, Pratchett is a wonderful humanist. (less)
Vimes is one of Pratchett's characters that has grown greatly over the course of the Discworld series. This book affirms Vimes' place as the tradition...moreVimes is one of Pratchett's characters that has grown greatly over the course of the Discworld series. This book affirms Vimes' place as the traditional family man, a far cry from where Vimes was when the reader is first introduced to him in Guards! Guards!.
The story itself highlights the growth of Anakh-Morpork as well as gives the reader valuable insight into the city's recurring, though not central, characters, such as Reg Shoe, Nobby, and Colon. Pratchett seems to really like Vimes, and in fact, Vimes seems to be the most human of all of Pratchett's creations. One wonders if Vimes is in some way Pratchett's own alter-ego. Along with Granny Weatherwax and Ridcully, Vimes represents in many way the old guard of the Disc.
In this book, Vimes becomes use to his skin, to being called "his grace". He sees, perhaps, the need for such things as well as the use of politics. He doesn't want to go back to what he once was. Here, we see a Vimes at peace with himself, far more than he was in The Fifth Elephant.
Pratchett does not seem bored with his characters nor he is afraid to show the readers a pair of older lovers. Pratchett teaches us that we never stop learning or growing, not even as adults; nor can we fully disavow the past because the past helps us to grow.(less)
I could repeat what all the other reviews have said about this book, but I'm not.
You should read it for a total of five reasons.
1. Susan (one of the...moreI could repeat what all the other reviews have said about this book, but I'm not.
You should read it for a total of five reasons.
1. Susan (one of the best characters ever) 2. Pratchett's character of Death rules. 3. The wonderful use of chocolate in the novel. 4. Mrs. War 5. One of the best descriptions of a school room ever.(less)
This Discworld book is good because Pratchett continues to develop Carrot, to make him more human (or more of a character in his own right). I also re...moreThis Discworld book is good because Pratchett continues to develop Carrot, to make him more human (or more of a character in his own right). I also really liked Pratchett's description of the gonne.(less)