I can't give this a rating because it's too loaded with emotion and the weight of the 40 Discworld novels that came before it, and no rating will everI can't give this a rating because it's too loaded with emotion and the weight of the 40 Discworld novels that came before it, and no rating will ever be right.
I can't believe Discworld is a closed canon now.
Overall, it was both better and worse than I expected. Tiffany Aching doesn't actually need another book--I Shall Wear Midnight ended cleanly and gave us closure--but the witches did, and Discworld needed to have an ending. "Better" because I haven't been very into the last few Discworld books and I was afraid Shepherd's Crown would be Snuff all over again, and "worse" because I'm imagining the kind of book this could have been if Terry Pratchett had had more time to work on it.
If this book feels unfinished, it's because it is. There are issues with dialogue (a lot of it felt out-of-character) and character development (especially for the new characters), and it has some of the same problems that Snuff and Raising Steam did--giving the protagonist too much power, having a gag reel that feels like a "best hits of Discworld", and skimming through the plot so it feels a bit like you're reading a synopsis of a longer novel. BUT! But. At the end of the day it is a lot better and more memorable than Snuff and Raising Steam, and it has bursts of beautiful and funny and moving moments that are classic Pratchett through and through. And for all that I have issues with the direction of Tiffany Aching's character, this book gives her a sendoff that, well, feels very right.
Officially this is a Tiffany Aching book, but it is as much Granny's and is in fact dedicated to Esmerelda Weatherwax. There are repetitions and forks in the road that feel very, very familiar. There are women who are finding themselves, and women who have found themselves, and women who are finding that there are other women beside and around themselves. The crux of the narrative hinges at a thing that happens that, I think, Discworld has been kind of building up to and has now finally followed through. If you have the time, I wholly suggest re/reading all the Witches books before coming back to this, particularly Lords and Ladies and Carpe Jugulum and even Equal Rites (which comes full circle in Shepherd's Crown). But mostly Lords and Ladies.
I also suggest getting together with your friends and forming a crying circle so you can cry together at the epilogue and cry some more at the afterword....more
Reading this was a very strange experience. The novel is loose and plodding with a lot of superfluous references to other characters and you never reaReading this was a very strange experience. The novel is loose and plodding with a lot of superfluous references to other characters and you never really feel things start to happen, but it's still Discworld, and I'll always love Discworld. The interesting thing about it is that it's technically a Moist book but also pretty much a direct sequel to Thud!, which I really enjoyed. Plus, it's about trains, so. ...more
I NEED TO OWN THIS BOOK ASAP. It has pictures! Of old men! And dragons! Even without the illustrations, I'd buy it anyway.
The Last Hero is technicallyI NEED TO OWN THIS BOOK ASAP. It has pictures! Of old men! And dragons! Even without the illustrations, I'd buy it anyway.
The Last Hero is technically a Rincewind book but it's mainly about Cohen & The Silver Horde and Leonard of Quirm, served with a side of Carrot. It also has a bunch of other people. It's glorious. I loved Vena/Mrs. McGarry - one of the reasons I love Pratchett is because he writes awesome women. I like that Vena doesn't do much in the realm of swashbuckling, even though we know that she's a legend. She chooses to be Mrs. McGarry. Well, mostly. (I would love to see Xena the Warrior Princess in old age, seriously.) And the minstrel is one of those characters that I'm defenseless against, ie. he's one of those sleazy/hapless ones who grow the most during the journey (in fact, he grows up to be Orpheus, haha).
Honestly, the whole thing is just completely rewarding and emotional in a laughing-through-your-tears sort of way. AUGH.
BLIND IO: I feel that if we had wanted people to fly, we would have given them wings. OFFLER: We allow broomthtickth and magic carpeth. BLIND IO: Ah, but they're magical. Magic... religion... there is a certain association. This is an attempt to subvert the natural order. Just anyone could float around the place in one of these things. Men could look down upon their gods! Why did you do it? LEONARD OF QUIRM: You gave me wings when you showed me birds. I just made what I saw.
BLIND IO: Tell me. Is there a god of policemen? CARROT: No, sir. Coppers would be far too suspicious of anyone calling themselves a god of policemen to believe in one. BLIND IO: But you are a gods-fearing man? CARROT: What I've seen of them certainly frightens the light out of me, sir. And my commander always says, when we go about our business in the city, that when you look at the state of mankind you are forced to accept the reality of the gods.
The Rincewind arc is my least favorite beat in Discworld, in spite of my burning love for the Luggage and the Librarian. It's cute, but more often thaThe Rincewind arc is my least favorite beat in Discworld, in spite of my burning love for the Luggage and the Librarian. It's cute, but more often than not the novels are like an overblown joke and it gets tiring. I don't get most of the Australian references anyway! :)) The drop-bears are precious, though.
Time travel: pretty meh. Pratchett writes a better closed-loop (though in this case it's more of a Trousers of Time thing) story when he comes up with Night Watch. Still, Ponder and the Archchancellor's exchange about paradoxes = favorite. It's kind of like a primer for time travel tropes, with wizardly snarking/bickering. XD
PONDER: Please! What I was trying to get across, sir, is that anything you do in the past changes the future. The tiniest little actions can have huge consequences. You might... tread on an ant now and it might entirely prevent someone from being born in the future! RIDCULLY: Really? PONDER: Yes, sir! RIDCULLY: That's not a bad wheeze. There's one or two people history could do without. Any idea how we can find the right ants? PONDER: No, sir! Because... the ant you tread on might be your own, sir! RIDCULLY: You mean... I might tread on an ant and this'd affect history and I wouldn't be born? PONDER: Yes! Yes! That's it! That's right, sir!' RIDCULLY: How? I'm not descended from ants. PONDER: Because... Well... er... well, supposing it... bit a man's horse, and he fell off, and he was carrying a very important message, and because he didn't get there in time there was a terrible battle, and one of your ancestors got killed – no, sorry, I mean didn't get killed— [...] RIDCULLY: Only one thing I don't understand, though. Who'll tread on the ant? PONDER: What? RIDCULLY: Well, it's obvious, isn't it? If I tread on this ant, then I won't exist. But if I don't exist, then I can't have done it, so I won't, so I will. See? You've got some brains, Mister Stibbons, but sometimes I wonder if you really try to apply logical thought to the subject in hand. Things that happen stay happened. It stands to reason. Oh, don't look so downcast. If you get stuck with any of this compl'cated stuff, my door's always open. I am your Archchancellor, after all. SENIOR WRANGLER: Excuse me, can we tread on ants or not? RIDCULLY: If you like. Because, in fact, history already depends on your treading on any ants that you happen to step on. Any ants you tread on, you've already trodden on, so if you do it again it'll be for the first time, because you're doing it now because you did it then. Which is also now.
But the one thing I really, really liked was that one bit about cave art - how they're crude and ~unrealistic but the most "alive" kind of art, because they capture the essence of things and are in fact magic. IIRC during the prehistoric times, art was a magical thing (in certain cultures, anyway). It's believed that people also thought that painting an animal would capture the soul, so those bits of the novel were just HNNNNG YES to me.
That's because perspective is a lie. If I know a pond is round then why should I draw it oval? I will draw it round because round is true. Why should my brush lie to you just because my eye lies to me?
I'd have rated this 4 stars (it has a better storyline than earlier Rincewind books + the characters are old men), but I found the rape jokes pretty tI'd have rated this 4 stars (it has a better storyline than earlier Rincewind books + the characters are old men), but I found the rape jokes pretty tasteless. Maybe I'm overreacting, but yeah. Otherwise the last part of this one was actually pretty satisfying. I like the sentiment that Pratchett chose to go with here, ie. the whole thing about 7 old men vs 700000 soldiers (plus the East Asian perspective on the elderly); "They say, if they're so foolish and foolhardy... how did they manage to become so old?" ...more
Not my favorite, but it sets up the tone for Small Gods, which *is* my favorite (because I am weak for tortoises and adorable things). I love the entiNot my favorite, but it sets up the tone for Small Gods, which *is* my favorite (because I am weak for tortoises and adorable things). I love the entire action sequence in the first part, plus the imagery of Teppic's ancestors forming a pyramid, and the fact that they come from a place called Djelibeybi. Mostly this book just frustrated me because it made me realize how I should have answered my Philosophy of Religion prof in my final, ugh.
Worth buying, I think. It's also very dense with little jokes and references. I'm still stuck on Pthagonal, the "acute man with an angle". ...more
Is it just me or was this one badly held together (for a Watch book)? The whole goblin thing feels like a rehash of previous Discworld books - it wasIs it just me or was this one badly held together (for a Watch book)? The whole goblin thing feels like a rehash of previous Discworld books - it was generally too predictable for me, the jokes and puns were pretty unsubtle/uncreative/old, and the characters strangely not as engaging as they should have been. It makes you think about Pratchett's health and wonder how much of it is affecting his writing. As it stands, Young Sam is adorable (loved the little hints about what he might grow up to be) and Willikins was the gentleman's gentleman among gentlemen's gentlemen; and were it not for the fact that the Watch books raised the stakes, I would have enjoyed this a lot more. Also, that line about yogurt. XD ...more
I'm impressed, tbh. It seems like a bit of a gamble; it's dark and Serious and more driven by a linear plot as opposed to crime/mystery, for one. NotI'm impressed, tbh. It seems like a bit of a gamble; it's dark and Serious and more driven by a linear plot as opposed to crime/mystery, for one. Not to mention that the Watch novels work by splitting the narrative into different point-of-views as the Watch pair off to do their respective jobs - this one is almost entirely told in Vimes's POV, since the Watch as we know it hasn't been established at this point. A great part of the Watch arc's charm rests on the Watch members, their quirks, all the jokes, and the dynamics between them. It's the reason why I genuinely enjoyed "Feet of Clay" and "Jingo" even though they were comparatively weaker than the rest of the Watch books. So, yeah, am pretty impressed that Pratchett managed to step away from the safety of a general Watch formula that has been tried, tested, and found effective.
Anyway, I like the time travel here! I love how John Keel actually existed as a separate person instead of being an ontological paradox in the education of Vimes, and how young Sam actually influenced Vimes's actions (past and future). And Veterinari's cameos, which were probably the best parts of the book. <3
[Plus, it references Les Miserables, one of my favorite things in the world.] ...more
VETINARI: We don't want to fight, but - LORD SELACHII: By jingo, if we do, we'll show those - VETINARI: We have no ships. We have no men. We have no monVETINARI: We don't want to fight, but - LORD SELACHII: By jingo, if we do, we'll show those - VETINARI: We have no ships. We have no men. We have no money, too....more