I love Ellis Peters, there's no way denying that. Her writing style is simply amazing. Admittedly, she could have written the story without giving allI love Ellis Peters, there's no way denying that. Her writing style is simply amazing. Admittedly, she could have written the story without giving all these hints in the end, but I still loved it....more
In his first discworld novel, first published in 1983 (two years older than me!), Terry Pratchett takes thThe Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett eBook
In his first discworld novel, first published in 1983 (two years older than me!), Terry Pratchett takes the reader on a tour around his magical world by sending the first ever tourist of the discworld, Twoflower, to explore it. He is accompanied - most unwillingly - by the inept wizard Rincewind, and his (the tourist’s) Luggage, a huge wooden chest made of sapient pearwood, which follows him wherever he goes and keeps his belongings save by eating those who want to steal it. On their travelling from Ankh-Morpork to the Hublands to the Rimfall, Twoflower and Rincewind meet many people and monsters, from thieving heroes to imaginary dragons. The ending is left open and will be continued in the next novel, The Light Fantastic, or so I have heard.
I had some minor problems with the book, mainly because I have already seen the movie twice and, as is so often the case, comparison is a bad idea but hard not to do. Even with the difference which irritated me, though, I enjoyed the book and had to smile at several occasions. The optimistic, naive and - most of all - curious Twoflower and his counterpart, the pessimistic, seemingly ill-starred Rincewind, are a great team when it comes to surviving all that Fate (the God) happens to throw their way, and they entertain the reader at the same time. Admittedly, they receive some help from the Lady in that great board game the Gods play... The only thing that really irks me is the matter of Hrun the Barbarian, who joins Rincewind and Twoflower at the Temple of Bel-Shamharoth and simply vanishes after their clash with the people of the Wyrmberg. I hope he will return with some kind of explanation in the next book.
For readers who want to get to know Terry Pratchett and/or the discworld, I can definitely recommend The Colour of Magic. The skilled writer that he is, Pratchett manages to describe the discworld to the outsider without losing sight of the story, introducing important terms and facts (e.g. Great A'Tuin, the world turtle, the names of the four elephants that carry the disc, the Big Bang hypothesis and the eighth colour, octarine) and comparing it to our world (magic versus technical progress, views and opinions, etc.). I believe that you can read and understand the other discworld novels without having read this one first, but if you like the discworld, you need to read this book....more
Synopsis Dead on Demand is a crime novel describing the repercussions of one single person's desire to see someone dead. Main character is Edwin Murphy,Synopsis Dead on Demand is a crime novel describing the repercussions of one single person's desire to see someone dead. Main character is Edwin Murphy, editor of a London based news paper. He's always put work before private life, and has been living on his own for some time when his wife finally files a divorce. Not only does she want half of his money, she also wants to move to New York with their little daughter. Edwin cannot let this happen, so he devises a clever murder swap scheme to get rid of his wife, and later the woman who killed her for him, and more, until no connection remains... Will the baffled police be able to see through his plans in time before he moves to Vancouver for a new job?
Impressions Dead on Demand was a project of two brothers. They wanted to see whether they could write (+ advertise + publish) a crime novel together in 90 days. Obviously, they did. Was it worth it? I've been pondering this question almost since I started reading the book (I got the Kindle version for free), and I still can't say for sure. The problem is that I don't really understand the goal, or maybe it's the definition of "novel" I'm missing here; of a publishable novel, that is. The story the Campbell brothers created is intriguing, at least for most of the book. It kept me reading. Nevertheless, I could never recommend Dead on Demand to anyone, at least not without mentioning that it's been done in 90 days, because it shows. As I said, the story itself is fine, but the writing is of a quite low quality. I've seen worse, it's true, but I can't imagine this novel making it to a book store ten years ago. Without eBooks and self-publishing, this would not have worked. Is that a bad thing, though? I don't know. All I can say is that, if you don't mind typos, relics from rephrasing and other mistakes that could easily be repaired by another round of editing, but you would like an interesting plot, read it (especially if it's still free).
Rating For most of the book, I was pretty sure I would give it three stars in the end. At 94%, I had to change it to two. I'll give you three reasons for my rating, one for each missing star, if you want.
Mistakes (in general) One advantage you get with eReaders is that you can easily mark mistakes and can count them later on. I've marked around 70 instances - real mistakes (like the wrong time used), needless word repetition, lack of comma and stuff that could have been worded better with more editing. 70 mistakes on 351 pages means one on every fifth page. A bit much? I think so. If you want, I can give you some examples, but I don't want this to get too long now.
Julia In the first chapter, Julia is described as an unwilling prostitute. She gets her customers in her own flat, has a pimp and does heroin. She also has a boyfriend, who is not allowed to know about that, and additionally works as a barmaid. About halfway into the novel, she is killed. From my perception, this can only be a few months after that first description of her. Now, though, she has been living with her boyfriend for two years (they've known each other for four) in that same flat. There is no mention of her pimp, nor of drugs. What happened? I don't know. At first, I thought there were two women named Julia, but the name of the boyfriend is the same. I don't know if it's just me who doesn't get it. I don't know if I've missed something. Maybe the guy whom Julia wanted to have killed was her pimp? But even then, she's been living with her guy for two years before that happened! How??
The Mistake at 94% Since Julia was only a minor character and the story went on well, and since I've managed to live with the mistakes, I still intended to give the novel three stars. After all, it's been done in 90 days, so what could you expect? As I said, I changed my mind to the end of the book. There was this one, absolute terrible mistake. Actually, I quite admired the Campbell brothers before that. They were playing with a huge number of characters, and keeping the overview must have been hell throughout (it's even difficult for the reader at times). They managed, though. Right until they confused the name of their Chief Inspector with that of their main suspect. David and Edwin. Very alike, huh? That was the major turn off for me.
Conclusion Dead on Demand is a crime novel written in 90 days. The lack of time put into it shows in the style. A lot. It also shows in the story at the end. They had to finish it, so they rushed to a final twist. The twist was a nice addition, the rush just sucked. The characters show little development. Everybody seemed to be quite talented at killing, which I found weird. I never really understood Edwin's motivation, either. OK, getting rid of his wife, I get that, but afterwards... I've said it before: read it if you don't mind the low quality, but don't expect it to be as good as a book from a professional publisher....more
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett is the sequel to his first discworld novel, The Colour of Magic. Published three years after the first, in 1986The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett is the sequel to his first discworld novel, The Colour of Magic. Published three years after the first, in 1986, the book starts off where we were left, with Rincewind the inept wizard falling from the disc. The Octavo, a very potent grimoire, goes to great length to save his life - or, to be more exact - to save one of the Eight Spells of the creator, which had taken up lodging in Rincewind's head some years previously. One moment falling right into space, next moment he finds himself in a wood of talking trees. He is reunited with the tourist Twoflower, but we never get to know what happened to Tethis the water troll, who was inside the Potent Voyager, a space capsule, with him. Rincewind and Twoflower continue their travels across the disc, being pursued by wizards and accompanied by yet another hero, Cohen the Barbarian. This time, they meet druids building a kind of magical computer, they take a short stroll through Death's realm, are kidnapped, then saved by trolls, and so on. All the time, a new, red, menacing star grows bigger in the sky, threatening to destroy the discworld. Or is it? In any case, it is driving people mad with fear and curiosity.
I liked this second discworld novel quite a bit more than the first. It has more of a storyline; it was clear quite early that the goal would be to return to Ankh-Morpork and everything that happens somehow works towards this goal. Then comes the showdown, epic fights and heroic deeds (done by Rincewind, who was the greatest coward ever known before). The sudden change of character fits, though, as he is finally home and tired of running away again. Disappointing, for me, was that we still don't know what happened to Hrun the Barbarian and Tethis from The Colour of Magic. Books that give no satisfactory explanation of the disposition of some of their characters, however minor they may be, always upset me.
Overall, it was a good read. The Light Fantastic is funny and exciting, but now that I'm getting used to reading Terry Pratchett again, and the first excitement for reading the whole series has faded, I can't help noticing that his later novels are, well, better. I'm looking forward to continue with the discworld novels and follow the author's development....more
Despite this wonderful picture, I decided to read through the whole discworld series in publishing order. This means that today my third review for thDespite this wonderful picture, I decided to read through the whole discworld series in publishing order. This means that today my third review for the British Books Challenge 2012 is about Equal Rites, first published in 1987. Please be aware that this review contains spoilers.
The first two novels introduced and followed the wizard Rincewind, while this third book turns towards the witches of the discworld, who practice magic on a very different level. In Equal Rites, by the mistake of an old wizard in a hurry, a new born girl inherits the magical staff of said wizard. The baby was thought to be the eighth son of an eighth son, destined to become a wizard, and the old wizard in question wanted to give his staff to the boy before his own death. As is so often the case with men – and especially with wizards – he didn't pay any attention to the witch – Granny Weatherwax – who had helped during the birth of the child. She tries to tell him that it's a girl, but neither he nor the baby's father listen until it's too late. The father, who is the local blacksmith, tries to destroy the staff afterwards, but is unable to do so. He hides it instead and hopes that his daughter will grow up normal. Which of course she doesn't. Around the age of eight, she is lost in the woods at night, in winter. When wolves threaten to harm her, the staff comes to her rescue, killing the wolves. After this incident, Granny Weatherwax tries – in vain – to destroy the staff. She also takes on the girl, whose name is Esk, as apprentice to become a witch. She tries to train her, but it become apparent that Esk cannot control her wizard powers when she turns one of her brothers into a pig. Granny Weatherwax then takes Esk to Unseen University for training, but women are not meant to be wizards... That she helps save the world does give her a certain advantage, though.
I know Granny Weatherwax from the much younger series around Tiffany Aching. She's called Mistress Weatherwax there and – somehow – totally different from the witch in this book! Not in all aspects, mind you, but still very different. This is the main reason why I didn't like Equal Rites as much as I could have. It was so confusing to read! Still, there was fun and adventure, as you would expect from Terry Pratchett, so it's still worth recommending....more
The 20th discworld novel, Hogfather, was published in 1996. It's the 4th story around Death, who as always (almost) gives up his true profession to doThe 20th discworld novel, Hogfather, was published in 1996. It's the 4th story around Death, who as always (almost) gives up his true profession to do something else.
It all starts with the Auditors, who are something like arch-enemies for Death and decide to get rid of the Hogfather to bring more "order" to the world. They are able to find an assassin creative enough to pull this off. The consequences are: 1) Death takes up the role of the Hogfather, 2) Susan gets pulled towards her grandfather's job again, 3) free belief sloshes around, creating a number of interesting gods, fairies and so on, 4) this of course gets the wizards involved. The showdown between Susan, the Auditors, Death and the Hogfather was a bit confusing to me, but at least I know who won.
Hogfather introduces some new characters and places, like creepy Teatime and the realm of the Tooth Fairy. There are also a lot of nightmarish creatures involved, which is just as well since Susan is a governess now and can deal with those. Oh, and Hex is evolving quite disturbingly... Fun and entertaining as any Terry Pratchett, and worth the movie it got....more