Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snuff by Terry Pratchett - review



cover- I always love the covers of Terry Pratchett books - and this one is full of imagery from the novel itself. The covers usually are, and I say this because we all know there are times when a cover has nothing whatsoever to do with the book it's covering. From the imagery to the colors, I like everything about this cover.

I've been a fan of Terry Pratchett for a bit over 20 years, or so - give or take. From the first time I happened across one of his novels, I was hooked. I think the first one I read was Equal Rites - about the young girl who ended up a sorcerer, unheard of on discworld. I think this is one of the few writers who can keep things interesting with over 30 novels in a series about an imaginary planet - a flat one at that, that rests on top of four elephants, who in turn stand on a giant turtle's back as the turtle "swims" through space. Pratchett used to put a bit in about the Discworld and how it looked/came into being in each book, but the last few haven't contained this info. If you haven't read any of his novels yet, take a look at one of the early ones, and pay attention to the description of the discworld, the rim, the way the waters fall off the edge of the planet and how the elephants stand on top of the's great. I believe that one of the reasons that I haven't gotten tired of his series is because there are so many characters within. The books are not all about the very same characters. There's a series within the Discworld series about three witches - Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magret for instance- Wyrd Sisters; there's the YA four book series about Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men, or Mac Nac Feegles (aka pictsies); There are quite a few books featuring the City Watch, including characters such as Commander Vimes and Captain Carrot and Lord Vetinari such as Night Watch and Guards!Guards!; among my favorites are the novels that feature Death and his granddaughter Susan- Reaper Man and Hogfather are two of them; Yet more novels featuring the Unseen University and a slew of sorcerers, including Rincewind. The Discworld series is an amazing collection of novels with an amazing amount of stories and characters - even better, any of the books reads very well as a standalone novel. Even the four volumes about the child to teen witch can be read in any order, though it's wonderful in order. You can pick any book in the series and have a great reading experience at any time.

Snuff is one of the latest featuring Commander Vimes and his wife, the Duchess. Commander Vimes is a hardboiled type of guy, one who grew up on the streets of a tough neighborhood and worked his way up the ranks of the City Watch. He's rather uncomfortably become a rich noble, because he accidentally fell in love with a duchess, and she with him. Though he has his own set of prejudices against the nobility and rich, he's now uncomfortably one of them, as well as still the commander of a police district. Always the workaholic type of personality, he's been forced to go on vacation - between his wife and the sinister ruler of the city they've convinced him to go on vacation to one of the estates he now owns....only there seems to be more than a simple vacation going on. There's also been some trouble with goblins...

The Discworld, as well as being full of interesting witches, warlocks and policemen is also the home to trolls, goblins, vampires, little blue men, dwarves, werewolves and any other supernatural being you can imagine. And they're all learning to live together in the great city of Ankh-Morpork. Only out in the country it's a bit different. The goblins are the lowest on the totem pole. They are the last species that people are comfortable about treating as second class, or even lower. They're considered dirty, thieves and worse. Only Commander/Duke Vimes is about to learn just how complex their world really is...

Seems a long time ago some goblins were rounded up and driven off. And now when Vimes is on vacation a young goblin woman has been murdered....there's some smuggling going on, a missing person, and someone is trying to frame Vimes as a murderer.

Most of Pratchett's novels have two or three storylines taking place at the same time, and they all come together to blend into a grand scheme of a plot. Pratchett is very good at switching back and forth between pov's, providing a fun suspenseful read complete with humor and social satire. However, for the first section of Snuff, all the action centered on Vimes and the country. During the second half though, part of the plot started to pick up back in the city of Ankh-Morpork with Nobby and Sargeant Colon (two of the oldest characters) bringing things together at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Snuff. I think once I started reading it, it only took me two days to finish, and that was interlaced with work hours, sleep and dinner. I love to read while I eat, but when I have a hardback I won't eat while reading. Don't want to ruin the pages.

If you're a Terry Pratchett/Discworld fan, you're going to enjoy Snuff. If you're in the mood to read something new, and have never read Terry Pratchett you should give this a try. After reading Snuff, you'll want to give the other 30 or so books a try. They're that good. In fact, going through the website, looking for book excerpt links is making me nostalgic to re-read some of these novels; and these are books that I've already read quite a few times, just for fun. :)

By the way-for those Neil Gaiman fans, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman long ago wrote a book together titled Good Omens. I'm sure this is old news for many, but just in case....I loved it, and my copy is so worn, that I've been thinking about buying a new copy, and I rarely buy books I already own (on purpose, anyway)

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