Tag Archives: Terry Pratchett

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

I’m back in Cambridge, which means I can use my library card to break out of my rut! I’ve made a list of all the books you recommended – and now I’m reading other things, until the plan takes off in May! First up, one of the books I’ve been rationing: #69 Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett.

Ankh-Morpork is the Discworld’s largest, smelliest city. Its stench is usually enough to warn off invaders, but not when the marauder is a dragon. Faced with a fire-breathing menace, the City Watch swing into action to defend their city. Shame there’s only 3 of them, plus the new recruit…

One for the NPCs
In role playing games, both computer and table-top, characters that aren’t controlled by the player are called ‘non-player characters’. These NPCs may give you the last jigsaw piece, kidnap your party, or serve drinks in a bar, but their main role is to die a lot. In Guards! Guards! Pratchett has taken those characters and brought them to centre stage.

I hadn’t reread Guards! Guards! since I read John Scalzi’s Redshirts, another fun book which takes a look at the same sacrificial lambs from a different angle. Coming back to Guards! Guards! I had a different perspective, which is always fun. It makes reading a book for the dozenth time feel fresh. I’ve also played a lot more games since I read the book for the first time, and I can confirm that it’s fun whether or not you’re a role playing / gaming / fantasy geek.

Character development
Pratchett introduces a lot of characters that he later developed and reused in this novel. It’s the 8th Discworld novel, first published in 1989, and introduces (if I remember correctly) several key characters, including Captain Vimes, Nobby, Sergeant Colon and Carrot, swamp dragons, Lady Ramkin and the Patrician. It’s also the first book to really dive into Ankh-Morpork, as in the earlier Rincewind largely runs away from the city, the witches mostly stayed in Lancre, and the wizards in the university.

I reread Snuff, the 39th Discworld book, recently. It features many of the same characters as Guards! Guards!, and it’s interesting to see how they’ve all evolved. It’s hard to recognise the later characters of Vimes and Carrot in their earliest incarnation, and yet the seeds are there. I do feel that Pratchett doesn’t always ensure a logical character growth, particularly when he’s off and running with a new idea. He doesn’t usually reinvent people whole cloth, so the arcs tend to sort of work, but I do sometimes feel the bumps.

While Guards! Guards! isn’t my favourite Pratchett novel, it’s still a good book and a very enjoyable read. I’m glad I found it at the library, and I’m happy to break my slump with a new review for you.

I’ve decided to try to read and review all 200 books on the BBC Big Read list. You can read more about the start of the project or see a list of all the books I’ve read and reviewed.

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

I really like #152 Thief Of Time by Terry Pratchett which is one reason I picked it as my 100th Big Read book. Yes, I’m officially half way through! It would be more exciting if I hadn’t left so many of the chunky classics for later – I may only read 4 books next year: Les Miserables, Ulysses, Moby Dick and Lorna Doone. And then I’ll still have ItThe Lord of the Rings (which I’m told means all 3 books, at least The Hobbit doesn’t mean all 3 films) and The Magician to go. So something different is in order for 2014, but for now, it’s all about fun.

This is a book about time travel. About travelling forward in time at one second per second, and what might happen if you could go a little faster or a little slower or perhaps stop time altogether. Jeremy, a foundling left on the doorstep of the Clockmaker’s Guild in Ankh-Morpork, has been asked to make the world’s most accurate clock. It’ll be tied to the fundamental tick of the universe and so precise that no one will ever need a clock again…

Not the best starting point
Thief of Time is the 26th Discworld book, and it’s one that has some back story. You probably need to know who Susan, Death’s granddaughter, is to thoroughly enjoy the book. I’d suggest you read Soul Music first. It’s a light, fun read and it’s got all the grounding you’re likely to need for Thief of Time. You could also read Small Gods, which is my favourite, so I have to suggest it at every opportunity. It might also fill in a few more bits and Lu-Tze’s back story. And it features the bonsai mountains, which are rather brilliant.

However, I could be wrong about this. I’d probably read all the previous 25 Discworld books when I got to Thief of Time and that skews ones’ perceptions. Apparently I’m no judge of whether a piste is steep for skiing, either. I’m struggling to find the words to explain Thief of Time. I just love it, as it is, the thing and the whole of the thing. It’s not a book I feel compelled to disassemble, and perhaps analyzing it too hard would break it. As it’s late, I’ll have a quick bash but the short version is: I really like this book. Do read it.

Deep bits and shallow bits
I’ve read Thief of Time several times. Sometimes, like this time, I read it for the enjoyable story. For the adventure, which rattles along, and the neat physics. But there are other readings in there too. There’s a whole lot of stuff about the nature of time and the nature of self and identity, of inside the head and outside, how we know things. It’s pretty deep. And there again, there’s all the references to martial arts movies.

A book like this can tell you something about your friends. The ideas and philosophical issues it throws up are likely to boggle your brain at some point, and it’s really interesting to see who gets boggled by which bits and why. It’s fascinating to find out what people think is implausible, so if you’ve read the book, do leave me a comment. Personally, I accept pretty much anything in a Pratchett novel, and I think this one hangs together well. I enjoyed reading it a lot, and will probably read it again next year, too.

I’ve decided to try to read and review all 200 books on the BBC Big Read list. You can read more about the start of the project or see a list of all the books I’ve read and reviewed.

The Truth by Terry Pratchett

The Truth by Terry Pratchett

Back to one of my favourite authors with #193 The Truth by Terry Pratchett. I never quite know how to describe Pratchett’s books – ‘comic fantasy’ is accurate but lumps them in with just-played-for-laughs and self-consciously quirky books by authors like Tom Holt and Robert Rankin who just aren’t as good.

To recap briefly, for those who aren’t familiar with his works, The Truth is a comic fantasy novel set on a flat world where gods, barbarian heroes, wizards and guilds are all real. And now it has its first newspaper. Ankh-Morpork is a hotbed of intrigue, and now one William de Worde is poking his nose in, finding things out, writing them down and printing them for anyone to buy. The city may never be the same again.

Discworld + newspapers = ?
The Truth came out in 2000, the 25th Discworld novel. It’s one of the ones where Pratchett takes something out of our world (in this case, newspapers) and adds it, suddenly, to the Disc. The story is mostly in the effects of this collision. In The Truth, it’s not just a new technology that’s arrived, it’s a new ideal. The freedom of the press has hit Ankh-Morpork and it’s the start of its information age. 

Pratchett has written a number of ‘Discworld + tech = ?’ books (including Soul MusicMoving PicturesGoing PostalMaking Money and it looks like the new one, out next week will be in the same vein as it’s called Raising Steam) and while I usually enjoy them (particularly Moving Pictures) I generally prefer the books where the elements from our world are less obvious. That said, The Truth is one of my favourites in this genre, and I do like the enduring characters who have their first appearance in this book.

On writing
The Truth is a particularly good read for writers, as it’s primarily about journalistic integrity. Pratchett started off in newspapers, so knows rather more about the topic than an online hack like me, but it’s still interesting. In The Truth, the whole world of news reporting is brand new, so the early adopters are shaping the media as it goes. Using the Discworld’s tendency to pick up ideas from our world whole cloth, Pratchett can explore how people on both sides of the press relate to news.

One of the interesting things about the book is that it emphasizes that news journalists are just ordinary people with an unusual job. The phrase ‘no one believes anything they read in the papers’ pops up, usually on the professional side, while the flip side ‘they wouldn’t let them print it if it wasn’t true’ is repeated, too. Clearly, neither phrase is entirely true, but, particularly this week with the changes going on in the UK, it does give you a nudge to think about how passive you are as a consumer (or how skeptical) and, if you are a writer or publisher of any kind, even a blogger, how thoroughly you check your facts.

Now, this is almost entirely fact free, being a personal review of a novel, so instead of going into the types of sources that may or may not be acceptable resources in the internet age, I will simply close by saying that I really enjoyed this reread, and I do recommend The Truth, both as a great fantasy novel (although it’s starting to get a bit steam punky, as the Disc levels up tech wise again) and as a philosophical text.

While I’m on the topic of Pratchett, another shout out for his new book. I’m definitely looking forward to Raising Steam. It’s due out on my 30th birthday and I’ve pre-ordered it for Kindle, so that will be a nice present to wake up to. The first book in the Discworld series, The Colour of Magic,  was published the month I was born, so it’s a pleasing coincidence that the 40th one should be out on my birthday.

I’ve decided to try to read and review all 200 books on the BBC Big Read list. You can read more about the start of the project or see a list of all the books I’ve read and reviewed.

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

I chose #151 Soul Music by Terry Pratchett as my next Big Read book because it’s festival season, and this book is about rock and roll.

Soul Music is a Discworld novel, and while it features several recurring characters, it works pretty well as an entry to the series. In an Ankh-Morpork back street, a young man picks up a guitar, strums a chord, and a wild new music sneaks onto the Disc. Rock and roll is here, with its dancing beats and its rebellious anthems. It is the time to live fast – but can he avoid dying young?

Rock and roll is here to stay
Pratchett has written a whole string of books where a modern technology hits the Discworld. They’re usually stand-alone books and provide a good entry to the series. Soul Music is all about rock and roll. It was written in 1994, which is about when my personal music memory starts, so I was relying on a fondness for rock and roll from the 1950s and ’60s as well as music my parents played. I felt like quite a few of the references went right over my head but I still enjoyed the book.

That said, I do feel like this type of Discworld book, about the sudden introduction of a Roundworld phenomenon, chafe a little at the seams. Some new inventions get absorbed into Discworld well – like the movable type printing press from The Truth – while others, like the Moving Pictures are clearly destined to fade away. Soul Music is much like Moving Pictures. It’s lovely, and fans of rock and roll will probably appreciate seeing it done Discworld style, but ultimately you could read the Discworld series and miss this one out without missing much. It feels like a thought experiment, Pratchett writing out what would happen if rock and roll hit the Disc, and then tidying away his toys neatly at the end of play.

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes
Soul Music is the origin story for Susan, who is awesome and shows up repeatedly, she is Death’s granddaughter, and is thoroughly, strongly practical. I do love a hero who can wear a bit of lace and save the world with common sense.

Like many of Pratchett’s other main characters, Susan changes dramatically between books. In her case, she literally grows up. Like Captain Carrot, she changes enough between books that it doesn’t matter if you miss her beginnings – and you may get a little shock discovering them if you’ve seen her later, more evolved character.

I enjoyed rereading Soul Music. As you’ll have noticed, I rate Pratchett highly – he’s one of the authors who never write a book I hate. The worst possible outcome is that I fail to fall madly in love with his new book, like with Dodger, and go back to the merry-go-round of previous glories. Pratchett writes comic fantasy, with dragons and magic and wizards, but he writes with a strong pragmatic realism, with people who react in believable ways even to fantastic situations. The Discworld is a brilliant place to linger for a while, and Soul Music is it’s summer festival. Take it to the park, listen to a band, and dip into rock and roll and magic between sets.

I’ve decided to try to read and review all 200 books on the BBC Big Read list. You can read more about the start of the project or see a list of all the books I’ve read and reviewed.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

I’m late reading Dodger – it came out last September, and typically I finish a new Pratchett book within a couple days of getting my hands on a copy. Dodger has been sitting on my shelf for months, for two reasons:

  1. There was a lot going on
  2. I started it, and didn’t immediately love it

It’s easy to explain why I turned away from Dodger, despite being rather enamoured of Terry Pratchett’s novels – it’s that Charles Dickens again.

Dodger, for those who haven’t spent as much time with Dickens as I have recently, is named for the boy thief with the laughing face and the quick fingers in Oliver Twist. It’s a speculative rewriting of history, mixing actual historical figures with a completely fictional story, deliberately changing actual events to get a better plot.

Pratchett’s Dodger is a quick, canny young reprobate, who saves a girl from a beating an in doing so gets drawn into a world of wider intrigue where he needs to use every trick and twist he’s learned in the poor parts of London to stay alive and out of the reach of those who would snuff him out like a candle.

Too much Dickens, not enough Pratchett
Dodger isn’t like Pratchett’s other books. It’s not set on the Discworld, but it a somewhat alternate-universe version of the 19th century, perhaps the same universe as Nation (which I very much enjoyed, incidentally). It’s being marketed at children, judging by the suggested reading at the end, and certainly looks like it’s going to be a Pratchett retelling of parts of Oliver Twist. It isn’t. Dodger is an entirely separate and unique story, which has more to do with Dickens’ actual life than the contents of Oliver Twist.

Dodger is something of an odd mix, I found – I think it’s like a mash up of Pratchett and Dickens, like a writing excercise taken full length. Pratchett has an extra 170 years of writing conventions and tropes to deal with, so in writing a historical novel he’s had to abandon many of his enjoyable fantastic elements but can’t really replace them with Dickens’ tricks as they’ve become cliched in the interim – particularly what I think of as ‘is it really you?’ where a chance encounter or a detail mentioned in passing causes someone to start up and cry ‘is it really you?’ as they discover that the book only has 6 characters, and therefore their missing brother, aunt, benefactor, mother and pet dog are all in the room with them already.

I’m very fond of Pratchett’s Discworld novels and not very fond of Dickens, so it’s not surprising that I was disappointed at first reading. Beyond my personal taste though, I felt that there was something a bit off about this one – a lot of the characters sounded the same to me when they spoke. I think – although I can’t tell for sure – that it’s the Vimes Does A Speech voice, which crops up in the Vimes books when he starts to lecture. Perhaps everyone was lecturing Dodger, but it did seem odd to me that so many of the secondary charcters had this same tone when Pratchett’s minor characters are usually so memorable.

The plot didn’t immediately grab me either, although I did get into it towards the middle, and finished the book in a couple of days this time round.

Too much Pratchett, not enough Dickens
Pratchett is not – to state the obvious – an on-the-spot period writer like Dickens was, and he’s had to bend history quite a bit to get his story to fit in. I’m not fond of historical changes unless they’re either clearly marked (I’d like footnotes, please, with references and suggestions for further reading) or so big that and obvious that you can’t possibly take them as fact (like dragons fighting Napoleon, for example). Pratchett’s book drags so many well-known names (like that Dickens) into the story that you hope no one would take it for direct reporting, but it’s still not always clear. I don’t quite know whether to call the changes inaccuracies, as the end notes make clear that at least some of them are deliberate, but there are quite a few things which don’t ring true, even to my untrained eye.

One thing which bothered me – and this is possibly only because I’ve just finished Oliver Twist – is that Pratchett throws Dickens into the story, but as a solidly Victorian character. And he seems like he should be, being heavily associated with the reign of that Queen, which, in fairness went on an awful long time. In Dodger, Dickens reads like a young, hungry journalist of about 20. Even allowing for the fact that gents at this period seemed to carry that phase on into their 30s and possibly longer (see Dickens’ own Pickwick Papers for an example), by the time Queen Victoria came to the throne, Dickens was 25 and married, a character formed in the pre-Victorian era.

There’s no mention of a wife in Dodger, and it’s written as though Pratchett’s Dodger is the inspiration for the character in Oliver Twist but it seems like Dickens in this story encounters the Dodger some time after he would have written the fictional Dodger. The Dodger first appears in Chapter 8 of Oliver Twist, a chapter first published in May 1837, according to Wikipedia. In Dodger, Queen Victoria is mentioned as not only being securely on the the throne (accession June 1837, coronation 1838) but married to Albert (1840).

All in all, I think this was probably a good book (if you like Dickens, which I don’t) but it wasn’t a book you’d recommend to someone because they told you they loved Colour of Magic or my own favourite, Small Gods. It’s very different from Pratchett’s Discworld books. I imagine Pratchett enjoyed writing it, and did it for the love of the thing, and that’s a good enough reason to do it.

He has written so many books I’ve loved to bits that I can hardly complain that I haven’t had enough – although I do always want more. It’s like someone inviting you round for dinner regularly and putting your favourite foods on the table every week – it might take months before you realise they were serving their favourite foods and it’s all been a happy coincidence. For me, the discovery that Pratchett wasn’t writing to my exact tastes has been so long in coming that I really can’t do more than grouse, looking back at all the wonderful books I’ve had, that this one was merely acceptable.

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

One of the reasons I picked the BBC Big Read list for my reading challenge is that I was looking forward to rereading many of the books I’d read – and that includes all 15 Pratchett books on the list.

#93 The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett is the first book in his famed Discworld series. There are currently 39 books in the series, so it’s no surprise that this one isn’t my favourite (that would be Small Gods). In my opinion, all the Discworld novels are above average (particularly for the genre), and The Colour of Magic is an enjoyable read.

The book is a comic fantasy following the misadventures of Rincewind, a wizard who can’t do any magic but is good at running away, and the Discworld’s first tourist, Twoflower.

To fantasy tropes…
The Colour of Magic is broken into four books, which read almost like novellas or episodes in a TV series. In each, Rincewind and Twoflower encounter hostile fantasy characters (the barbarian hero in leather and fur, implausible dragons, the princess in nothing but a sword…) and, of course, have to escape from certain death at least once but somehow manage to live to run away another day.

If the book took itself seriously, it would be hard to stomach but as it is it’s enjoyably tongue-in-cheek and the world – even in this early form – has better explanations and more internal consistency than a lot of the source material, it’s rather good.

…and beyond
Ironically, the characters Pratchett created to play with common fantasy tropes are now better known and better loved than the originals.

While Colour of Magic is, compared to later books, quite raw, it’s still got the wit and care which characterize later books. When Pratchett is spoofing over-used devices from pulpy sword-and-sorcery books, you get the jokes because you’re into that sort of thing, and you get the feeling that he loves the genre, warts and all, and it’s the fan’s mix of enjoyment and frustration which has inspired the book.

I definitely think that you can enjoy the Discworld series without being a fantasy fan or knowing the genre, and I think that’s still true of Colour. However, many of the jokes assume a certain familiarity with the conventions of the genre and as the series doesn’t need to be read in order, I’d strongly recommend you start somewhere else. As I mentioned earlier, Small Gods is my favourite and also stands alone so makes an excellent gateway into the series.

I’ve decided to try to read and review all 200 books on the BBC Big Read list. You can read more about the start of the project or see a list of all the books I’ve read and reviewed.

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Another Discworld book, #197 Witches Abroad follows the adventures of Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat as they venture out of Lancre to the decadent city of Genua to stop a girl from marrying a prince. It’s a very good book and I do recommend it.

Myths, magic and headology
Witches Abroad is a book about stories. It deals with and confounds narrative expectation, discussing explicitly something which is a key part of many of Pratchett’s books. Like many other fantasy authors, Pratchett uses folk tales and legends as the basis for his plots and Witches Abroad confirms – for anyone left wondering – that it is deliberate, thoughtful and that yes, he is a very smart guy.

The book is also about using stories to control people and who gets to choose the story of your life. These themes are less explicit but nonetheless interesting as even in our world where one-in-a-million chances don’t come right nine times out of ten, we still run our lives as though stories are true: as though the beautiful must be virtuous, the good lucky and the bad punished. Even in Discworld it doesn’t work out quite like that.

About the reading experience
Pratchett books are a shared resource in my family, and we’ve been collecting them since at least 1995 so I was surprised to find that Witches Abroad was missing from the shelf. It’s available on Kindle, so I downloaded a copy and started reading, only to encounter one of the strangest reading experiences of my life.

Many Pratchett’s novels have been turned into audiobooks. The versions read by Tony Robinson (of Blackadder fame) are absolutely brilliant as he’s very good at bringing the characters to life. The tapes are ideal for long car journeys, and I must have heard Robinson read Witches Abroad at least 20 times. I can hear the opening in my head now, and in fact whenever I hear the phrase “Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett” my brain appends “Read by Tony Robinson.”

The only downside to the Robinson tapes is that they’re abridged. With books like Small Gods, I fill the missing jokes in as he goes along. Rereading Witches Abroad gave me the opposite experience – I know the tape so well and clearly haven’t read the full text in a decade so it was as though someone had taken a favourite story and shoehorned extra bits in. And yet, I couldn’t allow myself to get cross about it because the person who had ‘changed’ the book was the author, and the ‘changes’ were the original text. Very strange.

As a result, I don’t have much to say about the book itself – there are plenty of foreign stereotypes being played for laughs but was too bemused by the ‘extra’ bits to do much analysis.

I’ve decided to try to read and review all 200 books on the BBC Big Read list. You can read more about the start of the project or see a list of all the books I’ve read and reviewed.

Good Omens by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman

Good Omens by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman

I’ve decided to try to read and review all 200 books on the BBC Big Read list. You can read more about the start of the project or see a list of all the books I’ve read and reviewed.

Book #68, Good Omens is one of my favourite books, written by two of my favourite authors.

Good Omens is the story of the end of the world, the coming of the Antichrist and the final battle between the angels of heaven and the fallen ones.

It’s very funny.

More than the sum of its authors
Both Pratchett and Gaiman are justly famous for their humorous fantasy novels, but they have very different styles. Good Omens is a blend of both; the quirky, zany Pratchett bits mix with the darker, wry humour of Gaiman’s works.

Both authors have a strong grounding in folklore and myth, and the story of Armageddon is one of the most dramatic folk tales in the Western canon. The story has grown from the version in the Bible as it’s been passed down through the generations so that now it’s probably most easily recognisable in its mutated form. But even Hollywood hasn’t put on an end-of-the-world show like Good Omens. Special effects are so much cheaper in word form, and the authors use them to full effect, sliding from funny to deadly and back again in a paragraph.

That said, this isn’t in any way a horror novel, nor is it gory – if you’re looking for The Stand with a few more jokes in, you’ll be disappointed

A clever use of prophesy
As well as being a key part of Revalations, the coming of the chosen one, as fortold by prophecy, is a major fantasy trope. It’s usually handled badly, as though the author can’t quite make up their mind whether prophecies actually work in their world or not. I don’t mind if the audience is left uncertain, and the characters usually need to have doubts, for narrative reasons, but the author ought to know.

In Good Omens the authors do know – prophecies come true, at least the prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch, do. And they share this information with the readers. And then it gets better in ways I won’t describe because: spoilers, sweetie.

The prophecies are one of the things which make Good Omens not only an excellent stand alone novel but also a delicious antidote to badly written fantasy of all flavours. It’s one of my all time top books, and I was happy to reread it.

Mort by Terry Pratchett

Mort by Terry Pratchett

I’ve decided to try to read and review all 200 books on the BBC Big Read list. You can read more about the start of the project or see a list of all the books I’ve read and reviewed.

Book #65, Mort is one of 15 Pratchett novels on the list. I’ve read it before, but it’s not one of my favourites so I haven’t picked it up in several years. This made rereading it all the more enjoyable as there were parts of the book I didn’t remember at all, and having ‘new’ Pratchett to read is always a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.

A good place to start
Like Small Gods (my review), Mort is a good book to choose if you’re wondering where to start with the Discworld series. First published in 1987, it’s the fourth book in the series and doesn’t depend on any of the previous novels.

It’s also the first one to feature Death as a main character, and although it might seem odd, Death is a sympathetic character and his appearances in other Discworld novels are part of the charm of the series as a whole.

Mort tells the story of a young man who is taken on as Death’s apprentice. Unsurprisingly, it all goes a bit wrong and trouble ensues for both Mort himself and the world at large.

A good book
I’ve yet to find a Pratchett novel I didn’t like, but Mort is one of the ones I don’t love. It’s still a good book – it’s well written, interesting, well-paced and very readable. It’s definitely worth making shelf-space for, but when I’m in the mood to visit  Discworld I tend to pick up something else instead, even though Death is one of my favourite characters.

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

I’ve decided to try to read and review all 200 books on the BBC Big Read list. You can read more about the start of the project or see a list of all the books I’ve read and reviewed.

So my first reread and review is #102 Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. There are three good reasons for this: (1) this is one of my favourite books, (2) I already had a copy and was saving it for a rainy day and (3) it’s been a rainy day, literally as well as metaphorically.

Small Gods is brilliant. It’s a story about people and gods and where ethics come from and doing the right thing. It’s also a fast-paced tale about nearly getting killed a lot. Philosophy, it turns out, can be quick on its feet.

I’ve read Small Gods before, so I knew what to expect. It’s my favourite Pratchett novel but as I haven’t read the book in at least a year, I’d forgotten about some of the small details. As in most Pratchett novels, the joy is in the details. There are lots of little puns but there are beautiful, big ideas too. The ending – the last couple of lines – always stay with me but I won’t quote them as they’ll make no sense out of context. Plus: spoilers, sweetie!

Read it if…
If you like Pratchett, or Neil Gaiman or Diana Wynne Jones or Douglas Adams or any sort of comic fantasy, you should definitely read this.

If you’re interested in ethics and atheism/religion, and how the two intersect, then read this. It’s a surprisingly thorough and complex while being as easy to read and digest as a banana.

If you’ve never read any Pratchett before, Small Gods is an excellent place to start. It’s a stand-alone novel which doesn’t involve any characters from any of the previous novels so you won’t feel like you’ve missed out or worry about spoilers. It’s also – did I mention? – brilliant.