Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book review- Interesting Times

This is just going to be a short review because a) I forgot to review this right after I finished it, so I forgot a lot of what I wanted to say, and b) it's hard to review a Discworld book because they connect together so well. This particular Discworld book I'm reviewing is Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett.

For a bit of information about the series, I'll copy and paste some info from the Wiki page so you have some idea of what I'm talking about. Discworld is a comedic fantasy book series by the British author Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody, or at least take inspiration from, J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft and William Shakespeare, as well as mythology, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with current cultural, political and scientific issues. If you haven't picked up any of the Discworld books, I totally recommend them- they're my absolute favorite books and Pterry is an absolutely brilliant author.

To get on with the review, this is one of the middle books in the Discworld series and, like all the Rincewind books, could be subtitled "More Bad Things Happen to Rincewind", because hey, he wouldn't be Rincewind if bad things didn't keep happening to him, right? (Rincewind is the inept Wizzard of the Disc.) This isn't one of my favorite Discworld books, but that's just personal preference (I prefer the Death books, generally) because it is on par with all the rest in terms of plot, humor, and characters, so it's just as enjoyable as all the others. Speaking of characters, this book includes Cohen the Barbarian (you know, the extremely old barbarian hero) and his Silver Horde (yup, more old heroes), as well as the return of Twoflower (Rincewind's er... sidekick? Nuisance? Tourist adventure companion?). So yeah, amusing characters all around.

In terms of plot, this is a good one. Interesting Times starts off with Rincewind (and the rest of the characters, really) once again being the pawn of LuckThe Lady in a game between the gods. He's thrown (well, magicked) into a revolution in the Agatean Empire, Twoflower's homeland, and ends up prevailing as he pretty much just tries to run away. Yup, that's pretty standard for Rincewind, but this storyline was fun and interesting, even though, like I said, yet more bad things happen to Rincewind.

As for the writing style, well, it's Terry Pratchett and therefor witty and amusing. I give this book 4 1/2 out of 5 stars (yes yes, I know I use that rating a lot, but the books I've been reading lately all deserve it).

Man, it's hard to review this book without going into detail about who all these characters are and how they connect to the overall storyline of the Disc. I guess I should just say that if you haven't read the books yet, you should. ;) The first book in the Discworld series is The Colour of Magic (also the first Rincewind book), but I wouldn't recommend starting there because Pterry really didn't get into the awesome Discworld groove until a few books in. The early ones are good, but not as good as the rest. The first Discworld book I read was Mort (the fourth book in the series), so that may be a better place to start. Really, it all depends on if you'd rather start reading them in chronological order, or the way I did, which was through the different story arcs; if you opt for that one, there are the options of the Death books, the Wizard books, the Witches books, the City Watch books, and the Post Office and stand-alone books. In a series of 37 books and counting, there's bound to be a book or story arc you'd love. ;)


threadsofmagique said...

Love, love, love Discworld! I also like the Death books, but the Night Watch are my favorites. Interesting Times was pretty good, though. I've read it a couple of times.

Merily said...

Terry Pratchett is definitely my favorite author- I adore the Discworld books so much! I never used to like the Watch books much (those were the last story arc I read), but I'll admit that they've grown on me. I really like Cheery. :)

I'm just a sucker for any book with Susan in it, so I love the Death books; she's my favorite character, probably because I can relate to her so well (even with the whole hating the name Susan thing, lol!). I also really like Monstrous Regiment and Pyramids. :)

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