Terri's Reviews > Unseen Academicals

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
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Jun 12, 2011

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Read in May, 2011 — I own a copy

This book didn't captivate me the way most Pratchett books, but that isn't to say it's bad - a 3-star book by Terry Pratchett is still better than 85% of what's on the fiction shelves. And when one considers what he had to go through to produce this book, then this book can be considered a triumph and a great achievement. And I think we all have favorites and not-so-favorites in the spectrum of Pratchett's work--for me Going Postal and all the City Watch stories are favorites, while Mort, Eric, and Monsterous Regiment are only "eh"). So while this wasn't a favorite, I do think anyone claiming Pratchett's illness impacted this work is probably incorrect and I think there are a great many Pratchett fans who will be very happy with this book.

The story and characters in this story seem a little more somber than most of his stories--there was a lot of social commentary on class and the struggle to climb out of the "crab bucket" that is dead on. And Pratchett's slick one-liner/zinger humor is to be found in abundance--Pratchett is one of, if not *the* cleverest person with words in all of human history. He makes words not only sit up and dance, he makes them do things I didn't know was possible. Unfortunately a lot of the humor was dampened by the fact that most of the zingers seemed like the punchline to a joke that was never set up--they come out of nowhere and play like non-sequitors, lessening their power because the reader is left struggling to figure out what just happened to the conversation/what the hell the speaker is talking about. And I found some of the characters to be "off"/out of character - Ridicully seemed a little too intellectual and Ponder Stibbons seemed to be more self-assured and outspoken than usual. Still, overall, a fun read.
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