Here’s a fact you need to know about me: I’m a fan of Sir. Terry Pratchett. For those of you who have no idea who Sir. Terry Pratchett is, the hell’s wrong with you? Kidding aside, he’s the author of the Discworld novels, the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy and the Bromeliad Trilogy. He also co-wrote Good Omens with Neil Gaiman and The Long Earth Trilogy with Stephen Baxter.
Now that you know who he is, here’s something many people don’t talk about: His first novel The Carpet People. One reason could be because it was not available in America until last year (it was originally published in 1971 when Pratchett was 17.) Another reason could be it’s not a very good novel. In the forward of the 1992 UK edition (the one I decided to buy because I’m a fan. A US special edition was announced four months after I bought it) Pratchett says that at 44 this is not a book he’d write now or ever again. Basically, hates it. If you read it you can see why.
The story is about a tribe called the Munrungs whose entire village was destroyed by a force called the Fray. They now must cross the carpet (the entire world is an actual carpet) to find a new home.
The only real positive thing about this book that you can see traces of Pratchett’s style that has made him a huge award winning novelist. His dry humor is apparent from the first word to the last. It may not be as quotable or as funny as his later books, but you can see it.
The world itself is also creative. How many worlds can you name that take place on a carpet? This is just a precursor to the Discworld which is also a flat world. Only the Discworld has a lot more going for it and has four elephants holding it up and are riding a turtle (shut up, it’s awesome.)
Other than that, this book reeks of firstnovelitis. It’s not memorable at all, the characters aren’t well developed and forgettable, and the story is pretty cliche. A group of nobodies fighting against an empire has been done before so many times that any shmuck in our world can do it. Though the fight is not as epic as others in its genre (no Helm’s Deep style battle here people) they’re not interesting in the. I’m not saying there are a ton of battles (they are few and far between) but the ones here don’t last long.
In fact, I just finished the book and I don’t remember any characters or what happened. It took me a year on and off to finish this book. You may say that is the main reason for it, but I say it’s the book being underwhelming is the cause. It’s not a bad book in any sense of the word, but I don’t recommend it.
Of course, if you’re a Pratchett fan you’ll hunt down this book and read it to say you read all of Pratchett’s book. If you do, get it from the library. Or if you buy it, bring it to one of Pratchett’s signings and see what his reaction is. That’ll be a bit hard seeing as how he’s rarely doing signings now, especially US signings.