Around the Discworld: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #3)

Discworld

Today is my review for the third book in the Discworld series and the next step on a journey that Louise over at Lou’s Book Stuff and I agreed to undertake together whereby we read the entire Discworld series in order. You can check out Lou’s review here (I will be linking up asap).

EqualritesEqual Rites is book No.3 in the series and was a little bit of a turnaround for me.  I liked the first two books but I wouldn’t say I was bowled over, Equal Rites felt like it had a storyline I could get into a little more and of course Granny Weatherwax plays a role – and she is a character indeed.

My reviews for book 1 and 2 are here and here.

The main gist of the story for equal rites is that witches can’t be wizards.  This is a known fact.  Is isn’t possible.  So, when a dying wizard passes his powers and staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son – imagine the dilemma when the newborn baby turns out to be a girl.  Of course, it’s too late to backtrack, the staff has been passed on and now belongs to Eskarina Smith – more than belongs in fact, the staff has a force of it’s own and it seems to protect its new owner with a passion.

Enter Granny Weatherwax.  She lives on her mountain and prefers goats to people.  She steps in to try and help train Esk in the witch ways, unfortunately Esk has too much untamed magic and finally it seems that the only thing would be to take her to the Unseen University – a very male  establishment where the only way for Esk to enter is to be part of the staff, invisible, in the background, but secretly learning.

As I mentioned already I enjoyed this one more than the first two in series.  In fairness, it’s probably unfair to say I didn’t enjoy them because I did.  They’re entertaining stories with a whacky madcap humour but Equal Rites is the earliest introduction to Granny Weatherwax and already she is a character not to be trifled with.  I’ve previously read the Tiffany Aching series and loved them so rediscovering this earlier version of Granny was delightful. She is such a force of nature. one of those people who is always right, even if she doesn’t have the first notion about what she’s talking she never admits it – hot damn I wish I’d had a little bit of that attitude at certain points in my life.

Esk is definitely an interesting character but Granny can’t help but steal the show.

Other things worth a mention.  A certain similarity to the first two books in the series where a journey of two people is embarked upon. This particular journey could be said to be a ‘finding yourself’ type tale not just for Esk but for Granny.  She has some very firm views herself, in some respects she feels akin to the wizards – which makes the conclusion of this particular story so interesting and actually a little heartwarming.  I think Pratchett has a way of giving unbelievable characteristics to everyday things.  I think he could probably make a chair look disapproving or a stove cook furiously.  Firstly – the luggage from books 1 and 2 which came across as playful at times and like a determined guard dog at others.  Here we have the staff, positively dripping with stubbornness.  I love these little things.

In terms of slight reservations.  Okay, I wouldn’t say that I’m really experiencing any seriously laugh out loud moments at this stage of my journey through the Discworld but I like to think it’s early days and the world and characters are still being established.  I certainly found this story easier to get along with although that could be the  familiarity with a certain character.  I would also say that my experience with Equal Rites was that I enjoyed the first two thirds of the book more than the concluding chapters where things seemed to slow down for me even though, conversely the pace increased.  That being said there were elements that were greatly enjoyable – I’m thinking of the dual between a certain witch and wizard which was very entertaining.

Witches, wizards, magic, tricks, broomstick riding, magic libraries and a determined witch and her protege ringing in the changes.

I always think the first 2 or 3 books in a series are the foundations and so with still (ahem) quite a few more books yet to come I will say I have high hopes.  I feel like I’m starting to find my feet.  Let’s see what No.4 has in store.

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars

I bought a copy for kindle.

Around the Discworld: The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #2)

Discworld

TheLightToday is my review for the second book in the Discworld series and the first step on a journey that Louise over at Lou’s Book Stuff and I agreed to undertake together whereby we read the entire Discworld series in order. You can check out Lou’s review here.

The Light Fantastic is book No.2 and pretty much continues where book 1 left off (my review here).  Okay, I will preface this review by stating that at the moment I’m not totally blown away by the Discworld, but, at the same time, I had been warned that this could take two or three books before it really took hold so I’m still very hopeful. I will also clarify that last remark by saying I’m not disliking what I’ve read so far, so much as it hasn’t quite knocked my socks off in the way I’d hoped, or more to the point, whilst there have been quite a number of moments that have made me smile I haven’t had a proper laugh out loud moment just yet.  I do have expectations though and I suspect that as I continue with Lou on this journey we will become attached to the characters and familiar with the world in a way that immerses us much more and provides a greater sense of connectivity.

What I will say about The Light Fantastic is that it felt like it had more of a plot than The Colour of Magic.  There is of course a lot of travelling around but this didn’t so much feel like a series of strange or unfortunate events that was the overall flavour of book No.1.  In a nutshell, an object is hurtling towards Discworld on a collision course.  Everyone is doomed.  Things are desperate, the naysayers are out in force and Rincewind, the failed wizard we met in Book No.1, seems to be the saviour of the piece  Really, it doesn’t bode well.

So, in terms of characters Rincewind and Twoflower are central to the plot, together with the delightful and sentient piece of luggage that scuttles around on multiple legs and swallows threats like a huge hound of hell.  Seriously, I want this luggage.  We do, of course, make the acquaintance of other characters in this instalment, the most noticeable of which, for me, was Cohen the Barbarian.  An elderly gentleman who has lived through many an adventure and intends to live through many more.  There are of course other characters, not least of which the entirety of the wizarding world trying to find Rincewind for the spell that he holds in his head – a very important spell that is needed, without doubt, to save the planet.

I really enjoyed certain aspects of this one.  The forest – which has a decidedly fairytale feel and the whole visit to the home of Death.  I loved both those scenes.  Of course, everything Pratchett does is tongue in cheek and softly fun poking at the fantasy tropes but those two particular scenarios particularly stood out for me.

To be honest, although I’ve not been totally knocked out by the two first books in this series, I can see myself already becoming attached.  I like the humour, it reminds me very much of Monty Python and obviously Douglas Adams.  To be honest, I know already, that I will love elements of these books because I’ve read the Tiffany Aching series which were excellent.

I have my fingers crossed (and my toes) for book No.3.  Will it be the one to blow me away?  Time will tell.

For now. I’m enjoying this, but, I think all my buddies who cautioned me that the first few books were not necessarily the best, gave me some excellent advice and helped me to temper my expectations.

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars

I bought a copy for kindle.

Around the Discworld: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #1)

Discworld

Colour3Today is my review for the first book in the Discworld series and the first step on a journey that Louise over at Lou’s Book Stuff and I agreed to undertake together whereby we read the entire Discworld series in order.

So, The Colour of Magic is our first read and to be honest this is definitely a book where forewarned is forearmed.  As starts to series go this is kind of what I anticipated and a number of people had also mentioned to keep my expectations in check for this one as it isn’t the best that Discworld has to offer.  Like most first books this is a good introduction, it gives you a feel for the world, it introduces a couple of characters that I understand pop up again throughout the series and it demonstrates the madcap, quirky humour so you can get an idea if this will be something for you or not.

I confess that it took me a little while to get into this one, I don’t know why exactly, but I swear that I must have gone back to the beginning at least four times before I finally got on board.  After that little hiccup the rest was a very easy story to get along with although the plot is a little jumpy.  This doesn’t feel so much like a coherent plot as a series of incidents that introduce us to places and characters.

The main characters are Rincewind and Twoflower.  Rincewind is a wizard, although not a very competent one, and Twoflower is a tourist who has a surprising lack of fear for his own personal safety, by which I mean that he’s not so much courageous as simply oblivious to danger of any sort.  I must say that I love that Pratchett starts his introduction to the world with a story that follows a tourist – it’s really just so appropriate because as a new reader of a very well established world I definitely feel like a tourist.  My one wish – how I would love some luggage of the kind that Twoflower owns, luggage that you can’t lose.  These two characters become inextricably linked.  Twoflower hires Rincewind to be his guide to Discworld and whilst Rincewind has notions of double crossing his gullible would-be employer it soon becomes clear that he has instead become responsible for his safety and so the two embark on a series of (mis)adventures that usually involve scrapes with death – and, yes, we are also introduced to Death.

First impressions.  I liked this, I wasn’t totally bowled over but nor was I expecting to be.  I did find myself smiling at quite a lot of the descriptions, characters and humour, I mean, I wasn’t outright belly laughing but I do feel like this is a series that I could see myself really sinking in to.  I have to say that this really put me in mind of Monty Python, just a little bit crazy where it feels like literally anything can, and will, happen.  And, I loved some of the creativity, I mean, there’s a lot of imagination crammed in and little plays on tropes, dragons that only exist if you can imagine them or Gods that can’t be invoked by name.  The other thing that really stood out to me was that, for a book that was written not much shy of 40 years ago, this doesn’t feel like it’s aged badly at all.

Anyway, those are my initial impressions of the first book of the series.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, there doesn’t feel to be a plot that you can really become involved with.  It feels a little flighty and the characters seem to fall into trouble and get out of it with equal alacrity – and yet, although I mention that as a slight issue at the same time it feels fitting in regard to the crazy mixed up nature of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this.  It didn’t totally wow me and at this point I wonder, if I’d picked this up years ago, or if I’d not already read some of the other storylines and loved them, would I carry on after picking this one up?  I’d like to think the answer to that is yes and I do always like to give the first book in a series some leeway so I’m fairly certain that I would.  I look forward to reading and discussing No.2 this month.

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars

I bought a copy through Audible and actually really enjoyed the narration.  I have #2 to read on kindle so it will be interesting to compare the two different formats.

New Endeavour: Around the Discworld (in 41 months)

Discworld

For some time I’ve wanted to read all the Discworld books in order. I’ve read a few already from the Tiffany Aching series but never quite gathered the momentum to start the series from the beginning and work my way through the lot (in spite of lots of blogger friends recommending their personal favourites).  Then I got talking to a fellow blogger, Louise over at Lou’s Book Stuff (be sure to check out her lovely blog) and, likewise, she also wants to work her way around the Discworld.  So, we came up with a plan to nudge ourselves in the right direction and also to encourage each other to go adventuring and so ‘Around the Discworld in 41 Months’ was born.  As titles go, it’s a little bit of a mouthful but at the same time it feels oddly ‘Pratchett-appropriate’.

Unlike Phileas Fogg we’re not attempting to travel the Discworld at breakneck speed, instead, like the turtle above, this is going to be a very chilled, none-challenge like endeavour.  I find over ambitious plans usually take the route of failure on my part, and sometimes life has other plans for us, so we’re only intending to read one book a month and yes that does mean it’s going to be a rather long trip.  So, we’ve packed our trunks and worked out a travel plan.

Starting on the 1st April we’re going to pick up one book a month until the series is complete.  The aim is to review each book towards the end of the month and compare our thoughts.  Very simple, no stress.  We’re planning on reading the series in chronological order rather than by theme because we want to discover the world in the same way Pratchett wrote it.  If, like us, this is a journey you’ve always fancied making but kept putting off, and you want to join in, then all are most welcome.

The first book in the series is The Colour of Magic and here’s the description  together with one of the many available covers:

Colour3Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried through space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown).

If you’re new to the Discworld don’t worry, you’re not alone . . . Twoflower is the Discworld’s first tourist, he’s exceptionally naive and about to get himself into an array of dangerous and fantastical situations on his travels.

And if that didn’t sound fateful enough, it’s the spectacularly inept wizard, Rincewind who is charged with safely chaperoning Twoflower and his Luggage (a walking suitcase that has half a mind of its own and a homicidal attitude to anything threatening) during his visit.

Safe to say chaos ensues…

The Discworld novels can be read in any order but The Colour of Magic is the first Discworld book. It is also the starting point in the Wizards collection, followed by The Light Fantastic.

Friday Face Off : Happy Holidays, One and All

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Freebie

This week I’ve gone for a book that is very seasonal.  It’s a book that I haven’t read but that I would like to read.  The Hogfather (Discworld #20) by Terry Pratchett.  And, here a few of the covers:

My favourite – difficult to choose – is:

Hog4

Do you have a favourite?

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – Dressed in White – could be a person could be a landscape – or something else completely?

2021

January

Vintage Sci-Fi month – if you’re taking part you could try and find some vintage style covers

1st – Dressed in White – could be a person could be a landscape – or something else completely?

8th – Books with ‘Moon’ in the Title

15th – An Aerial encounter – spaceships and explosions

22nd – An Alien Encounter – ‘we come in peace’ or maybe not.

29th – A favourite classic or vintage sci-fi

February

5th – A Book with a romance that you enjoyed

12th – Furry – a beast, something cuddly, or a fur covering

19th – Serpentine – could be a snake, could be a snake-like font, could be a snakeskin style cover

26th – A book with ‘Magic’ in the Title

March

5th – March is named for the Roman God of War – a Roman style cover or a cover with a God or Gods or simply a book about war

12th – Middle Grade – choose whatever pleases you

19th – Ruin or derelict, old and worn, could be the book itself, a building, a place

26th – A picture within a picture

April

2nd – A train or tram – travelling down the track, could be old style, futuristic, overhead, down below.

9th – Cartoonish or graphic

16th – I have to have it – a cover that gave you ‘grabby hands’

23rd – Your current read (if it has covers to compare) or any recent read

30th– A series that you love – highlight all the books in the series

May

Month of Wyrd and Wonder

7th – A Series where the cover changed midway through – which style do you prefer most

14th – The earliest fantasy you recall reading – or the first fantasy book you really loved, maybe the book that kickstarted your love of fantasy

21st – The Top Hat

28th – The Hood

June

4th – The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot.

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy

July

2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

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