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review 2017-05-21 00:00
Review: The Shepherd's Crown (Discworld Book 49 of 49ish!)
The Shepherd's Crown (Tiffany Aching) - Terry Pratchett

The Shepherd’s Crown is the last Tiffany Aching book and, published after the author’s death, it’s the last book in the entire Discworld series.  It’s very short, not having been completely fleshed out by Pratchett before his death, but it tells a complete story.  Tiffany, now a full-fledged witch, finds her responsibilities increasing beyond her ability to keep up.  Meanwhile, the elves are getting up to mischief again.


Unlike the last Discworld book I had read, the characters didn’t feel off to me, with one possible exception from a character who was only in the book for a page or two.  I also enjoyed the story pretty well.  It wasn’t one of the best, but it didn’t bore me either.  However, one major aspect of this story was spoiled for me months ago, so the story had much less impact than it would have had otherwise. 


And so here I am, after starting the very first book one year and twenty-one days ago, at the end of the series.  I started it with skepticism, not really expecting to care for it since I don’t normally do well with satirical, wink-at-the-reader type humor.  I love humor in my books, but I’ve always preferred humor that feels like a natural extension of the story and its characters whereas this type of humor tends to pull me out of the story to admire the author’s cleverness and consider the real-world parallels.  Maybe I was in the right frame of mind when I decided to try this series, or maybe Pratchett just did it exceptionally well.  Whatever the reason, I enjoyed this series quite a bit. 


I don’t think I ever rated any of the books higher than four stars, because these aren’t the type of stories that I get completely wrapped up in.  And yet the fact that these books didn’t completely absorb me is one of the things I liked about them.  There were some I liked more than others but, in general, they were light, fun, and usually entertaining.  They were particularly excellent travel books because they didn’t demand my full attention.  I’m not much of a re-reader, but I could see myself picking some of them up again someday, maybe in a few years, as reading material while traveling.  It might also be fun to try them as audio books.

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review 2017-05-19 23:16
Review: Raising Steam (Discworld Book 48 of 49ish)
Raising Steam (Discworld) - Terry Pratchett

Raising Steam is the third and final book in the Moist Von Lipwig subseries of Discworld, and the second-to-last book in the entire series.  In this book, we meet a new character by the name of Simnel who has invented the steam engine and introduced the concept of fast travel by train.  Meanwhile, there is more unrest between the traditional and modern dwarfs.


This book spends a lot of time talking about trains: building trains and railways, operating trains, the benefits of trains, train safety, and so forth.  This is not, to me, a particularly exciting topic, and sometimes I had trouble pushing through the book.  I was interested enough that I didn’t want to abandon it, especially not so close to the end of the series, but it put me to sleep a few times.  I was also on my second week of business travel and pretty worn out in any case, so maybe this had as much to do with me as it had to do with the book.


Vetinari, a character I’ve greatly enjoyed since his first introduction, gets quite a bit of page time in this book, but for some reason he didn’t seem like Vetinari to me.  Normally he’s more taciturn.  He manipulates and influences people with a few pointed words, with silence and perhaps some intimidating looks, and with visual aids.  That's one of the reasons I enjoy his character so much.  In this book, he had a tendency toward detailed monologues and explanations, and there were one or two weird sections where he sounded like the CEO of a company using corporate buzzwords.


It wasn’t a bad book, and there were parts I enjoyed, but it wasn’t at the level I’ve come to expect from the Discworld books.  Combine that with a topic I wasn’t that interested in, and I just didn’t enjoy this as much as the previous books.

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review 2017-05-13 03:36
Review: The World of Poo (Discworld Book 47 of 49ish)
The World of Poo - Terry Pratchett

This was definitely one of the stranger things I’ve read in recent years.  The World of Poo is a Discworld-based children’s book that is referenced quite a bit in the previous Discworld book I just finished, Snuff.  The main character, Geoffrey, develops a fascination with poo and starts collecting samples from various creatures he encounters, some of which are fictional Discworld creatures.


The Amazon product page lists it as being geared toward ages 8 through 12.  12 seems a little old to me, but I guess 8 sounds about right in terms of the simplicity of the story and language.  On the other hand, there are a few snide comments aimed more at adults that seem likely to raise some questions.  I’m also not sure the average younger child would fully appreciate the Discworld setting and be able to confidently sort through the mish-mash of real and fake facts, unless they’ve read some of the novels.


Anyway, it was a cute and very quick read, and it was a fun little tie-in to the main books.  I may even have learned a thing or two from it, although I don’t expect those things to have any major impact on my life...

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review 2017-05-08 12:14
Review: I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld Book 45 of 49ish)
I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld, #38) - Terry Pratchett

I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in the Tiffany Aching subseries of Discworld


In this story, there is an entity that is causing an increase of bigotry against witches, and naturally its prime target is Tiffany.  The story was ok, but very short and the plot was pretty thin.  The book was carried by the characters, who are all still a lot of fun.  I liked that we got to spend a short amount of time in Ankh-Morpork, which isn’t a normal setting for the Tiffany books, and I especially liked that we finally got a tie back to the first Witches book, Equal Rites.  The timeline is rather questionable, but I was just happy to see some reference to it.

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review 2017-04-30 20:51
Review: A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices (Discworld "Book" 44 of 49ish)
A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices - Terry Pratchett

This was cute and a little bit funny, but it was also very short and it didn’t really have any substance.  It was basically a meeting of the Wizards of Unseen University in which they discuss an inspection report for their university.  Alas, Rincewind was nowhere to be found, nor was he even mentioned.


This short story can be read for free here.

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