The only other Discworld books I'd read were the Tiffany Aching sequence - The Wee Free Men
, A Hat Full of Sky
, and Wintersmith
- and I was eager to try others. With those books, I found the humor hilarious and the worldbuilding excellent, but Tiffany a little obnoxious, mostly because she seemed too mature for her age, which ranges from nine to thirteen in the books.
A few writing-style trends that I found continuing here: Pratchett can be a tiny bit repetitive, especially on really good details, as if he's proud of them and wants you to see them again. Also, I still think his romance is kind of awkwardly underdone. I do appreciate the understated romance subplots I've come to associate with some modern male English writers (Neil Gaiman does it well, Brian Jacques painfully), but sometimes it seems a little thin. *Now come the spoilers; ye have been warned* Frankly, I wasn't sure I bought Mort and Ysabell getting together. They have the starts-out-tempestuous relationship that goes through various annoyances which are put aside when impending disaster forces them to work together, but when Ysabell says, "I - love him, father. I think," I'm as surprised as anyone. They never had a "moment," not that I noticed. Fiction would have you believe that any two single people of genders appropriate to their inclinations, when forced by Fate to work together in the face of danger, will end up in let's-get-married happily-ever-after lurve. I'm generally a fan of the conceit, but you've got to have some suggestion of feelings before that - feelings that aren't annoyance and frustration. With Mort and Ysabell, we see some camaraderie, but not tons, and not the slightest hint of attraction
. Honestly, I thought Keli and Cutwell were better set up.
The setup of Discworld is fantabulous. I will say, though, that just as with the Tiffany Aching books, I feel like some things came conveniently out of nowhere that seemed like they should have been set up. Chiefly I'm thinking of Mort's making it to Keli in time because of "the speed of night." This might have been foreshadowed a little
with the talk of Discworld light and its strange qualities, but there wasn't any previous reference to it or to Binky's ability to . . . move faster when night's falling? I'm not even sure I really understand why they were suddenly able to make it in time. I think Pratchett sometimes seems to fudge the magic a little for the plot. Some things of this type he handles well, though. When they take Keli and Cutwell back to Death's house, for example, that was just the way those things ought to be: I didn't think of it long before Mort and wonder at his slowness, but when he did come up with it, it seemed natural and obvious - the "why didn't I think of that?" moment.
AND Death is awesome; the humor is awesome; the world is awesome. This book had more explicit worldbuilding than the Tiffany Aching ones - probably because it's earlier in the series - and I really enjoyed it. Death is a fantastic character, and some of the humor - even throwaway lines - is amazing. I loved when Mort asked Death how he got all those coins, and Death answered, "In pairs."