After starring in seven previous Discworld novels, it’s time for street urchin-turned-policeman-turned-nobleman Sam Vimes to take a vacation. But no reader will be surprised when Vimes uncovers a smuggling and trafficking business that’s thriving quietly in the countryside—after all, the policeman knows from years in the City Watch that everybody is guilty of something. Unfortunately, Snuff marks the degradation of some of the Discworld’s most complex characters. The city’s resident tyrant Vetinari, who in the past has embodied the role of the omniscient chessmaster, seems inexplicably to be losing his previously iron grip on his rule; meanwhile, Vimes’s butler Willikins, a nod to Jeeves from P. G. Wodehouse’s novels, has somehow morphed from the perfect “gentleman’s gentleman” to an unnecessary free-thinking, free-acting double of Vimes himself. And Vimes’s signature cynicism in believing that the policeman isn’t so very far removed from the criminal, while fresh six or seven novels ago, now feels stale and repetitive. So, while readers will recognize Pratchett’s style and wit in Snuff, those of us who have stuck with Vimes since Guards, Guards! so many books ago will find this novel uncomfortably familiar. – Andrew R. ’17
Fans of science fiction with a twist of Egyptology will really enjoy this entry into the Discworld series. “Pyramids” is basically an alternate history, asking what if the ancient pyramids really held magical powers, and what if those powers got out of hand? There is plenty of action, adventure, and comedy throughout the book as we follow the dead king – frustrated that he is being mummified, the new king and his camel (a brilliant mathematician; the camel, not the new king), and the pyramid builders as their world starts to unravel around them. Not for everyone, but if you like stories that are a bit “wacky” this one is for you. – Mr. Tony Silk (Harker teacher)
As Commander of the City Watch, Sam Vimes is one of the happiest, wealthiest, and most powerful men in Ankh-Morpork. And he owes all his success to his mentor, John Keel, who taught him all he knows nearly thirty years earlier. Today, as Vimes chases a dangerous murderer through the streets, both men are sucked through a time portal and land in the Ankh-Morpork of thirty years ago. It’s bad enough that Vimes is stuck in one of the darkest periods of the city’s history—but the situation is made much, much worse when the criminal kills John Keel before his time. While writing a time-travel novel, many well intentioned writers fail to come up with a convincing theory for how to send their characters to another era; Pratchett avoids this trap entirely by intentionally putting forward the least convincing, but most entertaining, argument I’ve ever read. Science-fiction purists may have a hard time swallowing his theory (which includes monks with brooms, quantum physics, and the Baked-Bean Tin of Universal Oneness), but any other fan of the Discworld will enjoy this City Watch novel as much as the rest of Pratchett’s series.
Captain Samuel Vimes, policeman and reluctant duke of the city of Ankh-Morpork, loves the thrill of the hunt he experiences every day as chief of the City Watch, but finds his role as a member of the aristocracy insufferably boring. Therefore, he is despondent when the lord of the city sends him off to be a diplomat in the far-off land of Überwald—but perks up considerably when the king of that region allows him to investigate the theft of a precious royal artifact. The Fifth Elephant, one of many Discworld novels following the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, is also one of the best. Vimes’ adventures in the gothic-style countryside of Überwald are a refreshing change from the usual urban setting of these books. Although he uses the clichéd characters of vampires and werewolves, the author gives them enough personality to differentiate them from the monsters of other modern novels. In addition, he gives the reader occasional comic relief by returning to Ankh-Morpork, where Vimes’ incompetent second-in-command struggles to keep control. Anyone who has already read the four preceding City Watch novels will enjoy this short excursion to a new, unique setting in the ever-entertaining Discworld. – Andrew R. ‘17
Thief of Time‘s pantheon of characters, including Death, his granddaughter Susan, famed warrior monk and janitor Lu-Tze,and his disciple Lobsang Ludd, have a problem, namely, the apocalypse next Wednesday. Armed with an orange cream chocolate in each hand, the heroes must fight the Auditors, a race bent on the destruction of humanity. This hilarious, wacky fantasy novel strays from the well-beaten path of dwarves, elves, and humans, in favor of creatures such as history monks, yetis, and Igors. It reminds the reader at every step that nothing is what it seems in a way that is entertaining rather than cliché. Fans of the ongoing Discworld series will see some old faces, yet those unfamiliar with the books will not feel lost. Anyone wanting a good time and a good laugh should definitely read Terry Pratchett’s Thief of Time. – Andrew T. ‘17
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch features a book-dealing angel named Aziraphale; his danger-loving demon acquaintance Crowley; and the eleven-year-old Adam Young, a resident of the town of Lower Tadfield who already commands his own gang. None of the three is what they seem. Aziraphale, the supposed epitome of good, has spent so much time with the human race that he may not actually be perfect, while Crowley, a servant of Satan, has embarrassingly picked up some positive qualities. Meanwhile, Adam, due to a mix-up at his birth, is the Antichrist, fated to bring about the ultimate destruction of the world. While Good Omens does contain commentary on the nature of good and evil, it does not read like a story with a moral, as each page is filled with humor and action. Occasional digressions from the main plotline, which often follow the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and a seventeenth-century witch, add a complex and thought-provoking element to the book. Any reader willing to tolerate some good-natured jokes concerning the Biblewill thoroughly enjoy this light novel with serious, philosophic themes. – Andrew R. ’17
The Color of Magic is merely a gateway into Terry Pratchett’s wildly popular Discworld series, but it is certainly not his strongest or smoothest novel. The plot follows Rincewind, an incompetent and cowardly wizard, as he leads the tourist Twoflower on a tour of the Discworld. As the entire story takes place on a flat world that balances precariously on the backs of four celestial elephants, it’s easy to predict that the book’s storyline will be hectic and eccentric. Unfortunately, this randomness is the novel’s downfall. Sudden plot twists and rushed battle scenes confuse and ultimately distract the reader from Pratchett’s witty writing. Overall, while avid readers of fantasy may enjoy this book, it is really only worth as an introduction to the subsequent and higher-quality Discworld titles, none of which need to be read in any particular order. – Andrew R. ‘17