Review: Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Believe it. That was the way. Never stop believing. Fool the eye, fool the brain.

Welcome back to the Discworld Project. Prepare yourself for the new marvel of the Disc! Lights! Imps! Red carpets and banged grains. Today fellow readers, in the town of Holy Wood, film has come to the Disc.

The alchemists of the Discworld have discovered the magic of the silver screen. But what is the dark secret of Holy Wood hill?

It’s up to Victor Tugelbend (‘Can’t sing. Can’t dance. Can handle a sword a little’) and Theda Withel (‘I come from a little town you’ve probably never heard of’) to find out…

This was a surprising turn for the series that resulted in a fun story while also being very enjoyable. This is book 10 in the series publishing continuity and continues to add more characters to the world but is definitely better at connecting the ones we have already met.

I think the main reason I enjoyed this was the weird unusual thread of the story. It follows the usual Discworld formula in places, being based in Ankh Morpork and the introduction of some new characters being pulled into some ridiculous amount of mayhem usually linked to something magical or otherworldly. This one, felt a little the story was far more solid and that the world is better established in this book. I still can’t be quite sure if that is due to the fact that I am invested in the series now but something felt unusual.

In case you didn’t guess from the synopsis and my witty intro (ha), this sees the introduction of film to the Discworld and the disasters that would come from that. Something I really loved was that the way the alchemists develop how to make ‘clicks’ is a direct call back to The Colour of Magic. I know this is something small but I have often wondered about technology in Discworld and seeing it again is fun. The equivalent of popcorn is named appropriately too.

I think as well this is the first book where I felt the wealth of characters was explored really well. We don’t just get to see the witches, or just get to see the wizards. Holy Wood being what it is draws Trolls, talking dogs and would be wizards like our main character Victor. There is also the eventual return of a race of characters we have seen before towards the end, and of course the always welcome return of Death, the Librarian and a hilarious plot involving the wizards at the university.

I do think that Victor was a little weak, especially alongside Ginger and Throat. Seeing Throat reappear in a more vital role in the plot was brilliant and felt true to his constantly changing nature, but I still felt Victor was left a little underdeveloped compared to other main characters I’ve met so far. Gaspode the Wonder Dog is a true standout though.

I did still really enjoy this, I flew through it which is always great for immersion with a story like this and it is always a great experience reading any Pratchett book. The next book will be Reaper Man so that is one I am looking forward to. Happy reading folks!

★★★★/5

Review: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

“Never build a dungeon you wouldn’t be happy to spend the night in yourself. The world would be a happier place if more people remembered that.”

Welcome back to the Disc! So I’ve not posted much this month outside of reviews of Terry Pratchett books but this is the joy I need in my life right now. This book has so far been my favourite book of the month. I will admit I have been gearing up to this one for some time and I was slightly intimidated since this is up there with Mort for many readers of Discworld. Now I’ve read it, I understand. Bear in mind, my review might not do this justice.

This is where the dragons went. They lie … not dead, not asleep, but … dormant. And although the space they occupy isn’t like normal space, nevertheless they are packed in tightly. They could put you in mind of a can of sardines, if you thought sardines were huge and scaly. And presumably, somewhere, there’s a key…GUARDS! GUARDS! is the eighth Discworld novel – and after this, dragons will never be the same again!

Like I said, I’ve been leading up to this for a while. It was worth the wait. Everything about this captured my heart and made me happier with every word I read of it, Pratchett shines at his brightest here. Its definitely a book you can tell he enjoyed writing and that this is a sharp turn for the series with both characters and plot. There is also clear development at this stage of his writing with this being the longest book so far but definitely one of the most concise too.

Ankh Morpork. Biggest city on the Disc with the biggest stink, with a City Watch to monitor its self regulated crime of the Guilds. The Thieve’s Guild and the Assassins Guild stand out the most, the former providing a receipt upon delivering services of course. The Watch is kind of forgotten except for tolling bells in the night claiming all is well. There was a tiny glimpse of the assassins in Pyramids and even smaller a glimpse here but its exciting to finally be seeing them!

Seeing the city life up this close is everything I love to see in a fantasy series. I always have this question for any SFF world in my head which is, what is the mundane here? What is an every day in this place? Often I never get to find out. But here I did. Pratchett has really achieved a phenomenal level of ordinary is such an extraordinary place and it works to focus our characters far more through a very new lens.

It would be impossible as always to talk about Discworld without having the characters at the heart of the discussion. We meet old characters but mostly this is an entirely new cast. The Watch itself consists of Nobby Nobbs, Fred Colon, new recruit Carrot Ironfoundersson and of course their inebriated leader, Captain Sam Vimes. I could so a post on each of the watch individually and why I would die for each one (maybe except Nobby) but let it be known that I have joined the many fans who caused Pratchett to fear what would happen to him if he had ever killed Sam Vimes.

Thee are dragons here too don’t forget. Dragons. Why would I not love this book? The story itself is woven around the basic idea that someone is summoning dragons, the Watch can see the dragons but noone believes them. It follows a very similar plot to most police procedural shows but it is not the same. Because this is the Discworld and nothing you know is sacred.

Alongside the razor sharp story there is some wonderful character arcs and development, especially present in Vimes and Carrot, that clearly shows that this series might have a great sense of humor to it but it is also capable of delivering on some very deep and emotional moments from characters we have just met. I can’t wait to get to the next Watch story.

Well I have been around the Discworld project a lot more recently! I think besides having no blog tours and being in big time isolation mode, I feel a lot more drawn to this series for sheer immersion. Let it be said Terry Pratchett is one of the authors I will always turn to.

Are you a die hard fan of the Watch? Have you read Guards! Guards!? Do tell me! Happy reading everyone!

★★★★★/5

Review: Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

‘Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn’t believing. It’s where belief stops, because it isn’t needed any more.’

Welcome back to the Disc! Today we will be taking a journey through the Valley of the Djel in the country of Djelibeybi. A world of ancient pyramids, over zealous priests and the ever pressing question of what Handmaidens actually do awaits you as we follow a new character we have not yet met in the Discworld.

Pteppic has just graduated from the Guild of Assassins. With the ink still wet on his certificate, he feels himself drawn back to the kingdom of Djelibeybi after the death of his father, the Pharaoh. But Pteppic soon realises that running a kingdom isn’t always down to the king. Contested with the ancient attitudes of his High Priest Dios, Pteppic will soon realise why things haven’t changed around here for a while.

Out of all the Discworld books I have read so far, this one has to be my least favourite. This is definitely one of the weaker books in the series. While it is still an enjoyable read with the usual wit and fantastic character moments from Pratchett, I kind of was feeling very meh until the final act really kicked off which I find I always enjoy in this series.

The plot is what is the biggest let down here definitely. We have the beginning which is really interesting since we finally get see some guild stuff up close, then Pteppic leaves Ankh Morpork and then it stops. For ages. Then it picks up again with a conflict arising at last, dies again for a while and then ends on a great climactic event. It does wrap up quite well but I can see why this one is very rarely talked about.

Pteppic on the other hand is a joyful addition to the cast of characters so far. Sent to Ankh to be trained and arriving back at his home an outsider once again. Something that Pratchett does achieve here is that struggle within Pteppic of where exactly he fits in with everything. There is a real sense of inner conflict here and we really get to see Pteppic grow into his own person while also accepting his own role in the Discworld and not just Djelibeybi.

I’m not sure in terms of the Discworld how often Pteppic will pop up again if he ever will. From the reading order I have looked over, this book exists with Small Gods within a smaller section of the ancient civilizations of the Disc overall. I did highly enjoy a little view into the Assassins Guild and Pteppic’s development overall but this wasn’t as much of an impact on me as Mort or any of the witches novels.

I think I am finally making some progress here. I have no blog tours over the coming months since i am still settling in at a new job and I’m trying to get back to exercise while also not getting infected. But this marks the seventh novel in the series publication order and I hope to get to at least tenth by the time this month is over.

★★★/5

Review: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

‘We weren’t invited. People don’t have to invite witches, they just know we’ll turn up if we want to.’

Good evening fellow readers and welcome back to the Disc! Today in the Discworld Project we will have witches, a murder most foul (that didn’t happen) and the return of my favourite Discworld matriarch, Granny Weatherwax.

All in one night in the kingdom of Lancre high in the Ramtops, three witches gather on the moors (quite to the confusion of one Esme Weatherwax), a king is brutally killed and a child is stolen away to return when the time is right. When the witches are drawn into this brutally ambitious plot and forced to meddle, which is not a witches business, it is down to Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Margarat Garlick and a ghost or two to save the Kingdom.

I think it’s clear to everyone now that I love the Discworld and most of all I love the witches. This book pulled in many elements of Macbeth, Hamlet and most of all Pratchett’s wonderful storytelling. I thought I would enjoy this one the most so far out of all the books but this one fell a little flatter than usual for me. I did however still have a great time reading it.

We get to head back to the Ramtops, last seen in ‘Equal Rites’ in the village of Bad Ass. We also finally get tot meet more of the neigmatic witches of the Disc. Adding to the cast is Nanny Ogg, the opposite of Granny with her many partners, children and grandchildren who loves a drink. We also meet Margrat Garlick for the first time, the youngest of the witches with her own ideas of covens and wearing occult jewellery.

Seeing the witches together on the page was honestly the best part of this book for me. The sheer contrast of Granny and Nanny makes you even wonder how they are friends in the first place. Granny is very clearly in charge of the situation however, Nanny being more of a family orientated witch. There is even a distinct comment about Granny’s leadership within all the witches’ circles;

Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have.

I was delighted to have finally come across Nanny Ogg and Magrat. There was also the cameos of other Discworld’s greatest, Death and the Librarian included. Pratchett’s characters will always have very important places in my hearts and as usual, the humor and banter between them all had me overjoyed at every stage of the book.

The plot this time for me felt a little bit weaker than usual, especially for a story about the witches. The pacing seems to be the issue more than the actual plot itself. Like i said earlier there is a strong satire of plays like Macbeth and Hamlet. This is actually half the fun of the plot, especially when a drama group arrives towards the end of the book, but there is a stage the book got to at about half way into the book and it felt like this was the climax. It threw me off slightly and kind of messed with he pacing overall.

This being said you can still see the growth of the Discworld as well as Pratchett’s writing. The plot as always is tidied up and brought together very well at the end of the book. I was very happy seeing Granny again in particular and look forward to my next outing on the Disc.

Have you read this book? I am now 7 books in to the Discworld series and I’m still really enjoying myself. I recently watched the Back in Black documentary again and was left an emotional wreck. I also got an exciting email this week about my DVD of ‘Troll Bridge’ that I backed in August. Up next, ‘Pyramids’!

★★★.75/5 (Constantly struggling with 4 or 3 for this one!)

Sourcery- Terry Pratchett Review

‘ Rincewind rather enjoyed times like this. They convinced him that he wasn’t mad because, if he was mad, that left no word at all to describe some of the people he met.’

Welcome back to my holiday on The Disc! I am very sorry for the lack of updates to the Discworld Project. It has been busy down here on the Hub and boy is it good to be back at the Unseen University with the smell of the Ankh. Oh wait, is that smell you?

This is the fifth book in the publication order of the Discworld novels. This is the third novel following the failed wizard, Rincewind and the happenings at the Unseen University. The unthinkable has happened. A wizard, an eighth son of an eighth son, has had another son. His eighth son. He cannot be a wizard. He is a Sourcerer. And he is coming to the university. Do I want to be left alone? Yes. Do I want a sentient trunk that follows me on many legs and eats crisps?Definitely.

The wit as always within Pratchett’s writing is consistently satirical without being pompous. As often quoted by Neil Gaiman when asked about Pratchett, the opposite of funny isn’t serious. It’s just something not being funny. While Discworld relies heavily on humor for its tone and consistence it never fails to be intimate and heartwarming. I honestly needed to read this book at this very moment in time to help make my current situation more bearable.

I listened to this on audio and it was narrated than none other than Baldrick himself, Tony Robinson of Time Team and Blackadder fame. I have often said that the only voice I hear for Rincewind is that of Eric Idle but now it will always be Robinson. Not only does he voice Rincewind to perfection he manages the cast of characters with a fantastic flourish and each is distinct from the other.

In this adventure we meet our recurring and welcome characters such as Death, Luggage and the Librarian. We also get to meet some even more memorable characters such as Conina the Hairdresser, daughter of the famous Cohen, Nijel the eventual barbarian and so much more. I loved listening to each voice they were given by Robinson. Each characters was literally in my head, walking around and trying to drag me on their adventure.

I only have one small critique in with this particular story. The pot jumped from one particular point I was highly enjoying to the climactic drama very quickly. I do feel that is going to be a feature of all the Rincewind books but this one it didn’t work as well as it did in say, ‘The Light Fantastic’, which never stopped once to breathe because something was happening and we had to go there. I feel because this one starts in a more mundane situation that the jump takes a way a small bit from Pratchett’s usually decent pacing.

However in saying all that I deeply enjoyed this book. I have been putting off coming back to the Disc for too long, this was a necessary change and I chose the audio because I was so busy which worked out even better since the audio for this particular story is totally flawless.

Thank you as always for reading, do tell me if you have read this book in the series and what flavour crisps you think the Luggage would prefer.

★★★★.5/5

Troll Bridge (2019)- Experiencing Discworld at World Con

‘HIT ME YOU BASTARD!’

Welcome back to the Disc! This is my first time discussing a movie on my blog and it seems fitting for me to literally bring you to the actual Discworld.

As many of you may know, I attended Worldcon in Dublin this year, had the best time and honestly I’ve been waiting to finally write this post. One of my main highlights of the entire week was the premiere of ‘Troll Bridge’, a film directed by Daniel Knight and Snowgum films that adapts the Discworld short story of the same name into a short film. I’m sorry what? How did I not know about this already? I fucking ran to the screening. I swear.

‘Troll Bridge'(based on the short story of the same name) follows Discworld hero, Cohen the Barbarian. He is now 87 and he is angry. Angry he hasn’t died in battle yet. Angry that he can’t pee like he used to. Angry that his horse can talk. Now as a final act of bravery as his father advised him when he was young, he’s heading to a bridge and he’s gonna kill it’s Troll.

Honestly, I was on the edge of crying watching this. Everything about this is wonderful and crafted so perfectly. The make up, the acting, the special effects. The trolls, oh my god the trolls! It’s honestly a flawless adaptation. The casting of Don Bridges as Cohen is wonderful, I never could put a voice to Cohen while reading ‘The Light Fantastic’ but now I can hear Bridges’ voice screaming in my head ‘HIT ME YOU BASTARD!’

‘Troll Bridge’ is an example of why book adaptations of beloved series need to be placed in the right hands. It not only comes down to production and acting but the rewriting of the story and putting it to a visual medium can’t be done right unless those making it give an honest shit about the material. Daniel Knight cares about this story very deeply. It’s very easy to see that this entire work is one big passion project. Snowgum films have spent over 9 years trying to make this the most ambitious short film ever made and they have indeed succeeded.

The film is currently travelling a festival circuit, screenings and any other information can be found here, including info about the delicious pre order (I may have pledged) for the Blu Ray. Please check them out, also please read Discworld books so more of these lovely films can be made. Terry Pratchett would be proud.

Mort- Terry Pratchett Review

“If there’s one thing that really annoys a god, it’s not knowing something.”

Welcome back to my holiday on the Disc! This is my latest post in my Discworld Project. If you aren’t aware of this project you can click here . I recently got back on track with the publication continuity of the series and Mort is my most recent read. Now, its my favourite.

In this book we meet Mort (short for Mortimer), a young, awkward lad from the Ramtops. Mort is looking for work and when his father gains him an apprenticeship he is finally employed. Does it matter that his employer is Death himself? The actual Grim Reaper? Not at all, its quite a noble position. Prospects, uniform and a company horse. Soon enough Mort discovers there is more to Death than life, where to keep a Scythe when indoors and why working for Death can affect his love life.

I was really looking forward to reading this and I was not disappointed. This is the shining star of the Discworld series so far and I enjoyed it even more than the last one I read. This is the beginning of the Death novels, a character we have already been introduced to in the previous books but we do get his perspective in this.

This is obviously set on the Disc and we do see previous locations such as Ankh Morpork and the Unseen University but a good chunk of the novel takes place within Deaths Domain. We get to see the realm through the eye of Mort, a human like (the majority at least) of us readers who is understandably scared yet fascinated. The descriptions of the rooms, particularly Death’s study, is wonderfully gothic and has traits one would assume from Death (skull and crossed scythe motifs along with black grass included). It also thrills me that Death puts his scythe in an umbrella stand when not in use.

Mort is a very entertaining character to read. Although his is young he very much knows his own mind and isn’t afraid to speak up, correcting people who call him ‘boy’ instead of using his name for example. Death is as intimidating to Mort as he is as a figure to us and most of the questions anyone would living would ask Death do get brought up by Mort frequently. Mort isn’t afraid to challenge Death and Death begins to allow himself to learn more about humanity. Their dynamic is one that is rewarding while also being entertaining. The humor is a strong motif as ever especially between characters but this one is definitely more emotional than previous books. I definitely had feels while reading this but then again, I am emotional with many books. Also big plus that Death loves cats.

The story flows so well, switching mostly between Mort and Death’s perspectives as they both travel around the Disc and learn more about life. Mort mostly about taking it away and Death just basically having some to himself. The climax of the narrative is very satisfying while also doing a brilliant job of pulling all the different smaller strands of plot together. This is where I really love Pratchett outside of characters and dialogue. There is never any room to be bored and every single novel wraps up really well without all having similar plot beats to the last book in the series.

This is another ideal starting point for those who want to start their own journey to the Disc. Death is my new favourite character. He loves cats, trying different drinks and loves a good curry. His library is filled with stories that write themselves and if its one trope I never get tired of is the Death learns to be human trope. Please try this if you have never read Terry Pratchett, you won’t be disappointed.

★★★★★/5 

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents- Terry Pratchett

“To be a leader you have to learn to shout! But after you’ve learned to shout, you have to learn not to!”

Welcome back to the Disc! My apologies for the lack of posts. I had World Con last week, went back to work and now I’m out sick for five days with no voice. This is my next book in the Discworld Project. I am still intending to read the series in publication order but this one was a bit too special to delay and is one of the few YA novels within the world .

Here we meet the Amazing Maurice. Maurice is a cat who has gained sentience and employs a group of fellow sentient rats. Along with the cat and the rats we have Keith, an orphan who plays the flute. Maurice, the rats and Keith go from town to town running the same scheme: rats arrive, boy plays flute, boy and cat chase away rats, boy collects money from grateful villagers. Then comes their arrival in the village of Bad Blintz. Something is wrong, and now Maurice’s scheme needs to become a plan. A plan for survival.

This was a joy to read and a nice change to the Discworld continuity that I am currently following. This was the first of the Discworld books to be written for younger readers and I was concerned that it may water down the usual strength of the other books but thankfully I was proven wrong. This is a remarkable story and is just as enjoyable being read by an adult. (Yes. Sadly I count as an adult)

The world building isn’t something that we need to discuss but as always, it’s nice to see another new part of the Disc. Bad Blintz reads like an old English village that has yet to discover the world outside it’s confines. Although it is a very typical fantasy trope/location, Pratchett still makes it work as a point of satire.

The characters are the true standout of this book. Maurice, a ginger street cat, is our main POV but we do move between Keith, some of the rats and an unnamed narrator we come to discover later on. Maurice is definitely my favourite, filled with all the sassiness of any cat but despite his crookster persona he has genuine moments of caring and nature throughout the story. One of my favourite aspects of the rats is how they have named themselves (Dangerous Beans, Nourishing and Sardines to name a few) and how they are adjusting to their new found conciousness. It makes for some brilliant dialogue, which is one of Pratchett’s true talents. We also meet the village girl of Malicia. Malicia loves fairy tales, wears black and never shuts up. I think I may have been Malicia at a younger age.

The plot flows very freely aswell, making for a quick and fluid story. At the stage of this novel being published there were 27 in the Discworld so I feel that compared to some of the other ones I have read so far that you can see how Pratchett has developed. Not only Pratchett but the whole of the Discworld series at this point of publication, had developed to a fantasy favourite with a dedicated fanbase.

This is a good fun read that is easy to get through and is a perfect stepping stone (as a lot of the novels are) on to the Discworld but even if you just want to read this as a standalone work you can. However, I have a new found phobia over this book, and a comment from Pratchett in the acknowledgements. That’s all I can say.

★★★★/5

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

‘ ‘And they do say the p-pen is mightier than the sss-
‘-sword,’ said Esk ‘All right, but which would you rather be hit with?’ ‘

Welcome back to the Discworld! This is part of my return to the Disc to finally finish the series so I am very excited to review this to begin the entire journey here on the blog.

The eighth son of an eighth son is a powerful thing living on the Disc. The eight son of an eighth son is destined to be a wizard, but what if that eighth son is not a son? Meet Eskarina Smith! She is going to be the first lady Wizard, but women can’t be wizards can they?

This book got off to a slower start than the previous two books in the series but has quickly become my favourite. In terms of worldbuilding, the groundwork has already been laid in the previous novels, namely A’tuin and the Disc but Esk’s (Eskarina) home is in a new part we have yet to see. Esk lives in the town of Badass (haw) in the Ramtops. The Ramtops are the mountains, 500 miles Hubwards of the city of Ankh-Morpork which is the main setting for many of the Discworld novels. It was very entertaining to see that small village mentality in action and under the hand of Pratchett.

The plot itself is pretty well contained and follows the journey of Esk and Granny Weatherwax as they make their way to Unseen University so Esk can be trained as a wizard. It does have a slower build up to the climax and it speeds up very suddenly when it does arrive. This didn’t really impact my enjoyment much but it did make it seem a bit like it was slogging in places but it still works perfectly for a Discworld novel.

At last, the characters are WONDERFUL. We meet our first witch on the Disc, Granny Weatherwax. Granny is honestly my favourite character in the story, I love Esk too but I really loved the way Granny was written. She is the resident witch of Bad Ass and when she takes Esk in she struggles with how to navigate dealing with someone Esk’s age (she is nine years old). Esk is the kind of little girl we all wished we could be, taken in by a witch with a big set of powers passed on to her and a bigger undertaking for being the first girl to enter the Unseen University. Granny and Esk develop a close bond as the novel progresses and its honestly heartwarming. We do meet other characters at the University but since this is a story focusing on feminism and women most of all I feel that Granny and Esk stand out in a way they are supposed to.

This is not a perfect book by any means but it still has all the elements of Discworld that I fell in love with in the first place and it further expands the world for us. The wit is razor sharp, the characters fall out of the book and on to your desk while you’re eating your lunch and we continue to learn more of the ways of this world. This was only the third book in the series aswell so I think it’s only fair to give Pratchett the benefit of the doubt on this one.

★★★★/5

My holiday on The Disc; Rereading and Finshing Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

Sir Terry Pratchett died in 2015 from early-onset Alzeimers and issues associated with the illness. What he left behind was a legacy stretching across the decades that included humor in fantasy, wonderful characters and a dedicated fan base who loved Terry as much as his memorable world of the Discworld.

I first discovered Terry Pratchett when I read ‘Good Omens, during the Christmas of 2011. I had just began my first year of art college and felt a little lost in life in general. ‘Good Omens’ was the lift I needed. I actually didn’t begin reading Discworld until the year Practhett died meaning I read the first three in quick succession. Life however got in my way and despite collecting them still I’ve only just recently returned to the world.

If you are not aware of Discworld, it is a long sprawling fantasy series that all takes place in the one world. This world is a flat disc, that rests on the back of four elephants that are on the back of a giant turtle floating through space. The turtle is called Great A’tuin, gender and journey unknown (to me, currently). The series can be read chronologically or by series, reading guides can be found online by people better at this stuff than I. The book focuses on characters and interloping storylines and often offer a humourous view of fantasy tropes.

So this is my Return to the Disc. And I recently started this journey by reading both the graphic novel adaptations of both the first books, ‘The Colour of Magic’ and ‘The Light Fantastic’. I used it as a quick refresher and also because I love comparing graphic adaptations of my favourite books.

After reading this I’ve moved on to the next book chronologically in the series, ‘Equal Rites’ which is the first in the Witches series. So it seems only natural to me to follow chronological order for my journey across the Disc. I finished ‘Equal Rites’ this weekend and will have a review posted shortly. This is a small project which will probably be long to complete but I am so excited. Keep an eye on my instagram and my new weekly reading report for updates! Feel free to join, share and discuss with me!