Book Review – Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Small Gods

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett is the 13th novel in the comic fantasy Discworld series, and the second standalone novel belonging to a small, loosely connected group of novels that cover specific, lesser-known cultures of the Disc. This novel in question is set a century before the usual present day and focuses on the land of Omnia, a powerful and oppressive theocracy that worships and acknowledges only one god: The Great God Om. The time for the 8th prophet to be revealed is close at hand and Om has manifested himself in physical form on the Disc to seek out his new chosen one. The problem is, he has somehow manifested as a diminutive tortoise and nobody he speaks to can hear him. That is, until an eagle meaning to make a meal of him drops him into the Citadel in Omnia, where he lands in a garden. There he meets Brutha, a novice of the Citadel and the only person in the whole world who can hear him.Read More »

Book Review – Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad

Witches Abroad is the 12th novel in Terry Pratchett’s comic fantasy Discworld series, and the third in the “Witches” subset of books. Desiderata Hollow knows that soon she will pass on. She’s a witch. Witches are good at knowing things like this. The problem is, she’s also a fairy godmother to a girl far across the Disc in a land called Genua, whose destiny is being meddled with. She passes her wand onto Magrat Garlick, one of the witches of in the kingdom of Lancre, with express instructions to travel to Genua to help this girl, and to not allow the other witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg to help her (knowing full well that those two will do the exact opposite of what is asked of them). Their objective vague and their destination clear, the trio commence their long journey to Genua.Read More »

Book Review – Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

Reaper Man

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett is the 11th novel in the comic fantasy Discworld series and the second book in the Death subseries. The Auditors of Reality, godlike beings that act as bureaucrats for the cosmos, have decreed that Death (the being) of the Discworld has developed too much of a personality, which they believe is improper for his position. As such, Death is suddenly issued a new timepiece counting down to his impending demise. Officially retired, with the populace left to sort out manifesting a new reaper to fill his shoes, Death decides to do what he’s never been able to before; spend Time. Meanwhile, the Wizards and other citizens of Ankh-Morpork must deal with the consequences of excessive life force filling the world during this transitional time when passage to the afterlife for all living things has been interrupted.Read More »

Book Review – Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

MovingPictures

People might say that reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess weight. Sadly alchemists never really held with such a quaint notion. They think that they can change reality, shape it to their own purpose. Imagine then the damage that could be wrought if they get their hands on the ultimate alchemy: The invention of motion pictures, the greatest making illusions. It may be a triumph of universe-shaking proportions. It’s either that or they’re about to unlock the dark terrible secret of the Holy Wood hills — by mistake.

Moving Pictures (1990) by Terry Pratchett is the tenth novel in the Discworld series. It is also the first book in the Industrial Revolution novel sequence, where the catalyst of the story is some manner of technological innovation or invention. Unlike the other sub-series that focus on a specific character or characters, this book introduces a new cast to the reader. It isn’t until the fourth Industrial Revolution book that a recurring protagonist is introduced. This novel, unsurprisingly, follows the emergence of a motion picture industry on the Discworld and the mayhem it eventually unleashes.Read More »

Book Review – Eric by Terry Pratchett

Summary

Eric is fourteen; he is the Discworld’s first-ever demonology hacker. Unfortunately, he’s not very good at it. All he wants is his traditional three wishes granted – nothing fancy: to be immortal, to rule the world, and to have the most beautiful woman on the Discworld fall madly in love with hum; all the usual things. But instead of a nice, tractable demon, he raises Rincewind, probably the most incompetent wizard in the universe, and the extremely intractable and hostile travel accessory known simply as the Luggage. With them on his side, Eric’s in for a ride through space and time that is bound to make him wish – quite fervently – this time that he’d never been born.

Eric

Eric, or Faust Eric, by Terry Pratchett is the 9th book in the Discworld series and the fourth book following Rincewind, the world’s most incompetent wizard. The edition I am reviewing was illustrated by Josh Kirby. The book was originally published simply as “A Discworld story” in a larger print format along with these illustrations, but was later reissued as a normal paperback without them. I was notably interested in getting to this book in the series because of how dramatically Pratchett seemed to have changed up the format. Most of his books come to about 300 pages long, give or take, but this was dramatically shorter. I was curious to see what, if anything, got sacrificed to make this tale more condensed.Read More »

Book Review – Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Summary

Insurrection is in the air in Ankh-Morpork. The Haves and Have-Nots are about to fall out all over again. Captain Sam Vimes of the city’s ramshackle Night Watch is used to this. It’s enough to drive a man to drink. Well, to drink more. But this time, something is different – the Have-Nots have found the key to a dormant, lethal weapon that even they don’t fully understand, and they’re about to unleash a campaign of terror on the city. Time for Captain Vimes to sober up.

Guards!Guards!

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett is the eighth novel in the comic fantasy Discworld series, and the first to feature the character Sam Vimes and the guards of the Night Watch of Ankh-Morpork. I have a particular relationship with this cast of characters, having first been introduced to the entire series through them in Men at Arms years ago, the 16th Discworld novel and second book to feature Captain Vimes and the Watch. This had an unfortunate effect on me coming into this one, however, because while I was excited to read about the characters again, I was also a little dismayed that because I’d read the sequel, which refers to the events of this book, any suspense or tension might be diffused. Fortunately, the book had more in store for me than I expected.Read More »

Book Review – Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

‘Look after the dead’, said the priests, ‘and the dead will look after you.’

Wise words in all probability, but a tall order when, like Teppic, you have just become the pharaoh of a small and penniless country rather earlier than expected, and your treasury is unlikely to stretch to the building of a monumental pyramid to honour your dead father.

He’d had the best education money could buy of course, but unfortunately the syllabus at the Assassin’s Guild in Ankh-Morpork did not cover running a kingdom and basic financial acumen…

Pyramids

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett is the seventh novel in his comic Fantasy series Discworld, telling a standalone story this time around. It takes place in the old kingdom of Djelibeybi (jelly-baby), which is based on the cultures and mythology of Ancient Egypt. In my progress through the series, this book was admittedly one I wasn’t particularly looking forward to. There are only a few books in this massive series that are actually standalone tales, involving characters who will not, as far as I know, be appearing in any meaningful way again. Regardless of this, I was pleasantly surprised with this novel.Read More »

Book Review – Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Summary

Three witches gathered on a lonely heath. A king cruelly murdered, his throne usurped by his ambitious cousin. A child heir and the crown of the kingdom both missing…

Witches don’t’ have these kind of dynastic problems themselves – in fact, they don’t have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have. But even she found that meddling in royal politics was a lot more complicated than certain playwrights would have you believe, particularly when the blood on your hands just won’t wash off and you’re facing a future with knives in it…

WyrdSistersCover

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett is the sixth book in the Discworld series. It is also the second book to focus on the Witches, reintroducing Granny Weatherwax, who first appeared in Equal Rites. She is part of a coven with her old friend Nanny Ogg and a younger witch Magrat, the trio serving as a parody of the three witches from Macbeth, as well as a play on the archetype of the Crone, the Mother, and the Maiden. The works of Shakespeare are a particular subject in this novel, with a traveling theatre troupe playing a huge role, and story elements from the plays Macbeth, Hamlet, and King Lear being adapted as well.Read More »

Book Review – Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Summary

There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we’d better not go into), he had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son… a wizard squared…a source of magic…a Sourcerer.

Unseen University has finally got what it wished for: the most powerful wizard on the disc. Which, unfortunately, could mean that the death of all wizardry is at hand. And that the world is going to end, depending on whom you listen to. Unless of course one inept wizard can take the University’s most precious artefact, the very embodiment of magic itself, and deliver it halfway across the disc to safety…

SourceryCover

Sourcery is the 5th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, and the third one to focus on Rincewind, the cowardly and inept wizard. Going in I had a lot of mixed feelings. Rincewind has grown on me more and more, especially after this book, and Pratchett has definitely managed to keep his perspective interesting and little more nuanced. However, I was wary because this book seemed to follow a plotline that had become quite familiar: situation concerning magic and the wizards escalates to cataclysmic proportions. While quite different in their own way, that’s now three of the first five Discworld books that have a plot like that, two of which involve Rincewind.Read More »

Book Review – The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

As it moves towards a seemingly inevitable collision with a malevolent red star, the Discworld could do with a hero. What it doesn’t need is a singularly inept and cowardly wizard, still recovering from the trauma of falling off the edge of the world, or a well-meaning tourist and his luggage which has a mind (and legs) of its own. Which is a shame because that’s all there is…

TheLightFantasticCover

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett is the 1986 follow-up to The Colour of Magic and the second novel in the comic fantasy Discworld series. The story continues right where the previous one left off, following Rincewind and Twoflower as they travel across the disc. This is unique among Pratchett’s extensive series of books, which are otherwise self-contained stories with recurring protagonists and characters.Read More »