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 all...moreI 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.(less)
In his first discworld novel, first published in 1983 (two years older than me!), Terry Pratchett takes th...moreThe 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.(less)
I bought Reaper Man at a jumble sale, last year or maybe the year before. This is the third time I read the book, and I couldn't put it down. In cases...moreI bought Reaper Man at a jumble sale, last year or maybe the year before. This is the third time I read the book, and I couldn't put it down. In cases like this I think that not being able to put down a book isn't necessarily caused by wanting to know how it ends. For me, it's knowing how it ends and wanting to read - no, experience - it all again. Really good books can do this to you.
Reaper Man is Terry Pratchett's eleventh discworld novel, and was first published in 1991; it's also the second in the Death story line. In it, the so-called auditors of reality decide that the death of the discworld has to be replaced, seeing that he has developed a personality. So, when Death finds his own life-timer counting the seconds to his ceasing of existence, he leaves his realm to spend his remaining life time with the living (to great dismay of his servant, Albert). Under the name of one Mr. Bill Door, Death is hired as help on the farm of old Miss Flintworth, just in time for the harvest. Here, he experiences feelings, and sleep, and dreams, for the first time. While he is away, though, things start going wrong all over the discworld. With no one to take the dying to the netherworlds, life force is building up, finding outlets wherever possible. One person extremely affected by this is the wizard Windle Poons (whom we've met in Moving Pictures as the oldest wizard at Unseen University), whose time has come to go. Upon dying, he ends up in a blackness, with nowhere to go except back to his dead body, which he does. Being a zombie isn't easy, though: you have full control over all bodily functions (by the way, how does the spleen work?) and when you've been looking forward to being reborn as a woman, spending the afterlife in your own dead body is no alternative. The other, alive, wizards at Unseen University are more than willing to help Windle die, but as none of their approaches work, he ends up at the Fresh Start Club, with other un-deads and people generally un-welcome in society. Finally, while Death confronts the new death (wearing a crown!) to reclaim his job, Windle, the Fresh Starters and the wizards have to save the city of Ankh-Morpork from the consequences of superfluous life force.
Terry Pratchett is good at humour. It's what he is most famous for. How often do people mention his talent for suspension and drama, though? Reaper Man is one of the discworld novels with this dramatic, touching, heart-breaking turning point that is so important for a good story. The secret is, he won't leave you with that. A discworld novel always ends with something funny, relaxed, witty. For the balance of things.(less)