Alyssa's Reviews > Small Gods

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
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Aug 25, 12


Terry Pratchett makes you laugh so hard, you don't even realize you're learning something until it's too late.

This is one of his more overtly philosophical books and, in my opinion, it's also one of his best. As many other reviewers have pointed out, Small Gods is a stand-alone novel, so it can be read independently of the Discworld saga (although, a word of warning -- you might be hooked). Pratchett's dialogue and the cadence of his writing is enchanting. His plots, themes, and ideas are refreshingly original, even when he is writing about religion, one of the oldest literary themes since, well, literature. I can honestly say that this book changed the way I think about religion, and it was hilarious and captivating all the while.

If I were forced under pain of death to say something negative about Small Gods, it would have to be this-- Brutha is not quite as engaging as some of Pratchett's other protagonists. The god Om is absolutely hilarious, but, being a god, he can't provide the "human touch" that generally enriches the Discworld universe. I'm sure this is the direct result of Small Gods being an aforementioned stand-alone novel; Pratchett is dealing with some really complex issues here, and he simply doesn't have the page count to develop Brutha to the extent of his recurring characters. Also, as I mentioned above, Small Gods is more didactic than some other Discworld novels. I loved the theology, but if that's not your thing, you might start out with one of Pratchett's more subtle, yet equally brilliant works. (May I suggest Reaper Man?)

Those minor criticisms aside, Small Gods is one of the best books of the Discworld series, which is one of the richest satires of our time. I can't promise that you will like this book, but I can promise that it will make you think. And, because I like to end on a quote:

"'That's right,' he said. 'We're philosophers. We think, therefore we am.'"
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