Tag Archives: Terry Pratchett

Good Omens Review

I know I’ve been away for far longer than I should, but I’ve not been well and had classes to attend. Now I’m back with a review of a book that I pushed to the side years ago like a dummy: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. When I first read it years ago I didn’t get it. After re-reading and finishing it, I have a new found respect for it.

Heaven and Hell are preparing for the end of the world because The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch says the world will end on a specific date. Problem is, the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley rather like Earth, thank you very much, but they have work to do. One of them is getting the Anti-Christ born and finding him. They messed that up and don’t know where he is. Now everyone is trying to gather in the spot where the prophecy says just because it’s a prophecy.

This is the first time where the end of the world is made fun of and both Pratchett and Gaiman do a fine job. The humor is that dry British humor that makes you want a spot of tea afterward. Most of it, however, isn’t laugh out loud funny, but there some that are few and far between. That doesn’t mean it’s not funny, it’s just not that particular kind of funny.

The idea of an angel and devil living on Earth and liking it is funny. It’s funnier that they work together and only have a friendly jab at each other once in awhile. There should be more of this kind of situation.

Don’t worry about not knowing who wrote what part. Each writer has their own unique style and it’s easy to tell who wrote what. Each part is equally as good as the other and they have some great chemistry with each other.

Everything isn’t perfect, though. For one, most of the book is just set to the ending. We do learn about each character, but some like the witchfinders and Anathema aren’t all that well fleshed out. They aren’t even all that important to the finale.

In all, I should’ve given this book a much better chance. Some some criticisms, this is an excellent book by two great authors that’ll we’ll never see work together again. Give it a shot.

 

 

 

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Dragons at Crumbling Castle Review

Yes, another Pratchett review. That’s what fanboys do, you know.

Dragons at Crumbling Castle is a collection of short stories Terry Pratchett wrote when he was young. As many of you know, Pratchett hates the stuff he wrote when he was young. Well, there is some good stuff here.

The first story is the also the title of the book. It’s about King Arthur hearing that there are castles occupying a castle. Problem is, his knights are away and the only one available is a boy named Ralph. So King Arthur tells the boy to go and kill the dragon. This is actually a pretty funny story, especially once you consider it’s  a King Arthur story. Since ths is Pratchett, the ending is unexpected.

In fact, most of the stories are worth reading. Some of the best are Hercules the Tortoise, Dok the Cavemen and Hunt the Snory.

Of course, this collection also has two early version of The Carpet People: Tales of the Carpet People and Another Tale of the Carpet people. Both are the longest stories in the collection. They’re not bad stories, but if you’ve read The Carpet People you know what to expect. If you’ve read my review of The Carpet People, you know my stance.

One thing these stories have are illustrations by Mark Beech. These same illustrations appear in The Carpet People. They may just look like silly pencil sketches, but when you realize what kind of stories these are, they fit perfectly.

Should you read these stories? Of course. Why? As the name implies, these are stories. A novelist should write short stories to strengthen their writing prowess in order to write longer fiction. If they can write a good story in just a few pages, they can write one in a few hundred. There are other short story collections of Terry Pratchett’s work, and I have every intention of reading them.

 

 

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The Shepherd’s Crown Review

Here it is folks, my review of the last ever Discworld book the Shepherd’s Crown. Some of you may be asking, “what took so long?” Well, I was kinda apprehensive about reading this book since I’ve been burned by the last few Discworld books and I needed some time to get over the fact that this was the last ever book. I finally read and the finished the book and my apprehensions were right.

Tiffany Aching has inherited Granny Weatherwax’s cottage and position after Weatherwax’s death. Yes, Granny Weatherwax is dead. More on that later. Tiffany is having problems filling Weatherwax’s shoes as the new head witch. Meanwhile, the elves see this as an opportunity to attack.

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way: Granny Weatherwax is dead. One of the greatest and most powerful characters on the disc and Pratchett decided to kill her off. Well, Pratchett has done that plenty of times before with certain characters (Cohen, anyone?) But, still, when you read that part it will be a huge shock.

As for the story itself, it isn’t all that interesting. It’s just Tiffany doing her witch’s duties and trying to be as good as Granny Weatherwax. It may be a typical coming of age story, but most of what happens just isn’t’ all that interesting . Even the whole idea of a male becoming a witch (and a good one at that” seems more like a minor plot point that just happens.

When the elves do finally arrive, there’s a battle. Yes, an actual fantasy style battle in a Discworld book, a series that for the past thirty years tried to be the OPPOSITE of what makes a fantasy book. Even how it all ends is uneventful  and feels rushed.

Someone on Amazon even said that this book reads like it wasn’t written by Pratchett. I agree. I did not laugh once, it wasn’t smart in any way, the story plodded along, the plot was dull and the characters didn’t act like they should.

Once again, I’m a huge Pratchett fan. I thought the guy was brilliant and even cried when he died. I just felt his post-Alzheimer’s books lacked the same quality as his pre-Alzheimer’s books.

Despite that, I’m kinda glad I read this book. To me, it  gives a sense of closure to the career of one of the best fantasy writers this generation. Granted, the book isn’t all that good, but still.

The Shepherd’s Crown is the final book in the Discworld and one of the weaker one. The only reason to read this book is for completionist and closure sake. If you want to honor Pratchett in any way, read the Watch books. Read The Truth, Lords and Ladies, the Death books. This one will only be remembered as the Discworld book and that’s it.

 

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