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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2011)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse.

Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe. There are many, many bodies - and an ancient crime more terrible than murder.

He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, occasionally snookered and out of his mind. But never out of guile. Where there is a crime, there must be a finding, there must be a chase, and there must be a punishment.

They say that in the end all sins are forgiven.

But not quite all...

378 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

Terry Pratchett

467 books39.8k followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987, he turned to writing full time.

There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal.

A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback - Harper Torch, 2006 - and trade paperback - Harper Paperbacks, 2006).

In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.

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23,311 (42%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,006 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 51 books50.5k followers
November 4, 2022
Terry Pratchett has a way with words. Like the children’s entertainer with the balloons, he can take a familiar phrase and with a few deft twists create some new plaything better than all the contents of your party bag. To do that trick once or twice is good. To sustain it throughout a whole book is remarkable. To keep it fresh into the 39th volume of a series deserves a knighthood.

Snuff is Sir Terry Pratchett’s 50th novel. That’s a lot! It’s also the most recent foray into Discworld series, a literary phenomenon that has been ongoing for 28 years now. Enough with the vital statistics though – is it any good?

The story follows one of Discworld’s best established characters, Commander Sam Vimes, out into fresh territory. With wife and son on hand, Vimes experiences for the first time a holiday in the countryside. The Ankh-Morpork police force supply most of the characters for this tale from a well-stocked inventory of favourites. Lord Vetinari makes a welcome appearance at the open and close of the book, and with his hidden hand setting events in motion it can safely be assumed that Commander Vimes will not be idle in his country idyll.

Along with a murder mystery we’re presented with various angles on the topic of poo, an interesting introduction to the goblin race and their peculiarities, and some wide-ranging social critique. It’s not unusual for Pratchett to hold the Discworld up as a mirror in which he can satirise everything from the iniquitous to innocuous in our own world. In Snuff the critique is perhaps more heavy handed, the sentiments goodhearted rather than funny. We learn that oppressing minorities (goblins) is bad and that the class system along with the uneven distribution of wealth are neither big nor clever. I know these things and would have preferred a little more about how the goblins bottle a lifetime’s supply of snot.

The main weakness in Snuff however is simply that its hero is so familiar to us, so capable, sturdy, so grown and set into his character over many books, that the story lacks tension. We know Commander Vimes will come through. We don’t truly believe harm will befall his family. We expect the same man to walk out of the book as walked in.

These issues with the book on the grand scale do not however change the fact that Snuff is continuously entertaining, line by excellent line, with all Pratchett’s genius on display in the small scale. And his again he achieves the miracle of making you care about his creations. In the midst of all the funnies he can suddenly turn on the pathos and within moments the fate of a malodorous snot-bottling goblin will matter to you.

Fans of the series will enjoy the romp with old Discworld friends and some feisty new additions. Anyone who isn’t a fan should get a hold of one of the many entry-point books into this 39 novel masterwork (by all means start with number 1). And unless you were born without funny-bone you’ll soon be roaming the Discworld with the rest of us.

----
My 4* rating is to some degree influenced by the following wind of this excellent series - the added value carried from earlier books by many of these characters can't be ignored.



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Profile Image for Laura.
1,128 reviews118 followers
February 21, 2016
We saw Terry Pratchett at Town Hall Tuesday. He’s frail compared to the man I saw at Kane Hall back in the 1990s, but still sharp. He took questions, and one, predictably enough, was which of his characters he was most like. “In my heart I know it’s Rincewind,” he said, grinning. But then he continued in a more thoughtful vein:

“Twice I’ve kneeled in front of the Queen and she’s swished a very large sword over my head and fortunately, she’s missed every time. When I stood up a knight, a ferrier, a blacksmith, a soldier in the Crimean War, all my ancestors stood up with me. . . . and you find yourself wondering about your roots and arguing with prime ministers. .

“And that’s the part of me that’s Vimesy.” This man who more or less accidentally became part of the power structure. A peer of the realm. Married to duchess who is on first names basis with most of the powerful since childhood. In this book, Vimes more or less accidentally takes on some of the ways that the powerful stay powerful, both as someone who believes in law that transcends the local power structure, and as a part of the power structure that just happens to be outside of his jurisdiction. It’s good for him he’s got friends in high places. Also in low ones.

This isn’t the sharpest Discworld book ever, and there are those who will not appreciate its earnestness. Vimes goes on vacation and more or less accidentally takes on the triangle trade. Unambiguously hero work.

It is unabashedly one of the darker Discworld books. Not darkness made visible, though The Summoning Dark does whisper dark and helpful things in Vimes's ears. Horrible things happened in the gaps; things the author darkly references but does not explicate. There are unspoken parts of the book that make me squirm. Vimes is more of the Great White Savior than I was entirely comfortable with.

The villains are also mostly off screen, which is somewhat dissatisfying. One of the things I like about the Discworld books is that the villains are people too. Maybe this time Pratchett could not bear to share their perspective. Or maybe he didn’t want to give us the comfort of really despising them by keeping them vague and mostly off screen.

It felt a little like the pieces that were left over from Unseen Academicals. Like Pratchett is doing his best to bring in all the despised races of fantasy world and show that they’re human too. All parts of ourselves we’ve done wrong by. Like the man said, if humans could fall, why couldn’t orcs rise, after all? Or goblins?

It’s quite utopian in the resolution. Mostly utopian. Except for the realpolitique that very few people are actually punished. Though the spiders might help.

It had one of the best lines I’ve read in a long time, spoken by the Watch’s forensic accountant, A. E. Pessmial, discussing how people can come to do terrible things. “'I'm sorry. I know that I am a small, weak man, but I have amassed a large library; I dream of dangerous places.'"

Pokes quite nicely at Jane Austen*, though not as sharply as Unseen Academicals poked at Tolkien. May have been partially inspired by how all the amazing things that her British Empire was doing happened in the silences.
***

*It goes much deeper than this. But see, e.g.

Vimes’s lack of interest in other people’s children was limiteless, but he could count. “And the last one?”
“Oh, Hermoine, she may be difficult as she has rather scandalized the family, at least in their opinion.”
“How?”
“She’s a lumberjack.”
Vimes thought for a moment and said, “Well, dear, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a man with a lot of wood must be in want of a wife who can handle a great big--”
Lady Sybil interrupted sharply: “Sam Vimes, I believe that you intend to make an indelicate remark?”

Something Austen could not abide. Good times.
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 60 books230k followers
November 8, 2011
Enjoyed it immensely. Not the best Discworld book I've read. But whinging about this not being the Best Pratchett Book Evar is sort of like complaining that the diamond ring you've been given is only three/quarters of a carat.

It's easily worth five stars. I was often amused, occasionally teary-eyed, and never bored.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,567 reviews55.5k followers
April 6, 2021
Snuff (Discworld, #39; City Watch #8), Terry Pratchett

Snuff is the 39th novel in the Discworld series, written by Terry Pratchett. It was published on 11 October 2011 in the United States, and 13 October 2011 in the United Kingdom.

Commander Sam Vimes is forced by his wife, Lady Sybil, to take a holiday with their son, Young Sam, at her family's mansion Crundells.

After a short time of enjoying his holiday, he discovers that the rural community has a dark past with the resident goblins, humanoid lifeforms that live in caves nearby.

Vimes finds out that the son of Lord Rust has been enslaving goblins to force them to work on his tobacco plantations in Howondaland, allowing him to manufacture cigars cheaply that are then smuggled to Ankh-Morpork.

After teaming up with the local constable, a young man called Upshot, Vimes manages to arrest those responsible for the crime. In the end, thanks to his wife's organisational skills and powers of persuasion, goblins are recognised as citizens by all major nations and rulers.

Rust's son is disinherited and exiled to Fourecks, where Lord Vetinari assures an eye will be kept on him.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز نهم ماه فوریه سال 2021میلادی

عنوان: دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه) کتاب سی و نهم: اسنوف؛ نویسنده تری پرچت؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20م

دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه)، یک سری از کتابهای فانتزی هستند، که روانشاد «تری پرچت»، نویسنده ی «انگلیسی»، نگاشته ‌اند؛ داستان‌های این سری در جهانی با نام «دیسک‌ ورلد (جهان صفحه)» می‌گذرند؛ که صفحه‌ ای تخت است، و بر شانه‌ های چهار فیل، با هیکلهای بزرگ، قرار دارد؛ این فیل‌ها نیز، به نوبه ی خود، بر روی پشت یک لاک‌پشت غول‌آسا، با نام «آتوئین بزرگ» قرار دارند؛ در این سری از کتابها، بارها از سوژه های کتاب‌های نویسندگانی همچون «جی.آر.آر تالکین»، «رابرت هاوارد»، «اچ پی لاوکرافت» و «ویلیام شکسپیر» به گونه ای خنده دار، استفاده شده ‌است؛

از سری «دیسک ‌ورلد» بیشتر از هشتاد میلیون نسخه، در سی و هفت زبان، به فروش رفته‌ است؛ این سری در برگیرنده ی بیش از چهل رمان (تاکنون چهل و یک رمان)، یازده داستان کوتاه، چهار کتاب علمی، و چندین کتاب مرجع، و مکمل است؛ از این سری، چندین رمان تصویری، بازی کامپیوتری، نمایش تئاتر، سریالهای تلویزیونی اقتباس شده ‌است؛ روزنامه ی «ساندی تایمز» چاپ «انگلستان» از این سری به عنوان یکی از پرفروش‌ترین سری کتاب‌ها نام برده، و «تری پرچت» را، به عنوان پرفروش‌ترین نویسنده ی «انگلستان»، در دهه ی نود میلادی دانسته است؛

رمان‌های «دیسک‌ورلد» جوایز بسیاری از جمله جایزه «پرومتئوس»، و مدال ادبی «کارنگی» را، از آن خود کرده ‌اند؛ در نظرسنجی «بیگ رید»، که «بی‌بی‌سی» در سال 2003میلادی، در «انگلستان» انجام داد، چهار رمان سری «دیسک‌ورلد»؛ در فهرست یکصد کتاب برتر قرار گرفتند؛ همچنین مردمان «انگلیس»، در این نظرسنجی، چهارده رمان «دیسک‌ورلد» را، در شمار دویست کتاب برتر، دانستند؛ تا کنون، از این سری، چهل و یک رمان، به چاپ رسیده است؛ «تری پرچت» که پیش از درگذشتش؛ در ابتدای سال 2015میلادی، از بیماری «آلزایمر» رنج می‌بردند، اعلام کردند که خوشحال می‌شوند که دخترشان، «ریانا پرچت»، به جای ایشان، به ادامه ی این سری بپردازند؛ تا جلد بیست و ششم رمان این سری، رمان «دزد زمان (2001میلادی)» به دست «جاش کربی»، به تصویر کشیده شده ‌اند، اما نسخه ‌های «آمریکایی»، که انتشارات «هارپرکالینز» آن‌ها را، منتشر کرده، دارای تصاویر روی جلد متفاوتی هستند؛ پس از درگذشت «جاش کربی»، در سال 2001میلادی، نقاشی‌های روی جلد کتاب‌های بعدی این سری، بدست «پائول کربی» کشیده‌ شدند

کتابهای اول و دوم: «رنگ جادو»؛ کتاب سوم: «زنان جادوگر»؛ کتاب چهارم: «مرگ»؛ کتاب پنجم: «سورسری (برگردان فارسی جادوی مرجع)»؛ کتاب ششم: «خواهران ویرد»؛ کتاب هفتم: «هرم ها»؛ کتاب هشتم: «نگهبانان! نگهبانان»؛ کتاب نهم: «اریک»؛ کتاب دهم: «تصاویر متحرک»؛ کتاب یازدهم: «مرد دروگر»؛ کتاب دوازدهم: «جادوگران خارج»؛ کتاب سیزدهم: «ایزدان خرد (خدایان کوچک)»؛ کتاب چهاردهم: «لردها و بانوان»؛ کتاب پانزدهم: «مردان مسلح»؛ کتاب شانزدهم: «موسیقی روح»؛ کتاب هفدهم: «اوقات جالب»؛ کتاب هجدهم: «ماسکراد»؛ کتاب نوزدهم: «پاهای خشت (فیت آو کلی)»؛ کتاب بیستم: «هاگفادر»؛ کتاب بیست و یکم: «جینگو»؛ کتاب بیست و دوم: «آخرین قاره»؛ کتاب بیست و سوم: «کارپه جوگلوم»؛ کتاب بیست و چهارم: «فیل پنجم»؛ کتاب بیست و پنجم: «حقیقت»؛ کتاب بیست و ششم: «دزد زمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هفتم: «آخرین قهرمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هشتم: «ماوریس شگفت‌انگیز و موش‌های آموزش‌دیده‌اش»؛ کتاب بیست و نهم: «ساعت شب»؛ کتاب سی ام: «مردان آزاد وی»؛ کتاب سی و یکم: «هنگ بزرگ»؛ کتاب سی و دوم: «کلاهی پُر از آسمان»؛ کتاب سی و سوم: «گوینگ پوس��ال»؛ کتاب سی و چهارم: «تود!»؛ کتاب سی و پنجم: «وینتراسمیت»؛ کتاب سی و ششم: «بدست آوردن پول»؛ کتاب سی و هفتم: «دانشگاهی‌های نادیدنی»؛ کتاب سی و هشتم: «نیمه‌شب بایست بپوشم»؛ کتاب سی و نهم: «اسنوف»؛ کتاب چهلم: «بالا آمدن مه»؛ کتاب چهل و یکم: «تاج چوپان»؛

در کتاب «دیسک ورلد» سی و نهم: اسنوف؛ فرمانده «سام ویمز» را همسرش «لیدی سیبیل»، وامیدارد، تا با پسرشان «یانگ سام»، تعطیلات خود را در عمارت «کروندلز» بگذارنند؛ پس از مدت کوتاهی که آنها از تعطیلات خود لذت میبرند، او متوجه میشود، که جامعه ی روستایی آنجا بگذشته هایی تاریک، دارد، آنها شکلهایی از زندگی انسان نمایانه دارند و در غارهای اطراف همانند «گوبلینها» زندگی میکنند؛ «ویمز» درمییابد، که پسر «لرد راست» آنها را به بردگی میکشاند، تا آنها را مجبور به کار در مزارع دخانیات خود، در «هووندالند» کند، و اینکار به وی اجازه میدهد، تا او بتواند سیگار برگ ارزان قیمت تولید کند، و سپس آنها را، به «آنخ-مورپورک» قاچاق نماید؛ «ویمز» پس از همکاری با پلیس محلی، مرد جوانی به نام «آپشات» را، دستگیر میکند؛ در پایان، به لطف مهارتهای سازمانی، و قدردانی او از همسرش، «گوبلینها» توسط همه ی ملتها، و حاکمان بزرگ، به عنوان شهروند شناخته میشوند؛ و پسر «لرد راست» را به «فورکس» تبعید میکنند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 16/01/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Melindam.
607 reviews254 followers
February 9, 2023
So, this is not the best Discworld book or the best City Watch book and strictly speaking, it should be 4-stars only, but I just don't have the heart to give it less than five stars, because it features SAM VIMES, so there it is.

An openly- biased, non-objective 5 star rating from me.

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"You know, Commander Vimes, things are different in the country. People think that the country is where you can go to hide out. It ain’t so. In the city you’re a face in the crowd. In the country people will stare at you until you’re out of sight, just for the entertainment value."

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"The sound of the gentle rattle of china cup on china saucer drives away all demons, a little known fact."

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And reading/listening to a Discworld book by Terry Pratchett, especially if it features Samuel Vimes, also drives away all demons - A WELL KNOWN FACT!

In Snuff, His Grace, The Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel "Sam" Vimes -in a plot cooked up by by Lady Sybil and Lord Vetinari- is FORCED to leave his beloved-beloathed Ankh-Morpork and go ...

*GASP*SHOCK*HORROR* on a HOLIDAY to the

another round OF *GASP*SHOCK*HORROR*

COUNTRYSIDE

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to Lady Sybil's family's mansion, Crundells.

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He is to "enjoy" the pleasures of meeting High Society

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as well as trying to find his way in the labyrinth of "Downstairs"

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and expecting to be bored out of his wits.

But it is only because he has never read the Discworld literary equivalent of Agatha Christie, otherwise he would know that a magnificent stately home and a seemingly peaceful countryside equals horrible murder where everyone is suspicious

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as well as antagonistic towards him and his cause.

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There are quite a few recurring themes Pratchett is attacking mercilessly by making the reader delighted, shocked and deeply troubled at the same time.

In this instalment (just like in Unseen Academicals) he returns again to the issue of what is considered as "human" and where the lines are where one's rights clash with those of others. He is challenging our views and showing us that -in the best traditions of humanity- we are all hypocritical asses.


While I think that the villain of Snuff, Stratford, is pretty much recycled from earlier DW novels (he resembles the psychopath Carcer from Night Watch, albeit without the details and the depth and he does not have much screen time), the novel is still very powerful with nods to Jonathan Swift (A Modest Proposal) as well as to Jane Austen.


--------------------------------
Original Review
HAH! I can't believe I've never bothered to review this book, especially as it has a reference to JANE AUSTEN.

So yesss, Jane Austen actually turns up in a Discworld novel (albeit for a very short time). Isn't it just wonderful?!
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,864 reviews10.5k followers
October 17, 2011
Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch and his wife Sybil take Young Sam and go on vacation to Sybil's ancestral lands in the country. Fortunately for the Commander, crime soon rears its ugly head and he soon finds himself ensnared in a web of lies, smuggling, and murder! Can Vimes get to the bottom of things before he finds himself at the bottom of the river known as Old Treachery?

I always forget how good Terry Pratchett is during the year or years between new books. To the outsider, it would be easy to dismiss the Discworld books as silly fantasy novels. While they are silly, the Discworld books always deal with real issues as well. In this case, slavery and drugs. Snuff raises questions of what it means to be sentient, human rights, and the evils of looking the other way when something bad happens.

Pratchett's writing reminds me of P.G. Wodehouse's more with each passing book. I lost count of the clever lines. I even noticed reference to Tombstone ("I don't think I'm going to let you arrest me today."), Deadwood, and Jane Austen.

The characters are what drive the Discworld stories. Good thing, because they could easily degenerate into mindless silliness otherwise. Sam Vimes and his relationships with his family and the people of Ramkim were what made the story. Vimes' pep-talks with Feenie about what it means to be a copper, his caring tolerance for his son's fascination with poo of all kinds, and his feelings toward the goblins showed why Pratchett is more than just a fantasy writer.

The plot itself was pretty good. A goblin is murdered while Sam Vimes is on vacation and he starts pulling at threads to find out why, leading him to discover smuggling and corruption. The disgusting religion of the goblins is explored and, by the end, society is changed. Goblins haven't been touched upon very much in the Discworld series so far and I'd say Pratchett did a great job developing them in Snuff.

I can't pretend this book was perfect, though. The last fifty pages dragged a bit. That's about the only gripe I have, actually. It's the best Discworld book in years and if Pratchett doesn't manage to write another City Watch book, it'll be a good way to end things.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,847 reviews16.3k followers
January 31, 2019
I’m going out on a limb here and say that Sam Vimes is one of my favorite literary characters.

And I don’t just mean in the Discworld. Terry Pratchett has created a great many wonderful players in his series, most notably Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Og.

No, I’m going all in. Tolkien’s Gandalf. Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch. Sam Spade, Conan, Tarzan, Heinlein’s Jubal Harshaw, Paul Atreides.

Sam Vimes is in this list. Up on a literary character mountain top.

Pratchett’s 39th Discworld book. And let’s take a moment and give up some love for THIRTY NINE books in a series. When Snuff was published in 2011, Sir Terry was not long for this world (he would shake hands with DEATH in 2015) and maybe he was already feeling the first wintry tendrils of cold creeping in. Yet he delivered another outstanding book and another one featuring this unique protagonist.

Vimes demonstrates the hero that we all want to see and all want to be. He’s a hard working everyman who finds his wealth and station in life sometimes hard to take. More at home walking a beat than in a posh setting, Vimes is a copper’s copper. And a loving husband, a good father and an inspirational leader to the Watch and to all of is reading. He says what needs to be said, but when that does not work, he can kick ass too, and is actually a little fearful of what a badass he is.

Pratchett describes how Vimes goes on a family holiday with little Sam and Lady Sybil. And of course he solves crimes, gets caught up in a terrible conspiracy and works at saving the day and being a humble hero … again.

Meanwhile we also get to know about another Discworld race – goblins. Pratchett, ever the diversifying melter of the melting pot, reveals that this group of under appreciated folks have a lot of admirable qualities and deserve more than they’ve been given so far. And Vimes is of course leading the charge for greater equality.

Actually one of his more serious works, this still made me smile frequently and I liked it immensely.

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Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
579 reviews237 followers
March 2, 2022
I reckoned that if I let them give me enough titles I'd eventually get one I could live with.


Samuel Vimes has lived to suffer the greatest possible indignity. It is cruel, and unfair, and nobody seems to want to move a finger to help him. He'd tried to negotiate, and he'd tried to order the men to intervene, to no avail: Commander Vimes is going on holiday! To the countryside. For two weeks!

cows

His 6-year-old son instantly takes to the Shire, hell-bent on enlarging his poo-collection. Vimes Sr. however, is making enemies wherever he goes. Not intentionally mind, but some things are just not done: shaking the gardener's hand before that of the butler, talking to the maids, or discussing politics with the local nobs.

All he can do now is pray for a well-placed crime to call him back to duty; "toot sweet", as the copper would say. Soon enough, his wish is granted although he wasn't exactly expecting to be prime suspect.

Luckily for our protagonist, the Shire's single policemen is in dire need of training, and thus Vimes is able to get off on a technicality. But for how long?

Vimes and the Dark

This was one of the more difficult novels for me, in terms of readability. Having always been a relatively slow reader, I'd need a good week to finish a 500-page novel. Adding Sir Pratchett's euphemistic language, trying hard to describe the obscure as obvious, did not help matters.


'I could have taxed all kinds of things, but I have decided to tax something that you could eminently do without. It's hardly addictive, is it?'
'Some people tend to think so. There is a certain amount of grumbling, sir.'
Vetinari did not look up from his paperwork. 'Drumknott,' he said. 'Life is addictive. If people complain overmuch, I think I will have to draw that fact to their attention.'


Clearly, there is a thinly-veiled threat here, distinctly emerging from the conversation... but as for the nature of the offence - I mean tax - that is left up to the imagination of the reader. Even now, after several "oooh", "I see" and "that's actually clever!" moments, I'm not entirely certain that I got its nature right.

Still I persevered, paid attention, and in the end I got an excellent treatise on kindness, legislation and ethics.


'Well, sir, I believe I must take you before the magistrates?'
Vimes noted the little question mark. 'Who is your boss, Feeney?'
'The aforesaid bench of magistrates, sir.'
[...]
'Your boss is the law, chief constable, and don't you forget it.'


mike drop

Score: 3.55/5 stars

On the one hand, we have a difficult-to-follow writing style, several confusing euphemisms, and a story that does its best to accumulate new twists and turns on every page. Not to mention, that the Carrot x Angua sandwich is hinting at more angst to come, and this is the last book in the City Watch series!!! *sniff sniff*

On the other hand, extreme racism, law and ethics are incredibly relatable topics when it comes to the current socio-political climate. Decisions, decisions...

In the end, the tie-breaker goes to the occasional comic relief, that'll leave you giggling for a good few minutes.
4 (rounded-up) stars it is.


'You may be interested to know that the goblin name for [Corporal Nobbs] is Breaking Wind?'
She did not appear to smile and Vimes said, 'Yes, very apt. I've always thought of Nobby as a draught-extruder.'


==================================
Other books featuring the Night Watch:
Review of the 1st book: Guards!Guards!
Review of the 2nd book: Men at Arms
Review of the 3rd book: Feet of Clay
Review of the 4th book: Jingo
Review of the 5th book: The Fifth Elephant
Review of the 6th book: Night Watch
Review of the 7th book: Thud!
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,427 reviews12.7k followers
December 24, 2017
I bought Snuff when it first came out in 2011, not realising then, like everyone else, that it was going to be the final City Watch book. I sadly abandoned it long before the end anyway, sensing that it wasn’t any good. But, having recently read an excellent Discworld short story reminding me of my love for Terry Pratchett, as well as seasonal nostalgia (new Discworld books used to be cannily published during the Christmas season), I decided to give Snuff another shot and this time force myself through. At the very least I’ll be completing the City Watch series. Well, my initial impression of the novel was right - Snuff ain’t up to snuff!

Despite his protests, Commander Sam Vimes is forced to take a vacation. His beloved wife, Lady Sybil Ramkin, drags him and their son, young Sam, to the Ramkin Estate in the countryside for a well-earned family break. But crime doesn’t take a holiday and soon the Discworld’s finest policeman is on the trail of a goblin murderer and, in the process, uncovers a vast and unsavoury conspiracy that goes all the way to the top…

One thing that bothered me when I first tried reading Snuff six years ago was how extremely verbose and cumbersome Pratchett’s writing style had become. It takes well over 100 pages for anything to happen. Up til then all that had was Vimes and his family had left Ankh-Morpork and gone to the countryside! It takes even longer for the plot to emerge and when it did it was cliched and underwhelming.

I hated everything about the goblins. They’re basically a race of depressingly put-upon victims, which is as fun to read as it sounds, an unending stream of one-dimensional “characters” who’re just there to be repeatedly fucked with and stoke Vimes’ righteous indignation. The goblins’ culture was boring, everything about them was ridiculously sentimental and cloying, and they were just annoying as a whole.

Then again, all the new characters in Snuff were rubbish. The hapless country copper Feeney was pointless and tiresome, Miss Beedle, the writer, added nothing to the proceedings, while every rich person was portrayed as a gormless twit. There’s a half-hearted attempt at a Pride & Prejudice parody that fell flat. The villain, Stratford, is somehow even more one-dimensional than even the goblins - there’s another baddie literally called “Captain Murderer”(!), which shows you how little imagination and effort Pratchett put into these “characters”, but that on-the-nose kind of name should’ve applied to Stratford. He may as well have been called Mr I’m A Bad Dude because he’s that much of a caricature! He does evil shit because he’s an evil shit.

What I realised was that Pratchett really struggles, at least in this book, with the traditional mechanics of storytelling like a plot. Because where the book feels like a chore to read are the plot-heavy parts when he has to move things along, particularly the riverboat “action” sequence, which was utterly dull, and the absurdly talky fight scenes.

I also continued to not care about Vimes’ family like the infallible Sybil, who’s drearily always right, and his irritating son, young Sam. I really disliked in general how cutesy and safe Discworld got towards the end (oh man, FUCK the Tiffany Aching YA books, fuck them all to hell!), and the stuff with Vimes and young Sam were far too ball-achingly saccharine for my taste. And SO unfunny - young Sam thinks poo is hilarious, repeat 12 million times, har de har har…

Technically Snuff is a City Watch book but it’s basically all about Vimes. Carrot, Angua, Nobby et al. are given a handful of token pages and there’s a completely half-arsed subplot involving Colon and a goblin pot that’s totally irrelevant. Fred’s in a coma and could die! Oh, never mind, it resolved itself off-page! Well, why bother to start with then?!

That said, there’s a reason why Vimes gets all the focus: he’s one of Pratchett’s finest creations. The character holds a special place in my heart having seen him transform over the years from the opening pages of Guards! Guards! when we first met him as a down-and-out drunk waking up in the gutters of Ankh-Morpork to the sober Duke he is now, having brought up the City Watch with him along the way. It says a lot about how fully-realised and compelling a character he is that the best parts of Snuff are simply Vimes riffing on whatever.

And there are definitely parts of the book I enjoyed. Despite coming across as someone far too deeply in love with his own voice, Pratchett’s still very witty and he’s in his element when he isn’t concerning himself with the plot and meandering off somewhere else instead. Vimes conversing with his manservant Willikins was more often entertaining than anything else going on, and, though Pratchett eschewed the tradition of having Death cameo in every Discworld book here, he still included a scene at the end between Vimes and Vetinari verbally jousting one last time, which was pure pleasure for me (think those cliched cop movie scenes between the police chief and the loose cannon but far more clever). I will dearly miss those scenes, especially as Pratchett wrote the Patrician so, so beautifully with that perfect balance between lethally understated menace, benevolent power and razor-sharp intelligence manifested in one remarkably unique mysterious and Machiavellian figure.

Sadly, Snuff is a weak last bow for Vimes and the City Watch to go out on which is a shame given how brilliant the earlier books were. Perhaps it’s appropriate that poo should feature so much in this one as the quality is disappointingly shit! While I’m glad to have finished off this series, it’s a forgettable final adventure for Vimes that’s not very funny, tediously overlong, and largely unentertaining - ‘snot enuff for this Discworld fan!
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,100 reviews44.1k followers
February 15, 2016
This is my first Discworld novel and it may be my last. Well, at least for a long while. Previously I’ve read Pratchett’s Nation, which I really enjoyed. This, however, just didn’t do it for me. It is overflowing with so much humour that I thought it was too obvious and, at times, redundant. I did like the protagonist when I began reading, but towards the end I well and truly had had enough of him.

The protagonist is very annoying

I understand that the main crux of the character is the reason I found him frustrating. He is, in essence, a workaholic. There’s nothing wrong with this, I’m one too. But, it bordered on ridiculous. Perhaps that’s the point. I just found him a very frustrating, and quite frankly, as flat character. There is nothing beyond him other than his job. He is simply the commander of the city watch no matter wherever he goes or whoever he is with. He goes on holiday, and he is still doing his job. He finds a crime trail, after a game of fisticuffs, and follows it up. No more, no less.

Indeed, he peruses it with relentless enthusiasm that drives his wife mad. But, he doesn’t seem to get anywhere. Well, at least for a long while. The narration seems to wonder off along with the story. I just wasn’t sure where a lot of it was going. I really struggled to get into his investigation, which I do think was because of Pratchett’s writing that continuously seemed to venture away from the point. Perhaps, again, that is the point of what he was doing. But either way it made it really hard for me to follow the plot if this book. A lot of it felt like perpetual ramblings.

Where is he going with this?

Pratchett goes on some awfully long winded tangents in the middle of his writing. I found myself getting quite lost at some points, and I just couldn’t see the relevance of certain points which felt, to me, like a random train of thought shoved into the writing. This made it difficult for me to focus on the main plot of the story. Perhaps its Pratchett’s style that I don’t get on with or perhaps it is this particular novel that overwhelmed me. I really don’t know, but the result of it is that I have no intention of picking up another book by this author in a long, long, time.

Suffice to say, I really didn’t enjoy this book. The lack of chapters also contributed to this. This, of course, is only a minor thing but it did annoy me greatly. I like to finish reading at the end of a chapter, and not in the middle of narrative. I know this may sound silly, but I simple cannot stop reading in the middle of a length of story. I had to read beyond what I normally would to find what I though was an adequate break within the story. I real don’t understand the authorial decision behind the lack of chapters. To my mind it served no purpose, and discouraged me further.

Overall, this book was incredibly frustrating. I didn’t like aspects of Pratchett’s writing or the structure of the book. I do hope in the future, when I eventually pick up another Pratchett book, I don’t have the same reaction because I really want to enjoy another one of his books.

A despondent two stars

P.S If from my review you think I should try a particular Discworld book then, please, don’t hesitate to recommend. I did really want to enjoy this book but couldn’t. If there is a Discworld book you think I’ll get on with, I will try it in time.
Profile Image for Allen Walker.
130 reviews1,206 followers
November 28, 2021
Wow. Absolutely fantastic. This is the first new-to-me Discworld book I've read in nearly 20 years. It is so bittersweet that I've finally finished Vimes's tale and am consequently all kinds of emotional.

Full review to come.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,852 followers
August 29, 2020
Re-read 08/29/20:

Reading this in the light of race relations is rather enlightening. It's a gentle treatment on simply learning to treat people like PEOPLE in the end, but this is a very GOOD thing.

So, honestly? I was sad, enthusiastic, angry, and hopeful as I read this again.

It's a fine novel.



Original Review:

I go through different stages of Pratchettism throughout my life. Sometimes I can't do without Death, other times, I love the witches more than anything else. Then I've got to have my wizards. Lower down on the rung of things, I disliked the Night Watch more than I've ever disliked anything in Discworld; and then something really odd happened: I didn't dislike it at all. In fact, I kept thinking about how interesting all of these goofy characters have become. And then, without my quite realizing it, I loved them.
This is a novel about the Law. And a book named Pride and Extreme Prejudice.
Classic chicanery in the hills during a much-deserved vacation, and all that, and smartly done, too. Right!
Profile Image for Tim.
2,086 reviews192 followers
April 19, 2021
Not Sir Terry Pratchett at his best. 3 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Trish.
1,851 reviews3,364 followers
August 29, 2020
This is the last adventure featuring Sam Vimes in the series. And boy, did Pratchett make it a good one.

Lord Vetinari is of the opinion that Vimes needs and deserves some vacation and sets Sybil up as if it was her idea. Or was it Sybil who set Vetinari up? You never know for sure with those two. ;)
In the end, it doesn't matter, Vimes has no choice but to accompany his wife to the countryside where her parental home is. But you know what they say: you can take the cop out of Ankh-Morpork but you can't take the cop out of Sam Vimes. *lol* Bored by all the balls and conventions and such, he eventually "stumbles upon" a murder.



Old-fashioned views being challenged by the Commander, goblins gaining full citizen status, Sam junior coming into his own what with his expertise on anything poo, Vimes finally getting some unhealthy food, and Willikins being his wonderful self - this volume was choke-full of fun.

Willikins is a character I wouldn't want to miss.

(By the way, this is NOT what I picture Willikins to look but it was still somehow fitting.)

All that does not mean that Vimes isn't great on his own, but his strengths are even more pronounced when he's spearheading with others about him and the banter with his man-servant sure makes me chuckle.

It is eerie that this was this month's installment. I mean, look at what is going on in the world. Look how people treat people, all the madness with "us vs them". It's nothing new but right now it feels especially bad since everyone seems to be pitted against everybody else. And then you read a book from all those years ago and the author nailed the problem as well as the solution. You see, you don't need to overcomplicate things and overthink discrimination of any kind. All you have to do is treat people like people. Period. If you want a crash course in how to do that, ask Vimes. He knows what's what.

Yes, I love Vimes. I love how he ALWAYS makes it back in time to read to or with his son. I love the relationship with his wife. I love his way of leading people. I love how he is not perfect but putting so much effort in always being better today than he was yesterday. I love how he has this instinct when things are wrong. I love his love for justice, unwavering, uncompromising and not bribable. I just love him. And now I have to say goodbye to him. *sniffles*

And don't think this volume was too contemplative to have been fun. I chuckled and laughed out loud many times. Never fear, Pratchett knew just how to blend the seriousness with the silliness.
Profile Image for Toby.
828 reviews325 followers
August 28, 2022
#4 Favourite Read of 2012
“Little crimes breed big crimes. You smile at little crimes and then big crimes blow your head off.”

There was a PC game released back when a PC was still a relevant piece of computing technology going by the name of Discworld Noir, I only played it a little while before my machine gave up the ghost but I suspect that even a Discworld title called noir was not as dark at its heart as this novel.

There's still an awful lot of humour to contend with but Sam Vimes is up against a darkness blacker than he's ever experienced before, both in terms of the case he stumbles upon on his vacation and the internal struggle of a good man trying not to do bad things. The fact that he is a famous detective only serves to highlight the noir qualities at hand.

“...smoke twisting amongst the lights and turning the air a desolate blue, the colour of dead hopes and lost chances.”


I shall not tell you the plot, it's filled with bad things happening to mostly good people and Sam Vimes does what he does best with an ensemble cast that grows by the minute. Young Sam is a growing boy and an essential part of any Sam Vimes story these days (as is Lady Vimes of course) and he meets his literary heroine in Miss Felicity Beedle whose book The World of Poo is now available for you and I to purchase. Goblins are the newest race of creature to be introduced to the Disc and provide a few new entertaining characters who I'm sure we'll be meeting again soon.

My favourite however has to be Wilikins, the gentleman's gentleman, if ironing a shirt was a competition he'd no doubt ensure he won even if it required him to get up the previous morning and break the other participants fingers one by one. He's such a great character echoing the brilliant Kyril Bonfiglioli creation Jockstrap, that I think he deserves his own book, perhaps in the style of the "Vimes in his youth" story Night Watch?

This is the best and most enjoyable Discworld book in quite some time, I think perhaps you have to go back to Thud! before you come across anything quite like it in terms of completeness of vision, storytelling and literary heart, I don't think it's a coincidence that it too was a Sam Vimes book.

I said it about Nation and the same is true here, if this book had been written by somebody else, not synonymous with the fantasy genre, awards would be raining down upon the author. Infact Pratchett has committed a double sin in writing in two of those "dirty genres" at the same time, crime and fantasy are not considered good sources of intelligent writing (and I'll be the first to admit that both genres are filled with absolute acres of shit that you must wade through to find the real gems,) but like the greats that have come before him (people like Georges Simenon, Jim Thompson and David Goodis on their good days) he is ignored as a talented writer of literature that dissects what it means to be human.

A triumph of a novel and a return to form after the disappointment of Unseen Academicals.
Profile Image for Kate O'Hanlon.
333 reviews32 followers
October 12, 2011
Okay it's Pratchett, so the fact that it's good is a given.
And yet... I think Pratchett has overmined the seam of 'oppressed species shows that they are as human as you or I'.
And... I thought so when I read Unseen Academicals so to see him retread this ground again is a little disappointing.

There is also some very clunky writing and a lot of characterization that seems very at odds with previous books. I found it hard not to read without thinking constantly about Pratchett's illness and wondering how much it was effecting his writing.

None of this is to say that Snuff was anything but an enjoyable read and if the best of Discworld has already been written I'm still happy to read the lesser additions.

Profile Image for Ivan.
413 reviews266 followers
February 17, 2021
3.5 stars. Could have more if the book was bit shorter or better said of length of average discworld novel.

I thoroughly enjoy Pratchett's writing but I felt Vimes makes similar statements over and over again. We get it he is tough copper who grow up on the streets and knows more than few dirty tricks and Willikins did some nasty stuff before becoming butler, no need to hammer it every chance.

Like all good Discworld books this one tackles some hard themes but I feel like it was aready done better in other DW novels.

Anyway it'sgood novel but I hold City watch series to a bit higher standards so slight disappointment.
Profile Image for Saga.
82 reviews7 followers
October 31, 2011
Pratchett's latest induced a fair few laughs, but felt structurally weak, even a tad disjointed. While Vimes still upholds the position of one of my favorite Discworld characters ever, his role was a tad overdone in an almost superhuman-ish fashion, which makes it harder to identify with the rugged, stubborn cob character I originally fell in love with. The whole Goblin rights issue seemed also like an infirmer repetition of Unseen Academicals' acceptance of Orcs, topped with one of the most uninteresting villains I've seen in a while (including the one in I Shall Wear Midnight). Hence, three stars. Stephen Briggs's audio book reading was excellent, however.
Profile Image for Kalin.
Author 71 books259 followers
March 13, 2015
It is a fortunate life, one where you grew up with Terry Pratchett as one of your fathers. Where, all the way back to a 12-year-old you picking up Faust Eric , you got reminded that what makes you human (or humane, if you decide to dump the speciesist lingo ;) is your choices, not your origins. Where you're made to laugh at--and more importantly, with--the follies of thinking and acting of folks you've either encountered already or soon will. (Sometimes in the mirror, too.) Where, when you stop laughing, you're stirred to think what it takes to make those defining choices, in the face of unkindly odds, or foolish thinking and acting. Where, as both you and the books grow up, you're stirred to feel what those characterspeople go through. For a writer who began as a wry parodist, making you feel is an astonishing feat.

Snuff made me feel. It made me do all of the other things, too, but what will last longest (just like in Nation ) is the feeling. The fear and helplessness of a people that has been denied rights--or, for that matter, recognition. The anger building up inside Samuel Vimes at another injustice left to fester and foul us. The (ethereal :D) beauty of Tears of the Mushrooms' performance ... how can music really work such miracles, connect us in such ways? Any suggestions, Lord Vetinary, sir?

And here's the brightest part:

Pratchett aten't dead yet.

And although we live in a world of flux, I believe he won't be for at least another generation of readers, or three.

P.S. from 13 March 2015: Avantasia probably put it best:

Dreamers come and go
But the dream's forever
Profile Image for Julie.
1,864 reviews38 followers
January 23, 2023
My daughter and I listened to this together most memorably as we worked on decorating our journals for 2023. It was such a lovely companion for us and we loved it so. This is the last in the City Watch series of the Discworld books. We plan to start on the Witches series next.

Here are my favorite passages:

"Usually Sybil considered it her wifely duty to see to it that her husband lived forever and was convinced this happy state of affairs could be achieved by feeding him bowel scouring nuts and grains and yogurt which to Vimes' mind was a type of cheese that wasn't trying hard enough."

"She (Mrs Upshot) pointed her finger at Vimes and yelled, "See him, now he is a gentleman and also a great copper. You can tell a real copper like my Henry, gods bless his soul, and Commander Vimes too, because they got proper badges what have been used to open thousands of beer bottles."

"I've never known an engineer who doesn't shove grease wherever he can." I chuckled at this being married to an engineer.

"Vimes woke in damp and utter darkness with sand under his cheek. Some parts of his body reported for duty, others protested they had a note from his mother."

And, finally, my favorite of all:

"The door now opened after a cursory knock to reveal the steward bearing that which is guaranteed to frighten away all nightmares to wit a cup of hot tea. The sound of the gentle rattle of china cup on china saucer drives away all demons, a little known fact."
Profile Image for Richard.
449 reviews102 followers
July 13, 2016
5/10

This is the lowest I’ve rated a Discworld novel but I don’t think it was really the worst Discworld novel I’ve read. A combination of tiredness, lack of reading time and a story which didn’t hook me made me find this a slow read and lacking in some of the finer points I’ve come to enjoy in this series. The plot itself is the usual sort of affair for the Watch sub-series; a crime or crimes have been committed and it’s up to the Watch to find out what’s happening and tackle some prejudices along the way. This time the difference is that Vimes is on holiday in the countryside so becomes a fish out of water.

The comedy felt forced in places, jokes which seem to have been done before or seem very similar to previous books. Vimes also felt a little forced in the way he acted whereas in previous novels it came off naturally and made for fun reading whereas here it was a little bit more eye-rolling. The plot didn’t interest me as it’s been done before here in much better ways. The last couple of novels in this sub-series have really stood out whereas this is already fading into the vague mists of my old age memory bank.

It feels a bit of a shame that the sub-series ended on this novel as I’ve had nothing but high praise for the majority of them. There won’t be any more Vimes et al but I would have thought that sometime in the distant future I would pick these up again as they are fun entertaining reads. I reckon reading this one again would elicit completely different emotions but that is for future Richard to deal with. There are still plenty of untouched Discworld novels for me to go at though and I look forward to picking some of the other sub-series up. Whilst not the best in my eyes it’s clearly a very well written novel that will be enjoyed by many. It just didn’t work for this grumpy reader this time around.

If you like this try: “Mort” by Terry Pratchett
Profile Image for Curt Hopkins Hopkins.
257 reviews8 followers
March 5, 2013
Even battling early-onset Alzheimer's, Pratchet is as good as any 10 novelists fighting ennui and indigestion. "Snuff" is the latest City Watch story in the Discworld series. The only other story that rivals it is the witches and I still prefer Commander Sam Vimes. "Snuff" is as good as any book in the series.

The City Watch series is the best set of police procedurals ever written. The emotional realism and detail is beyond compare despite the fact that the aforementioned watch consists, in addition to humans, of dwarves, trolls, golems, vampires, werewolves, a Nac Mac Feegle and at least one Igor.

The way the series speaks to a contemporary reader on the subjects of fairness, violence, politics, power and poverty is augmented by the milieu and casts of characters. There is, in a very real way, very little difference between law enforcement in London or New York and that in Ankh-Morpork. Immigrants, the rich, criminals and the very many people who actually work for a damned living make the story line, the series and this book just fucking great, in a way a great work of art that is loved and not merely appreciated always does.

It is far from incidental that Sam Vimes is a good man, who actually actively wrestles with his consciousness, who is aware of the life he lives and what he means in it and who loves his wife. The morality of Vimes is earned, and therefore never smug or contrived. Sam Vimes is one of those characters you wish you could meet and whose existence makes you wish to be better, braver, smarter, funnier, tougher and more moral.
Profile Image for HBalikov.
1,695 reviews629 followers
November 13, 2022
Terry Pratchett and I haven’t spent much time together. His Discworld was not nestled in my remaining gray cells so I approached this “fresh.”

At its most serious this is a novel about what constitutes justice and consequences of pre-judging.

At its most humorous this novel starts out with a “poor city mouse” finding himself in a rich country mansion.

This book was written after Discworld had been well-established in over a score of novels. Yet, I needed none of that background to appreciate Pratchett’s well-honed senses of irony and humor. Vimes is our “hero” and we follow him into the “country” (which resembles England during the Victorian Era) and see him struggle with all of it. Out of initial chaos emerges a thread of criminality that Vimes, a police by trade, feels compelled to follow.

The journey is not in a straight line and things get complex and convoluted for a chunk of this book but Pratchett’s skillful touches of humor and satire made the journey almost effortless for this reader. I never felt that I needed anymore background than we were given. Highly entertaining.


Right now I have about 100 quotations from this book that I need to pare-down before sharing.

Silliness:
"Apparently it had a mile of trout stream and, Vimes seemed to recall from the deeds, a pub. Vimes knew how you could own a pub but he wondered how you could own a trout stream because, if that was your bit, it had already gurgled off downstream while you were watching it, yes? That meant somebody else was now fishing in your water, the bastard! And the bit in front of you now had recently belonged to the bloke upstream; that bloated plutocrat of a fat neighbor now probably considered you some kind of poacher, that other bastard! And the fish swam everywhere, didn’t they? How did you know which ones were yours? Perhaps they were branded—that sounded very countryside to Vimes. To be in the countryside you had to be permanently on the defensive; quite the opposite of the city."
"I understand her ladyship is somewhat vexed about the goblin situation, sir. I believe this to be the case, sir, because I met her in the corridor earlier and she used language I haven’t heard on the lips of a woman since my old mother passed away, gods bless her soul, if they can find it."
"Vimes woke in damp and utter darkness with sand under his cheek. Some parts of his body reported for duty, others protested that they had a note from their mother."

Deft sketches:
"“This is a city of beggars and thieves, Drumknott, is it not? I pride myself that we have some of the most skilled. In fact, if there were such a thing as an inter-city thieving contest, Ankh-Morpork would bring home the trophy and probably everyone’s wallets."
One of the first to let themselves spread had been Harry King, now, of course, known as Sir Harold King. He was a scallywag, a chancer, a ruthless fighter and a dangerous driver of bargains over the speed limit. Since all this was a bit of a mouthful, he was referred to as a successful businessman, since that more or less amounted to the same thing. And he had the knack of turning rubbish into money."

Of the high and low:
"“So Sybil’s ancestors used to come along and talk to the hermit whenever they were faced with a philosophical conundrum, yes?” Willikins looked puzzled. “Good heavens, no, sir, I can’t imagine that any of them would ever dream of doing that. They never had any truck with philosophical conundra. They were aristocrats, you see? Aristocrats don’t notice philosophical conundra. They just ignore them. Philosophy includes contemplating the possibility that you might be wrong, sir, and a real aristocrat knows that he is always right. It’s not vanity, you understand, it’s built-in absolute certainty."
"“Look, sir,” said Willikins, almost pleading. “Just occasionally we have to follow some rules. So, on this occasion I won’t drink with you, it not being Hogswatch or the birth of an heir, which are accounted for under the rules, but instead I’ll follow the acceptable alternative, which is to wait until you’ve gone to bed and drink half the bottle.”"
"I understand from her ladyship that you might be requiring my assistance tonight?” “Yes, please. We’re going to the village of Hangnails. It’s about twenty miles upriver.” Willikins nodded. “Yes indeed, sir, once the seat of the Hangnail family and most notably of Lord Justice Hangnail, who famously declared that he never took account of any plea of not guilty on the basis that ‘criminals always lie’ and was, by happy chance, the Worshipful Master of the Benevolent Company of Rope Makers and Braiders. With any luck, we’ll not see his like again.”"

Police perspective:
"And yet something inside him exulted and cried Hallelujah!, because here was a corpse and he was a copper and this was a crime and this place was smoky and dirty and full of suspicious-looking goblins and here was a crime. His world. Yes, here was his world."

The consequences of prejudice:
"…and she thought: and so one at a time we all become human—human werewolves, human dwarfs, human trolls . . .the melting pot melts in one direction only, and so we make progress."
"“I don’t know who those people were who killed the goblins and beat my mother, but if I ever found out I would slaughter them without a thought, because good people have no business being so bad. Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."

Country life:
"She had instructed him to leave the window open to get some allegedly glorious fresh air, and Vimes lay there miserably, straining his ears for the reassuring noises of a drunk going home, or arguing with the sedan-chair owner about the vomit on the cushions, and the occasional street fight, domestic disturbance or even piercing scream, all punctuated at intervals by the chiming of the city clocks, no two of which, famously, ever agreed; and the more subtle sounds, like the rumble of the honey wagons"
"Lad, I’d rather ride a pig than a horse, if it’s all the same to you? I mean, pigs just run along, but horses? Most of the time I’ve got nothing against horses, and then I come down very firmly against horses, and then I’m shot up in the air again so that once more I have nothing against horses, but I know that in half a second the whole damn thing starts again,"

Profile Image for Marian Allen.
Author 53 books94 followers
April 9, 2012
Every author has the right to produce the book he or she has inside. It doesn't have to meet reader expectations or desires. What disappoints one reader will delight another. The only responsibility a writer has is to the work.

Other Terry Pratchett fans have told me that SNUFF is wonderful; they loved it.

I can't argue with that. All I can say is, if the rating is based on whether or not I, me, myself liked the book, the answer is no. I didn't.

Is Pratchett's signature sideways humor almost totally missing from this book, or am I so used to it, it doesn't strike me sideways anymore? Is he writing (perhaps understandably) darker these days?

I used to read Pratchett for escape. SNUFF is dark enough to be a news broadcast.

Mr. Pratchett doesn't owe me a vacation. I'm not claiming that he does. This book might be your cup of tea. It wasn't mine.
Profile Image for Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*.
757 reviews120 followers
September 8, 2022
Oof. The embuggerance continues. This is the second of Pratchett's three Discworld novels for "adults" written and published after his diagnosis of posterior cortical atrophy, and I'm sorry to discover that he was unable to overcome the hardship that beset Unseen Academicals. Snuff isn't outright terrible, but it's such a far cry from his earlier work that it's heartbreaking. Essentially a direct sequel to Thud! in its Vimesness, and continuing the development of goblins' place in the Discworld after one's feature appearance in Unseen Academicals, it moves Disc culture forward in its typical manner, skewering racial injustice and slavery, but with such a sloppy story structure that it's hard to defend it.

It has good moments, but no great ones. The intention is clear, but the book wanders in circles for far too long, fails to develop a worthy villain, and all too often resorts to an unfortunate one-note joke about (the Disc's equivalent of) Vietnamese food (and also Eastern martial arts?) with names like "Man Dog Suck Po".

There was a good 100-page run leading up to the climax of a riverboat chase, almost worthy of The French Connection, but otherwise, unfortunately, this book suffered like our beloved Sir Terry at the time.
Profile Image for Christine.
6,530 reviews469 followers
October 16, 2011
Terry Pratchett is, perhaps, the world's best humanist. Terry Pratchett should also win the Nobel and Booker prizes, but odds are, he never will.

But at least, the Queen as knighted him.

Snuff is Pratchett's latest novel, an installment in the Discworld, and features Sam Vimes, Pratchett's everyman copper hero and one of his alter-egos. Forced to go on vaccation at his wife's estate, Sam discovers there has been a murder.

And any follower of the Discworld knows what that means.

Snuff is more in the tradition of Small Gods and Night Watch. In other words, it is a more serious Discworld novel with the message heavily at the forefront. It is also a darker Discworld novel and far better than Small Gods.

Like all Discworld works, Pratchett refers to other standards of literautre - (Mr Pratchett, Sir Terry, I'm really sorry, but I do think some of what you write is literature) - in particular Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park, but being Pratchett he puts his own twists on things.

Oh, and besides the murder, Vimes (calling him Sam just feels wrong) has to deal with son, Young Sam, who is in the poo stage of life - and he really wants elephant poo because it goes dung.

Pratchett's genius, his absolutely bloody genius, is his ability to deal not only in the commonplace but to make it's absurdities magical and to do so in such a way that as you are cracking up you are nodding your head.

In many ways, Pratchett's characters are the most refreshing normal characters you will ever meet, even if they include a werewolf and a hero who thinks he is a dwarf. They are human, with the possible exceptation of Nobby. Vimes, for instance, is a carinig husband and father, and it is so nice to see a police officer or any central character for that matter, have one. Sybil has a large support role, and it is always nice to see Sybil and Sam work together.

It's true that the pacing is a little slow in the beginning and towards the end. Yet in some ways, the story seems to call for that (like say the ending of The Return of the King).

Let me say, in this pre-presidential year, Ventarai for President. VP could be Vimes or Sybil. Wilkins could be head of the CIA, FBI, and Secret Service. He is so efficient.

This book is a fine journey, a look at humanity with a well loved author and the friends that he has gifted the world with. If you haven't visited any of Pratchett's books, go and visit them now.

That's a command.

Mr, Sir, Pratchett, I'm not on the Booker or Nobel comittees. I don't have enough money to start a real prize. I, however, hereby award you the Lifetime Achivement Award for Writing also known as The Golden Banana Daiquiri.
Profile Image for YouKneeK.
634 reviews73 followers
May 12, 2017
Snuff was the 8th and final novel in the Watch subseries of Discworld. Vimes reluctantly goes off on a “vacation” to the country with his family. His impressions of the country, having spent all his life in the city of Ankh-Morpork, are amusing, and naturally he manages to find a mystery to solve which leads to very little relaxation.

I enjoyed the book, but I had hoped it might be more of an ensemble story. This was mostly a Vimes story and there was very, very little page time given to the other members of the Watch or any of the other Ankh-Morpork characters. It was still entertaining though, and it made a couple of boring flights seem to pass more quickly.
Profile Image for Hirondelle.
829 reviews179 followers
June 11, 2022
Sam Vimes, now incredibly over-powerful (supernaturally, monetarily and politically) goes spend a "holiday" with Sybil at her (his, now actually) country stately home and there is crime and many many sermons.

Review kind of in progress, I want to note down thoughts while I remember the details, but I also do not particularly want to write about how much I hate this book. And I hated it. I was going to read it sooner or later anyway though.

This is the last, and 8th, City Watch book by Terry Pratchett. I knew that and had been avoiding reading it since it was published, I am not really sure why, saving it as a treat, or being afraid of disappointment (Thud! did not work for me) or perhaps I was afraid it would upset me again about the total and complete unfairness of his illness - in 2007 he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's and died, much too young, in 2015. This book was published 2011 and it was pretty clear it would be the last song for the City Watch.

Reading it now, a decade after publication and in a row of a reread of the City Watch books, trying to take this book for itself, it is quite bad and very different from peak Pratchett. I was always going to read it, sooner or later, would not resist checking for myself, but it is much different from the early and middle career Pratchett books that made me a fan.

Sam Vimes is now totally over powerful. Sybil is perfect (though throughout the series there is never been any authorial commentary on her decision to just give away all her money to her husband!), the very british-like class structures are despite some superficial rants seen as structurally sound (this makes no sense to me, honestly). Young Sam is the most nauseating one dimensionally precocious, twee, adored by all that meet him, his genius recognized by all child character I ever read about (and I have actually read Little Lord Fauntleroy. Young Sam is much worse).

There is a lot on genocide and transportation, but to make sure we get how wrong it all is, we get to relate to the species suffering it, after meeting adorable well integrated young girls who are supernaturally talented at music, just to make sure we get how wrong wrong it all is (if they had no talents, would the reader be trusted to get how bad it all is? It is like the author is not sure), speeches by many, stupid river boat chases, people seem to know things and then not really know them (like Cheery about the pots). There is a completely random Jane Austen reference which does not even fit the mood or plot, whatever that is.

And Sam Vimes has gone all Dirty Harry crossed with The Dark Knight, he bullies people throughout throwing his money (which he accepted from his wife and nobody in the series ever seriously thinks that is a bad idea!) and his status around while double standards abound. He seriously sermonizes "Little crimes breeding big crimes. You smile at little crimes and then big crimes blow your head off" some paragraphs after pocketing cigars for his own use and when Colon and Nobbs have been part of the City Watch and not changing for 8 books!

I never thought I was going to rate this 1 star, but here we go. In case this is somebody's first, or one of the first Pratchett books this is very atypical.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,331 reviews451 followers
September 22, 2017
There are so many levels upon which to enjoy a Pratchett book. There is the everyday functioning of a marriage; the rearing of a child, and the uneasy balance between encouragement and disgust that sometimes entails, as when young Sam becomes engrossed in the study of poo of many animals. Here we also have the tiniest of crimes and the greatest, although interestingly, the greatest is an individual murder, not genocide of a species. One thing I particularly liked: Vimes never loses track of just how culpable the many players are, most especially not the bystanders who turned away.

Pratchett never stops questioning what makes a human. I love that.

Library copy
Profile Image for Gerhard.
1,030 reviews503 followers
January 13, 2012
Superb. As funny and as trenchant as ever, with the Summoning Dark lurking in the background. Pratchett's take on xenophobia and noblesse oblige are strikingly topical. The broad gag about the Wonderful Fanny is one of Pratchett's most inspired, and culminates in one of the greatest scenes between Vetinari and Vimes ever in this joyous, ribald and thoroughly humane sequence. Long live Ankh-Morpork!
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