Night Watch (Discworld #29)
By: Terry Pratchett
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; was a Christmas gift
Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch had it all.
But now he’s back in his own rough, tough past without even the clothes he was standing up in when the lightning struck…
Living in the past is hard. Dying in the past is incredibly easy. But he must survive, because he has a job to do. He must track down a murderer, teach his younger self how to be a good copper and change the outcome of a bloody rebellion.
There’s a problem: if he wins, he’s got no wife, no child, no future…
A Discworld Tale of One City, with a full chorus of street urchins, ladies of negotiable affection, rebels, secret policemen and other children of the revolution.
Truth! Justice! Freedom! And a Hard-boiled Egg!
Ahh, there’s always something comforting about picking up a Discworld novel and knowing that you’re in for a hilarious ride. I started keeping a lookout for more Sam Vimes books after enjoying Guards! Guards! (review), particularly this novel as I heard so many good things about it. It was gifted for me…last Christmas, I believe, so here I am, reading it now 🙂
Soul Music (Discworld #16)
By: Terry Pratchett
Format/Source: Paperback; was a Christmas gift
There’s no getting away from it. From whichever angle, death is a horrible, inescapable business. But someone’s got to do it. So if Death decides to take a well-earned moment to uncover the meaning of life and discover himself in the process, then there is going to be a void of specific dimensions that needs to be occupied, particularly so when there is trouble brewing in Discworld. There aren’t too many who are qualified to fill Death’s footsteps and it certainly doesn’t help the imminent cataclysm that the one person poised between the mortal and the immortal is only sixteen years old.
You can never go wrong picking up a Discworld novel. I found out at the time that I was reading it, of course, that it was also Terry Pratchett day (which coincides with his birthday). Anyway, this is the only Discworld novel left from the Death storyline that I haven’t read so it’s nice to finally get around to reading this book 🙂
The Truth (Discworld #25)
By: Terry Pratchett
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld’s first newspaper. Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist’s life – people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes.
William just wants to get at THE TRUTH. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to get at William. And it’s only the third edition…
To be honest I wasn’t initially planning on reviewing this book as I never had with any of the other Discworld novels but then I learned through the Revive Old Post plugin that I actually post something of a review for Guards! Guards! (review) a few years ago so I decided to go ahead and do one for this book. Because why not?
So You Want to Read… is a new monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂
For this month’s edition of So You Want to Read…, I will be featuring Sir Terry Pratchett. He sadly passed away on 12 March 2015 from a rare for of Alzheimer’s that he was diagnosed with back in 2007. He was known for his Discworld novels, which are fantastical, thoughtful, and satirical, though he’s also written a number of non-Discworld novels as well.
Because there are plenty of Discworld novels with one forthcoming (I think we’re sitting at 40 right now, but that could’ve been the count a few years ago), it can be a bit overwhelming to start. Luckily you don’t necessarily have to start with the first novel, The Colour of Magic; Discworld is divided into a number of “series” featuring/following a particular character or theme/storyline. You can check out this guide to know what the reading order is for those storylines and work your way through there. Or you can check out the following recommendations I have on which Discworld novels to check out 😉
- Mort — This is the first of a number of books featuring the character of Death. Death is my favourite charcter from the Discworld novels (and Death of Rats…and the talking raven Quoth…and Death’s manservant, Albert); indeed he is the personification of death and he does start off rather cold and impersonal as you would imagine, but he’s my favourite character because he’s always seeking to understand humanity and what it means to be alive. This can lead to some rather hilarious moments and situations, but he also has some really profound thoughts on a wide range of subjects. Oh, and the premise of this book? Death gets an (human) apprentice 😛
- Guards! Guards! (review) — This is the first of a number of books featuring Sam Vines and the City Guard of Ankh-Morpork, which is the city’s police force. The novel itself follows a plot from a secret brotherhood that wants to overthrow the current government of Ankh-Morpork and sets a dragon out to cause some chaos. It’s down to the City Guard, which is pretty much in shambles at the start of the novel, to uncover the plot and stop the dragon, leading to hilarity all the way. So yeah, hilarious and it features another favourite character, the Patrician Vetinari, the leader of the city 🙂
- Hogfather — This book features Death quite a bit again (Death as…the Hogfather? What in the world?) but also the University of Wizards and an assortment of other characters including the Auditors, who wrecks havoc in Discworld by constantly fidgeting around with reality and eliminating figures and elements because it doesn’t fit into their view of order (I imagine them as Dementors from HP…only these guys talk…). It’s an interesting novel, and feels quite seasonal if you’re looking for something like that.
- Going Postal — A more recent title, this book is the first featuring Moist von Lipwig (yeah, his name, anyway!), a con artist who narrowly avoids hanging when the Patrician (yup, he’s back! And played by Charles Dance in the television adaptation so I can never read anything about the Patrician without conjuring an image of Charles Dance speaking the lines, haha) who presents an offer to him to become the Postmaster of the city. Hijinks ensue as the task is larger than it seems, not to mention some dangers along the way. It’s fun, and the underlying satire and commentary very amusing.
- Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman) — For something outside of Discworld, Sir Terry Pratchett was also known for this novel, co-written with Neil Gaiman, which covers the Apocalypse, the coming of the Four Horsemen, and the attempts of an angel and a demon to stop the end of the world. It’s been a long time since I read the book but I remember finding it rather amusing, albeit a wee bit complicated at times re: Adam’s storyline. Nonetheless, Sir Terry Pratchett’s wit is out in full force in this novel.
I hope this list of books helps if you’re interested in reading some of Sir Terry Pratchett’s novels! What do you think? Have you read any of his books? Which were your favourites and/or ones you’d recommend to first-time readers? He will be greatly missed.
Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8)
By: Terry Pratchett
Here there be dragons…and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis (“noble dragon” for those who don’t understand italics) has appeared in Discworld’s greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all…).
I was going to start this entry off as a review but then I realised I didn’t really want to review the book per se but rather just talk about it a bit. As a reader, this was just a joy to read. I mean, it’s not laugh-out-loud funny but it’s my brand of humour, I found myself snickering in amusement here and there and pretty much everywhere. The bits that especially amused me had to do with whenever Vimes or one of the members of the Watch found themselves confronting the general population; concepts of “the people” and various forms of government (the secret society trying to figure out how a king works, Vimes’ “This is going to be the world’s first democratically killed dragon. One man, one stab.”, etc.) come into play here. I guess as someone who spent a considerable amount of time studying political science it amuses me when these concepts are used in comedic and satirical situations (like watching Yes, Prime Minister…or Monty Python…notice that they’re all British, mind you ^_~).