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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-12-09 11:16
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett

The Light Fantastic is a direct sequal to The Colour of Magic.  The Discworld needs saving and only Rincewind can do it - something to do with one of the 8 Great Spells slinking around in his head.  The adventures of Two Flower, Rincewind and The Luggage continues in this entertaining romp through the Discworld. DEATH is also just starting out as what will one day be a main character.  This is an early novel by Pratchett, and also an early Discworld novel.  It is quite evident that the author is still trying to find his voice and take his tour around the Disc.  The first two novels come across as something of a tour through the Discword, but I still found them enjoyable and the seeing how the Discworld novels develop as a concept is very interesting.

 

The art on my paperback copy is by Josh Kirby.  I love his wild illustrations of the Discworld!

 

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review 2018-10-23 17:44
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett

I really don't enjoy reading books out of order, but since this was our buddy read for Halloween bingo, I didn't have a choice this time. The Color of Magic is sitting on my bookshelves and I hope I will be able to read it for the next 16 Festive Tasks. Or just whenever this year. If you want to read a non-scary book about witches, this one is for you. I cracked up a lot reading about witches in this world (Discworld) and how three witches get involved after a king (King Verence I of Lancre) is murdered (as one does). I probably missed some in jokes on the Discworld series since I started with book #6 and not #1, but I am sure some people will point that out to me. 

 

When the King Verence I of Lancre is murdered by his cousin, Duke Felmet, one of his servants hides his child away and the child is given to three witches. The three witches are:  Granny Weatherwax; Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick, so Pratchett sets up right away the three archetypes of the maiden, the mother, and the crone.  

 

Granny doesn't want to meddle with Duke Felmet though Nanny and Magrat do want to not only keep the baby, but meddle with Felmet. Two of the witches, Nanny and Granny have some backstory going on and it is hilarious to see them going at each other.


You will also love hearing about one witch (apparently just the one) who was responsible for Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and came to her doom due to some kids putting her in her own oven. 

 

The Duke is just shiftless and the witches know that things will get worse with him ruling so they realize that they may need to do what they can to make sure the king's son lives and rules. The Duke's wife is pretty horrible and I did love how Pratchett wrapped up her story. We also have someone just called The Fool who plays an important part in this story. 

 

I also loved the writing. There were some hilarious bits in this book. Though I was less enamored with the inclusion of play type writing. We had Pratchett in several places linking things up to Shakespeare's three witches in Macbeth. I do get why he did it since the Wyrd Sisters we have here are a play on the ones from that play and the way Pratchett has the Duke ordering a play to be made about the terrible witches in order to look better.  I just had a hard time switching writing styles back and forth. I also had an issue with the footnotes in the Kindle version I got. I tried clicking on them and sometimes they took me to where they note was, but had a hard time getting back to where I was at prior to clicking the footnote. 

 

Loved the world building with these three witches meddling to do what is necessary to save the kingdom. 

 

The ending was hilarious to me. No spoilers, but you pretty much get some funny reveals about the new King and I cracked up. 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-17 18:09
The Waiting Sands - Review
The Waiting Sands - Susan Howatch

The back blurb said two people died and someone Rachel loved killed them.

 

The truth was that I didn't care who died and I didn't care who killed them.  All the characters were despicable -- except Mrs Willie the housekeeper and George the dog.

 

Only the buddy read kept this from being a DNF.

 

Only the tightness of the plot kept this from being a 1-star, and only Howatch's writing kept it from being a half-star.

 

Brief overview, with maybe a spoiler.

 

Rachel Lord -- I kept forgetting her last name -- receives a cryptic invitation to her friend Decima's coming-of-age party in Scotland.  The two friends have been out of touch for about two years, since Decima's wedding to a renowned scholar, Charles Mannering.  Anyway I think that's his last name.  I know it wasn't Middleton, because Charles Middleton was Ming the Merciless.

 

 

Rachel arrives at Roshven, Decima's ancestral estate, on Thursday.  Decima turns 21 at midnight Saturday.  So the whole thing takes place in something like a little over 48 hours.

 

In addition to Decima, Charles, and Rachel, there are three other guests: Charles's cousin and Rachel's lifelong friend Rohan Quist, Charles's former student at Oxford Daniel Carey, and Daniel's sister Rebecca.

 

Everyone spends the next two days confiding in Rachel that they are either having/not having an affair with Decima or Charles, that they are afraid of being killed by Decima/Charles/Rebecca/Daniel/Rohan, that they know Rebecca/Daniel/Rohan is having an affair with Decima or Charles . . . or maybe both.

 

All in all, they were a tiresome, desperate, despicable lot.  And Rachel was just a doormat for listening to them and not telling them all to go jump in the Cluny Sands and get sucked to perdition.

 

The threats/fears of murder hinge on Decima's inheritance.  According to her father's will, if she lives to midnight Saturday, she inherits the estate and its fortune; if she dies beforehand, it all goes to Charles.  If she dies after midnight, but without children, it goes to Charles.  She, however, has made her own will, which will be effective only if she survives to midnight.

 

Well, of course, she doesn't.  Someone kills her, but that someone had already killed Charles.  So that lets Charles off the hook for her murder.  We can assume Rachel didn't do it, since she's the more or less "heroine" of the story.  That leaves the Carey siblings with their really unhealthy relationship, or Rohan.

 

And here's where Howatch's plot becomes sort of interesting, a kind of reward for the reader's having plowed through the awful mess thus far:  Daniel Carey arranges Charles's body to make it look as though the professor committed suicide after killing Decima.  Daniel persuades Rachel to go along with him in presenting this scenario to the police.  The impression given is that Daniel is protecting his sister, whom he believes committed the murders.

 

I told you their relationship was unhealthy.

 

More unhealthy, however, is Rachel's relationship with Daniel.

 

She has fallen in love with him, even though he's really a disgusting person.  Was he having an affair with Decima or not?  Was he plotting to kill her or not?  Was he plotting to kill Charles or not?  (We won't even get into whether he was boinking his sister or not.)  Rachel has fallen in love with this jerk after knowing him two days and despite seeing how eager he is to cover up a murder, which he himself may have committed!

 

At that point, after the murders are "investigated" by the police and the conclusion of murder/suicide is accepted, Rachel goes back to London and eventually ends up in New York.  I'm not sure why the whole New York thing is thrown in, but it is.  She still pines for Daniel, even though she still thinks he and/or Rebecca murdered both Charles and Decima.  Daniel, who had been a very ambitious academic, gives up his career to teach in Africa.  I'm not sure what Rebecca did and I don't care.

 

Five years after the murder, a kind of reunion is arranged, to take place at the now abandoned estate of Roshven.  While sneaking into the actual house with her lifelong buddy Rohan, Rachel suddenly remembers a tiny clue about the night of the murder and realizes neither Rebecca nor Daniel could be the killer.  Therefore, the killer had to be Rohan.

 

Climactic scene on the beach, and the quicksand delivers justice.

 

And Daniel covers up the truth again!

 

There were elements of DuMaurier's Rebecca in this, or at least according to Rohan there were.  We'll never know for sure.  The only person who knows the whole truth is dead, and everyone else is covering up.

 

I think that's what I disliked most about the whole romantic resolution: Daniel was too eager to tell lies under far too many different circumstances.  First it was just nastiness, then it was to protect his sister whom he thought was guilty of a double murder, then it was to make someone feel less horrible about the death of their child.  So some of his motives for lying were maybe good, but he still seemed too willing to avoid the truth.  I wouldn't trust him as a husband.

 

Although Howatch's writing was on the whole professional and evocative, I disliked her frequent use of long monologues to reveal backstory.  There are ways to break those up with some description and action and reaction.  They come across as contrived and insincere on the part of the writer.

 

All in all, a poor experience, but a learning one.  And the Harry Bennett cover was probably worth it!

 

 

Because of the limited cast of characters and the remote setting, I'm using this for the Cozy Mystery square, whether anyone likes it or not.  ;-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-27 19:35
HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

 

HEX was not what I expected. At all. It had some very creepy moments and for that reason I'm glad I read it, but I didn't find it to be the end all-be all of dark fiction like most of my friends did. I'm a little bummed about that because my expectations were high.

 

I'm not going to get into the plot much as this book came out several years ago and everyone knows it's about a witch. She haunts the town, but her type of haunting mainly consists of showing up at weird times and places, creeping the hell out of everyone by just standing there, and then she vanishes. Okay, there's more to it than that, but that's the gist.

 

As I mentioned above, there were a few genuinely disturbing moments and I could almost feel the stifling atmosphere at times. The few scenes that unsettled me were effective and creative. However, my enjoyment of them was often marred by breasts. That's right: breasts. What is the fascination with them in this story? Also, the poor lady with the high forehead. OMG, get over it already! Every single time this character was mentioned, so was her forehead. Lastly, I think the (I'll just call them) portents of doom, were overused and unnecessary. Owls all over the place looking at you, and peacocks...peacocking themselves about. Enough! Get on with it!

 

I cared for almost none of the people in Black Spring, nor did they deserve my care. For the most part they were all terrible human beings. It's partly because of that that I LOVED the ending! From what I've read and my discussion with my online friend Lillelara, who buddy read this with me, the denouement was completely re-written from the original Dutch version. I think it worked wonderfully for an American audience, (or at least me),especially in today's world. (Lillelara was less impressed than I.)

 

In short, I really liked the first half and I found the creepy times to be genuinely eerie and disturbing. The second half seemed to ramble... foreheads, breasts, peacocks, etc. The ending rocked. I don't know what else to say, other than I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

 

I read this for my 2018 TBR challenge, (to read books I've owned for years and still not read), and I also read it for the TERROR IN A SMALL TOWN square in Halloween Bingo at Booklikes.

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review 2018-09-24 11:39
The Colour of Magic (Discworld, #1)
The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

I never know how to review the discworld books.  They're sort of impossible to describe to anyone who hasn't already read them, and likewise, they're hard (for me) to review.  

 

Generally, having read a few of the later discworld books in a couple of the sub-series, I found this one to be the weakest in terms of personal enjoyment.  I'm happy to have The Luggage finally explained, or at least properly introduced, and there were a few great jokes, but the story... meh.   And is it just me, or is Death distinctly less personable in his earliest incarnation?  I also missed the footnotes that add so much to later discworld books.

 

I read this in both audio and print as part of the Discworld group and for Halloween Bingo - I'm using it for the Free Square.

 

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