Tuesday 5 April 2011

Book Review (x2)

Officially, this ridiculously long post goes out to Amy, who likes vampire novels (there are vampires in one of these books, who you will think are hilarous) and if you at least read the first one listed, read Soul Music (or watch the cartoon - i have it, i can send it) or Hogfather (or watch the movie). You. Will. Love. Susan.

xkitourax 1:40 am
    cat need make blogpost.
    perhaps a book review?
Soroma Scull 1:43 am
    Write about Jesus.
    And how excellent his soup is.
xkitourax 1:43 am
    ....fox, y u no helpful?

After asking two friends (one of which gave me that above answer), this blogpost is going to be about two books, both by the lovely Sir Terry Pratchett (who has a sword made out of sky metal).

Look at that fucking badass.

Both of these books take place on Pratchett's imaginary world, called the Discworld. The Discworld is a more-or-less flat disc (allowing for geographical inconsistancies, of course), which stands above four elephants, which stand on the back of the turtle, the great A'Tuin. The World Turtle (who was shown to be female in the first book, the Colour of Magic. Or was it the Light Fantastic? I don't remember) has a small sun and moon that orbit it. Light on the Disc is described as being lazy, and takes its time spreading over the Disc.

 Pictured: Adorable

 On a planet of such unstable reality, all kinds of weird things happen. For example, instead of scientists, the Discworld has the Wizards. "Who are they, then?" "They're the brightest scientific minds in the world. u.u" Wizards are celebate, and the Unseen University for Wizards is in the twin city of  Anhk-Morpork, the biggest city on the Disc. On the other hand, there are...the Witches. "Three marriages and an adventurous girlhood had given Nanny Ogg thighs strong enough to crush a coconut." Of all the leaders witches don't have, Granny Weatherwax is the most respected.

 Not pictured: Nanny Ogg's 15 children.

 But these guys, as cool as they are, don't matter all that much to the two books I'm reviewing. Who does? This guy.

 Cheery bloke, ain't he? 

Book 1: Mort
 Mort is an excellent place to start reading Pratchett. It is whimsical, amazing and very, very involving. It follows the story of a young boy named Mort, who is taken apprentice by a strange man whose voice only seems to be in one's mind - never spoken, really, but remembered. Red-haired, skinny and described as being "made of knees", Mort quickly realises he is now the apprentice of a curry-eating, cat-loving, naive and rather endearing Grim Reaper. 

On the back of Death's white horse, Binky, he is taken to Death's house, which exists outside of time. There, Mort meets Death's adopted daughter, Ysabell, and his servant, Albert. Everything in the house (and in the orchid, and stables, and everything else around) is black - or varying shades of it.
Death is rather fascinated by humans, and when he heard that one may take an apprentice, he just had to have one. Of course, that means letting him take on The Duty. Of course, this goes horribly wrong.

My personal review: I fell in love with the Discworld with this book. It was beautifully-written, the characters were all solid and real. It really does get to the point in it all where you get so immersed in the story, you lose total track of time. Pratchett puts a lot of little footnotes in his books (seemingly to help new readers, and partly, I think, to make humourous points about bits and pieces of life he doesn't understand). Death is an amazing character, his innocent nature concerning humans sweet and indearing. I was enchanted by the story, although very amused by the number of ginger characters.

Book 2: Reaper Man
  Reaper Man has to have one of the best stories I have ever read, and has one of the best titles. I think this book is the first appearance of The Auditors of Reality, who are basically accountants of the univers. The Auditors (which, by the way, I have shotgunned as the name of a symphonic metal band) hate individuals. They hate inconistancy. What is the most inconsistant thing in the universe? Life.

After the events of Mort, Death is accused by the Auditors of having developed a personality. He is fired, and has to resume life among the mortals of the Disc. On a farm in the Octarine Grass Country, he assumes the name Bill Door, and starts working for the elderly Mrs. Flitworth.

Meanwhile, the elderly wizard Windle Poons dies in the Unseen University. Except he doesn''t. With Death now non-existant, he just keeps living - although his body is technically dead (he has to concentrate on things like seeing, breathing and sleeping). Strange poltergeist activity starts taking hold in Anhk-Morpork, from all the collective life energy.  Wizards, the Undead, Death, a young girl named Sal (whose nonsensical quotes are well-spoken around my house, and is an eerily correct picture of a small child), and the clairvoyant and much-feared Mrs. Cake - what else do you need?

My personal review: A brilliant story, and the plot twist at the end will have you laughing so, so hard. I'm not making this up. When I came to the end, and read the near-climax twist, I was nearly crying with laughter. Terry Pratchett's wit is never-ending, and when I was speaking to my eldest brother the other day, he mentioned something about Pratchett's first book - "I have to wonder if he had this whole world in his head that he wanted to write about, or if he just had this bloody stupid idea for a book, and that has turned into over 30 books." With so many things going on, you almost feel like you're a helpless observer, doomed to only view over this whole amazing world, but never able to enter it. The ending is tight and brilliant, and two of my favourite things comes from it. One of them is the line, "LORD, WHAT DOES THE HARVEST HAVE TO HOPE FOR, BUT FOR THE CARE OF THE REAPER MAN?", which held so much impact to me, I'm really surprised with myself. What else does this book's ending bring that I love? This little bastard.



Amy Asphodel said...

Reaper Man is my favourite book, like, ever <3 Thanks for quoting my favourite line ^^

My second favourite Pratchett book is definitely Hogfather. Gotta love Susan =D

Terry Pratchett actually lives not that far away from me (in the next county). I have been dithering on whether or not to go beg for a book signing, but with the onset of Alzheimer's I guess I kinda lost that chance. Such a shame as he's such an amazing writer and really a genius.

I also recommend Maskerade and Lords and Ladies (if you haven't already read them) for some gentle mocking of the Goth scene... ;-)

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

Haha, I thought you might have, but I thought i'd make a mention in case you haven't!

Terry Pratchett doesn't have Alzheimer's, but he has basically been told that there's no possible way he's not going to get it when he's older. I suppose that kind of puts a kick in the whole "use your brain and you won't get alzheimer's" thing. Go and ask for a book signing - if I mail you my Thief of Time, will you get it signed and send it back? :D x3


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