Review: Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.

Welcome back to the Discworld everyone and here we are again at Unseen University and the realm of Death. Wizards meet death personally when they die don’t they? Don’t they??

DEATH IS MISSING – PRESUMED . . . ER . . . GONE.

Which leads to the kind of chaos you always get when an important public service is withdrawn. Meanwhile, on a little farm far, far away, a tall, dark stranger is turning out to be really good with a scythe. There’s a harvest to be gathered in…

I think at this stage it would be easier to give me a non Death centric book from the Discworld series to see if I would like it. I really started out not enjoying this as much as I expected but I was very quickly reminded that this was a Death book and therefore my heart was about to be broken.

Starting with the world building, we are right back at the familiar haunts of Ankh Morpork, Unseen University and a mild stop in Death’s realm. As usual, the city is consistently chaotic and brutal. One thing that I was pushed to understand at first was what exactly the disaster was or might be that was coming to mess up the city this time and how exactly it tied in to what was happening between death and the Wizard story line (i’ll get t that in a sec).

I know that a mystery is obviously necessary for the plot and we aren’t supposed to know everything or that would kill the reveal. But I think anyone who has read this will know what I mean here. It was hard to tie how this thing represented itself and how it could possibly tie in with the other chaos where in the last few books it was becoming clear after a bit where these events are linked to each other.

That being said however, this is a character book more than anything. There are two main perspectives here, Death of course but also Windle Poons the old wizard that I have often pointed out has the perfect name for a cat. That was something that I wasn’t set up for so I felt very much like I was lacking on the Death content when I first started reading.

However old Poons does grow on you very quickly and by the end of the book I was VERY attached to him and his heroics and struggles. There is a definite question and reality of getting old and how that takes away from your own capabilities. Also how it really causes people to treat you and even Poons himself really sees how the other Wizards just considered him a chore or a object really. I can name on one hand the amount of SFF books that do things like this with aging and one is a short story, the other a book by Stephen King. This was a welcome plot and Poons really got his moment to shine.

Death of course. This isn’t a review of a Discworld novel without and the tears. This book really confronts Death with mortality and how he is changing as a result of humanity. There is a distinct feel of him becoming more in touch with humans and our needs and feelings when he is presented with his own possibility of living and dying after that life is gone. Pratchett really went to lengths here to make this story as powerful as it is heartbreaking. Death’s relationship with Miss Flitworth is definitely the best part and had me crying a lot. His relationship all be in brief on the page with Sal, the little girl who can see him, as well was wonderful.

This story is excellent with some very deep questions and characters that are hard not to become closer to.Again, I would only draw criticism to the confusing delivery of the entity that is causing chaos here and the fact this should be marketed as both Windle Poons’ story and Death’s so at least expectations don’t cause someone to give up on this very great story.

Thank you so much to anyone who is following along my Discwild jurney at this point. After a year I thought I would be way further into this series but then I realise there are 40 books and I had life, blog tours and other related phenomena along the way. I might do a wee check in post to track my current progress and see how I am doing. As usual from me, happy reading to you all!

★★★★/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