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review 2018-06-13 16:32
The Shepherd's Crown (Discworld #41, Tiffany Aching #5)
The Shepherd's Crown (Tiffany Aching) - Terry Pratchett

Endings are sad no matter if it happens suddenly or you know it’s been coming for some time, but all good things come to an end.  The Shepherd’s Crown is the final book of Tiffany Aching journey into mature witch as well as the 41st and last Discworld book by Terry Pratchett.  Not only was this the last book, finished before Pratchett’s death, but saw the biggest development in the series ever—warning spoilers below.

 

While Tiffany Aching continues work as the Chalk’s witch both see and Jeannie the kelda feel something is about to happen, which it does with the death of Granny Weatherwax in Lancre that sets off a chain of events.  Granny leaves everything, including her steading, to Tiffany thus making her be seen as “first among equals” amongst witches.  But the death of Granny results in a weakened barrier between the Disc and Fairyland as many elves seeing the Queen as scared and cautious after her defeat by Tiffany years before and it only grows when they learn goblins have been accepted in human society and that iron—railways—now rule the land.  The Queen is usurped by Lord Peaseblossom who begins raiding into Lancre and the Chalk, which adds to Tiffany’s burden of covering two steadings in to locales that becomes a bit easier when a Geoffrey leaves his noble family and travels to Lancre to become a witch and turns out to have some talent—for a man.  Gathering together witch allies, the Feegles, elderly men looking for a fight, and the deposed Queen to battle an invasion, Tiffany uses the power in the Chalk to defeat Peaseblossom—who killed the Queen in battle—then summon the King of the Elves—who kills the usurper for killing his wife—to prevent them from ever returning.  Afterwards Tiffany knowing no witch can replace Granny give the Lancre steading to Geoffrey then builds herself a hut from the bones of her own grandmother’s hut to have an official residence of her own.

 

Pratchett did not complete this book as he would have liked to as Neil Gaiman stated in a later interview and the clues were there for a more emotional ending and closure for fans, but this unfortunate missed opportunity does not detract seriously from the book.  On the whole, the plot and character developments were nearly perfect with the only except of Mrs. Earwig who felt like she had more to be developed but that Pratchett hadn’t had enough time to provide it.

 

The Shepherd’s Crown is a book of endings for numerous reasons and because of that some people do not want to read it, especially those who have been fans longer than I have.  However eventually I hope those people will eventually read Terry Pratchett’s last Discworld book and see that even right up to his own meeting with Death that he strove to create something that made you think and show your emotions.

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text 2018-05-16 15:19
Reading progress update: I've read 68%.
Thief of Time (Discworld, #26) - Terry Pratchett

 

I want a raven (hubby said no, the boy said yes!) so I can name it Quoth which got me a nice eye roll from the boy. LOL

 

“The war was going badly for the weaker side. Their positioning was wrong, their tactics ragged, their strategy hopeless. The Red army advanced across the whole front, dismembering the remnant of the collapsing Black army.

 

There was room for only ONE anthill on this lawn...”

 

And, it's War overseeing a battle between anthills.

That one caught me by surprise. Sigh

 

A little farther along:

 

The Death of rats just got sucked into some weird time hole thingy. I think. And Quoth the raven just sits there preening himself saying I told you so.  LOL

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review 2018-05-05 03:56
Raising Steam (Discworld #40, Moist von Lipwig #3)
Raising Steam (Discworld) - Terry Pratchett

Once it had been a dream, it had been nearly realized before being abandoned, and many lost their lives looking to harness it until one young man succeeded.  Raising Steam is the penultimate book of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, as Moist von Lipwig helps along the technological marvel of locomotion created by Dick Simnel that is monetarily supported by Harry King and pushed by Lord Vetinari early on especially to reach Uberwald which becomes imperative as the Dwarfs verge on civil war.

 

Young Dick Simnel saw his father killed while trying to control steam, but after years of reading and later technological tinkering he succeeded in creating a locomotive engine and a means to use it on rails.  Dick then heads to Ankh-Morpork and the wealthy Harry King to get support, which the latter is happy to do.  Soon train fever hits Ankh-Morpork and Lord Vetinari calls on Moist von Lipwig to utilize the invention to the betterment of the city, in no uncertain terms.  Like always Moist’s mind begins seeing the possibilities in the new technology and begins helping Dick and Harry come up and implement ideas, but soon Vetinari begins pressing Moist to get things moving faster.  All the while, dwarf society is splitting between fundamentalist and pragmatists resulting in attacks on such technological marvels as the clacks and the new railway.  Then after the fundamentalists launch a coup when the Low King is at summit, it is only with the railway that the “King” is able to return to put down the coup and change dwarf society.

 

While I enjoyed the character of Moist in his previous two books, this book was not really a Moist von Lipwig book though he was the main point-of-view.  In fact this book very much needed the reader to know the events that happened Thud! and Snuff, which were both Watch driven books especially as Sam Vimes featured heavily in the latter part of the book.  The story was not bad, but the twists and turns were predictable and some random scenes were in fact plain random as they never played in the overall plot of the book.  There was a hint of Pratchett attempting to make a commentary on religious fundamentalism with the acts of terror, but because of political climate of the time he wrote he watered it down a lot.  However, the biggest drawback is that the humor was lacking especially as Pratchett included every person or group that have been featured prominently in the series, save the Witches, almost as if he wanted to show them on last time just in case.

 

Raising Steam is not the worst Discworld book—Eric—and it is close to being one of the best.  Honestly, the story is fine, but seems to take longer than necessary.  In previous books the reader could forgive this fact because of the great humor, but as stated before that is lacking.  This book is for long time Pratchett fans and anyone interested in getting into Discworld is encouraged to find an book in the first three-quarters of the series to read first and work their way to this one.

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review 2018-05-01 01:21
Wyrd Sisters (Discworld Witches, #2)
Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett,Celia Imrie
Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett

I've been listening to the audio for the past month, as narrated by Celia Imrie, but either my copy, or the production as a whole was so horribly done - 90% of the thing sounds like it was recorded from underneath a feather pillow - that towards the end I finally cracked and last night picked up my hardcover edition and finished it off.

 

That's not to say Celia Imrie did a bad job - she didn't, she was excellent (although her Nanny Ogg voice was too shaky and sometimes made her difficult to understand).  If you're tempted to listen to this book on audio, and you see this particular edition, listen to a sample first and make sure you're edition is not muffled under a pillow.

 

As for the story - taken at face value, it was ok.  But you can't take any Pratchett at face value, and the veiled subtext upgraded it, for me, to good (with bonus points for the mugging scene).  I love Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg.  I wasn't quite getting the appeal of Greebo, until the scene with the Fool - that moment where he looks down at the Fool from atop of his head was sublime, (and Celia did it perfectly).  As for the Fool himself, I think I liked him more for having heard him narrated, than I would have had I read him from the start; Celia infused an intelligence in him I'm not sure I'd have given him, given the repetitious nature of his speech.

 

I think I failed to receive the characters of the Lord and Lady Felmut the way the author intended them.  If satirically humorous is what he was aiming for, I definitely failed.  These two just came across bitter, twisted and creepy - I should say Lord Felmut did; Lady Felmut just seemed to me a straight caricature.  And since I'm complaining (not really) I'll add that while I loved the element of The Land, I wish Pratchett had not been quite so vague about it and it's connection to the throne.  I understood it well enough but would have enjoyed it more with a tiny pinch more detail.  And I understood the dynamic at the end, between the two brothers, until Granny, Nanny and Magrat got through with me.  And how old is Magrat supposed to be anyway?

 

Overall, even though it doesn't sound like it, I did enjoy the story - it's Pratchett after all, and even his weak books are better than a lot of best efforts.  I'm going to try Witches Abroad on audio too, because even though this edition's sound quality sucked, I think I get more enjoyment out of the stories when they're read by someone who obviously understands Pratchett's writing.  But I'm definitely checking out the samples first.

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text 2018-04-25 04:09
Maskerade (Discworld, #18) - Terry Pratchett

 

Phantom of the Opera - sorta.

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