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review 2018-03-17 14:49
Going Postal
Going Postal (05) by Pratchett, Terry - Briggs, Stephen [Paperback (2005)] - Terry Pratchet

by Terry Pratchett


Terry Pratchett is undeniably one of the best humorous fantasy writers ever born. I'll admit this wasn't a favorite for me, but it had its merits.


A con man is given a choice: get hanged or sort out the post office at Ankh-Morpork. There are times when he wonders which was the better option. His staff include the usual Pratchett array of interesting characters, including a gollum. The place is in disarray to say the least and needs, well, sorting!


I loved his alternative to the modern Internet, the clacks. I'm told it shows up in other novels but this was my first experience of them. Typical Discworld technology forms a backdrop that will look familiar to Pratchett readers and adventures ensue.


There's a dark side to this one. First of all the title has other connotations as a term used for mass shootings in post offices, which was a thing around the 1980s. The role Vetinari plays in this reflects backroom deals in politics with a heavy dose of corruption.


On the surface it's a typical Pratchett comical romp, but watch for those underlying meanings!

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review 2018-03-05 01:39
I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld #38, Tiffany Aching #4)
I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld #38) - Terry Pratchett

Anti-witch feelings are on the rise and rumors of old women being burned are in the air, unfortunately for Tiffany Aching she’s finding the Chalk getting infected and it could be her fault.  I Shall Wear Midnight is the 38th book of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and the fourth to feature the young witch Tiffany Aching, who is finding out that being a witch-in-training and being on her own are two different things entirely especially when the Cunning Man is after her.


Now 16 years old, Tiffany is now the witch of the Chalk doing everything that needs to be done from tending the Baron to looking after newest of babes.  Then things seem to start to go wrong from a father assaulting his daughter to the old Baron dying in front of Tiffany and the nurse accusing her of killing him.  Events transpire that Tiffany attempts to persevere through but she senses something is up, especially on her way to Ankh-Morpork when she meets a “man” that the Feegles fall through.  Thanks to the Feegles, Tiffany spends a night in jail but learns witches all around are feeling pressure.  Upon her return to the Chalk, Roland attempts to take out the Feegle’s mound and later has Tiffany detained but the young witch realizes that Roland’s fiancé is hiding a secret—she’s using magic—and confronts her getting the spell broken.  As things return to normal in the Chalk, Tiffany must gear up to face the Cunning Man, a ghost of a witch hunter who’s  hatred is infectious, even while attending a funeral and preparing for the new Baron’s wedding as senior witches gather and watch.


Building upon the previous three books to feature Tiffany, Pratchett continued the character’s growth by showing her face the everyday humdrum of the profession as the witch not a trainee, especially when something vicious shows up.  Unlike previous books, the Feegles are more important minor characters than major secondary ones which focuses the book on Tiffany alone with her dealing with everything and everyone.  Tiffany’s interactions with Carrot and Angua in Ankh-Morpork and the reappearance of Eskarina Smith, whose time traveling ability comes in handy in “assisting” Tiffany, just added to the quality of the book and connected various subseries together than just the same world.


I Shall Wear Midnight is a delightful return to the Disc and a somewhat return to form for Pratchett with a solid story that does not meander like some of the previous books of the series.  Although a first time reader might want to get one of the earlier Aching books to understand some of what’s going on, any long-time fan will love this book.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-01 08:59
February 2018 — A Wrap Up


Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 1, 2018.




Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill


Several things about this book annoyed the heck outta me, including:

I have begun to detest Jamie who is a Mary Sue if there ever was one!


Talbot stared at Jamie, admiration on his face. “Bravo”, he said. “There are men and women a lot older than you who fail to understand that. You’re absolutely right…”


He is the youngest this and the smartest that while also being the best at everything! Oh, and he actually left his female friends behind because he “couldn’t bear if anything happened to you”. One of them is a vampire with superstrength and other powers. Both of them are members of a covert organization that keeps the supes under check. They are at least as old as Jamie is.


The worst part: they let him They understood he was just worried about them. Needlessly worried but Jamie’s just so sweet, y’know? Ugh!


There are at least two instances of a character who looked as if about to say something but “then the door rolled shut with a loud thunk.


Every development was repeated endlessly. If one character found out about it, they’d tell the others and we’d be there for every conversation!


We are almost 65% into the story and a new character who is supposed to be dead shows up. And I am not even talking about the other character who also died in the first book and showed up in this one alive. At least, that guy had the decency to arrive right from the start!


We also spend a lot of time learning about people who have nothing to add to the story. Seemed like filler so the book would swell up to 560+ pages.


So yeah, bad experience! Read my review of the first book here.



The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett


During my second visit to Discworld, I discovered the following to be true:

Luggage is my favorite character:

“The Luggage said nothing, but louder this time.” 

And then there is all the Pratchett-ness to love and laugh at:

“It looked like the sort of book described in library catalogues as ‘slightly foxed’, although it would be more honest to admit that it looked as though it had been badgered, wolved and possibly beared as well.” 





A big part of that is because he can poke fun at almost anything. Have a look at his disregard for the Asgardian deities:

In fact the Gods were as puzzled by all this as the wizards were, but they were powerless to do anything and in any case were engaged in an eons-old battle with the Ice Giants, who had refused to return the lawnmower.

Also, I finally figured out that I am Twoflower. Evidence:

It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate beauty, he just appreciates it in his own way. I mean, if a poet sees a daffodil he stares at it and writes a long poem about it, but Twoflower wanders off to find a book on botany.

That Rincewind will stay true to his character. Even when he has a chance to be less cowardly, he does the expected…or the unexpected!

A fun book and quickly finished.



The Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milán


One of the complaints that I had after reading the first book:

Insufficient dino-action. Yeah, that complaint wasn’t reirst bmotely true for this one. Epic dino-battles shook the world like literally!

A quote that stayed with me:

Through the trees on the far heights emerged a colossal silvery-grey shape. Even the Companions gaped: it was a Tirán Rey, a bull Tyrannosaurus rex, most feared of all Aphrodite Terra’s dinosaurs. Even at this range Jaume could see the monster dwarfed Falk’s albino adolescent Snowflake.
“Beautiful,” murmured Rupp. “He must weigh seven tonnes!”
Jaume found a smile inside himself. “You shame us, my friend, finding Beauty where even we find only terror.”

The other complaints, such as the princess being a pain in the butt, remained as they were. In fact, she was even more of a pain in this one. She is improving but her getting her friends killed in every scene can get tiresome!

We finally get to see the Grey Angels in action and it is pretty much horrifying what they can do. I loved every bit of it!

I wanted to rush in to read the next book in the series immediately but found out that the author recently passed away.  Sad sad news but it made me want to save the last book to read later. Because there will be no more Game of Thrones and Jurassic Park hybrids for us!



Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde


Thursday Next steals people’s hearts and I am no exception. She gets into all sorts of literary trouble but handles it in a no-nonsense way. She is into solving problems and not whining. Next also isn’t afraid to ask for help or doesn’t judge people by their looks, species, gender, or whether they are real or not. I like her; it is likely that you will too!


Plus, the humor in this series is decidedly Douglas Adams-ish! Next named her son Friday Next. Has a pet dodo whose son is a hooligan and doesn’t have the decency to go Plock. He goes Plick just to be contrary! This book also had cameos by the Cheshire Cat, Hamlet, and many other literary darlings.



Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones


I was reading reviews for this book on GR and people seem to think it was dull, cheesy, and repetitive. I don’t get how it can take them 8 books to realize that! Since I will be reading it anyway, why bitch?



Endurance by Jay Lake


I wonder how I ever got along with the protag from this series — well enough to have completed the first book! She is annoying, reckless, rude, manipulative, and as if that wasn’t enough, she also thinks she is better than everybody else! Should I explain it all away by saying that is how teenagers are? I don’t think I should!


There were other issues that made this a difficult read, such as the copious amount of foreshadowing. If only she had known…if only she had done that…and so on! Aptly placed and lightly done foreshadowing is always welcome but this book didn’t have it.

The only part that made me laugh:

though five centuries past this had been the very pinnacle of architectural taste in Copper Downs.
A good education never went to waste. If I did die here, at least I would have the comfort of knowing I’d passed on amid high style.

The only part that stayed with me:

I wondered how it had been for the miners, back in the morning of the world. Had they broken open the crust of the world only to find a population of haunts and legends already awaiting them? Or had they brought their fears with them on first creating the Below?

Some readers might like the endless descriptions of everything that was around the protag at any given time but I didn’t!

So, there. If I do read the next one in the series, I wouldn’t be reviewing it.



Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs


An okayish installment since I wasn’t too worried about anything bad happening. After the horror stories we were told about Underhill, a visit to the place didn’t have that intensity or scariness.


Then there is the Walking Stick. I think the author got that it was turning into a deus ex machina and got rid of it — even if it took her the whole book to do that!


And, of course, Mercy didn’t shift. Not even once.


The good things about this one:

1. No Stefan. I have no idea why he was even introduced in the series


2. Adam finally realized what his pack had been doing to Mercy since like forever. I mean what he did next was the worst thing he could have done but at least, he opened his eyes.


3. A Doctor WHO reference!



4. The scary-ass little not-really-human but not-fae-either kid that the pack had to provide shelter to! He broke my heart by being so broken.


I hope the next installment is more exciting!



Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman




The book refers to a backstory that I read and reviewed before. You will find the review here.



The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross


Something about this series makes me think not-YA. It could be that the main characters are struggling with darkness and the struggle is real. Whatever it is, while the story failed to wow me — and I could see the major reveal coming from a mile away —, I still liked the book.


So, this is what I did in February. What have you been doing?

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review 2018-02-07 04:15
Unseen Academicals (Discworld #37, Rincewind #8)
Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37) - Terry Pratchett

The wizards of the Unseen University love their food, alcohol, and tradition which Lord Vetinari exploits to ensure that the chaotic football matches taking place get under control.  Unseen Academicals is Terry Pratchett’s 37th Discworld book and the last focusing on Rincewind and the wizards of the Unseen University, even though it seemed that they were of secondary concern throughout the book.


The wizards at the Unseen University find out that their budget is tied to a trust fund that only pays out if they play at least one football match a year, after realizing this means a change of diet they decide to play a game of football.  This pleases Lord Vetinari who then asks the wizards to organize the sport so it can be taken from the street.  But this changing of the game has an effect on the rest of the city, especially four workers inside the University whose lives and identities turned out to be tied to the success of the new version of football.


Although the wizards do have their share of point-of-views, Rincewind hardly appears in the book as well as The Librarian but the focus on Ponder Stibbons somewhat made up for it, they turned out not to be the focus of the book.  In fact the most important character was Mister Nutt, an orc, who was “civilized” and was sent to Ankh-Morpork to change the minds of people about orcs.  Yet Nutt was pushed into the background several times for his friends Trevor Likely, Glenda, and Juliet who had their own story arcs.  All-in-all there was a lot of narratives that created the story, but it all felt unfocused especially when it came to the satire that felt more like painting the numbers than what Pratchett had previously done.


While enjoyable, Unseen Academicals is unfortunately all over the place with the narrative focus and set in and around the Unseen University the wizards took a back seat.  Overall the book was good, but it just didn’t grab me and it didn’t make me laugh like previous books.

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review 2018-01-18 23:32
Making Money (Discworld #36, Industrial #5)
Making Money (Discworld, #36) - Terry Pratchett

The financial sector of Ankh-Morpork is dire trouble and Lord Vetinari looks to his Postmaster General to solve the problem, however he doesn’t want the opportunity but somethings are out of his hands.  Making Money is Terry Pratchett’s 36th Discworld novel and the second to follow the conman-turned-civil servant Moist von Lipwig who is beginning to pine for thrills and suddenly finds himself in the midst of them.


With the Post Office running as smoothly as possible and facing plain paperwork every day, Moist von Lipwig is looking for thrills and excitement in a variety of ways including scaling the outside of the Post Office and breaking into his own office.  Lord Vetinari attempts to sell Moist on taking over the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork and the Royal Mint, but Moist is satisfied with his life.  However Bank chairwoman Topsy Lavish changes her will to make Moist guardian of her dog, Mr. Fusspot, to whom she leaves her controlling interest in the Bank to.  Suddenly Moist is taking care of a dog and running the Bank and Mint much to his annoyance and that of the Lavish family and Mr. Bent, the head cashier.  Moist begins thinking about changes to the banking system but then is inundated with numerous challenges first from Mr. Bent, the Lavishes including one that wants to become Lord Vetinari (not Patrician just Vetinari), a former partner blackmailing him about his conman past, missing gold from the bank vault, and finally his fiancée arranging for an army of golems to arrive in Ankh-Morpork.  Soon Moist past is exposed, though no one cares, after saving the city from the golems as well as using them to base his new paper currency and is still alive at the end of the book which is the least he wants out of each day.


Moist is one of the most original characters that Pratchett has come up with and like Going Postal, I enjoyed following his story.  However, like the previous mentioned book this one is not up to the quality that Pratchett is known for.  While Moist, Vetinari, and Adora Belle Dearheart were well written, the overall plot and the numerous subplots just seemed to meander.  Pratchett attempted to avoid Moist doing exactly what he did in Going Postal by having him deal with other challenges, but they were a mishmash of ideas that didn’t seem to come together and pages were wasted with the Cosmo Lavish subplot that took up pages without really accomplishing anything.


Honestly, it was hard to rate Making Money because while I enjoyed reading Moist’s point-of-view, the overall plot of the book was just serviceable as it twist and turned based on the questionable subplots intertwined with it.  If you are a first time Discworld reader, don’t read this book until you’ve sampled some of Pratchett’s other better quality writing.  If you are a veteran Discworld reader then focusing on enjoying the point-of-view of Moist even though the book’s quality is just okay.

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