Discworld: Book 9 – The Illustrated Eric (Book Review)

For World Book Day 2019 we honour a legendary icon in the world of Literature, Sir Terry Pratchett.

 

For his ninth foray into the flat world of the Disc, Terry teams up with Illustrator Josh Kirby, and together they produce a simple adventure story starring everyone’s favourite incompetent wizard, Rincewind.

Rincewind, as previously mentioned, is probably the most incompetent wizzard on Discworld, and after an altercation with a Sourceror (see Sourcery), the hapless wizard becomes trapped in the Dungeon Dimensions. Around the same time that Rincewind is searching for a way back home to Ankh-Morpork and Unseen University, a young demonologist named Eric Thursley, is attempting to summon a demon whom he hopes will grant him his customary three wishes; Love, immortality and to rule the world. Unfortunately, he accidentally summons Rincewind instead.

As a result, Eric gets a little more than he bargains for when Rincewind, and his rather hostile travel accessory, The Luggage, leads him on an adventure through time and space, one which he’s not likely to forget in a hurry. The moral of this enchanting story, be careful what you wish for!

 

Favourite Quotes:

“I run, therefore I am; more correctly, I run, therefore with any luck I’ll still be.” – Rincewind’s motto (p45)

 

“Little boxes don’t eat people, sergeant.” – Captain of the Tsortean Army (p83)

 

“Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.” – Rincewind (p128)

 

Eric is Terry Pratchett’s hilarious take on the Faust legend and one of my favourite aspects of it, is that unlike the majority of Terry Pratchett’s other 40 Discworld novels, it is one of those really short, simple, amusing and easy to follow stories that you can read within a few hours.

It also contains my favourite characters: Rincewind and the Luggage, as well as brief appearances from the other wizards from Unseen University, the Librarian and even Death himself.

Coupled with, the also late, Josh Kirby’s excellent illustrations this book is a must have for all Discworld fanatics at 5 out of 5 stars.

Looking for a short read for World Book Day, pick up an illustrated copy of Eric today at Amazon.co.uk.

 

See also:

Book 20: Hogfather

Book 30: The Wee Free Men

Advertisements

Discworld: Book 41 – The Shepherd’s Crown (Book Review)

The Shepherd’s Crown is book number 5 in the Tiffany Aching Sequence for younger readers, and is unfortunately the 41st and final novel in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

 

The passing of a powerful Witch leaves the borders between this world and the Fairy world weak, allowing the Lord Peaseblossom a rare opportunity, to overthrow the Queen, already weak from her dalliance with Tiffany Aching some years previously.

As the world transitions into a new era for the witches the Fairy Queen and her elves emerge through the barrier between the worlds, but turn back when faced with the iron horse. Lord Peaseblossom, angry at the Queen for sitting idle while the humans covered the land in iron rails, overthrows her and takes charge of the faeries.

Meanwhile a young high-born lad, who suffers from a difference in opinion where his father is concerned, has approached Tiffany Aching with the unusual request of becoming a witch. Tiffany, curious about the strange boy, agrees to take him on initially as a backhouse boy – male scullery maid.

With the aid of the local witches, including Geoffrey, and the Wee Free Men (little blue pictsie warriors known as the Nac Mac Feegle), can Tiffany defeat the wretched fairies?

 

Favourite Quotes:

“Witches know that people die; and if they manages to die after a long time, leavin’ the world better than they went an’ found it, well then, that’s surely a reason to be happy. All the rest of it is just tidyin’ up”. – Nanny Ogg. (location 834)

 

“My goat is cleaner and more knowledgeable than any dog. He can count to twenty, and when the time comes he’ll go outside to do his business. In fact, sir, if I can show him your privy now, he will use it when he needs it”. – Geoffrey Swivel. (location 1101)

 

“Being a witch is a man’s job: that’s why it needs women to do it”. – Tiffany Aching. (location 1236)

 

“They say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, don’t they?” – Geoffrey Swivel to Tiffany Aching. (location 1611)

 

“We are the Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna’ be fooled again!”  – Rob Anybody. (location 2206)

 

The Shepherd’s Crown is both the final instalment in the Tiffany Aching Sequence by Terry Pratchett and also the last ever Discworld book, released posthumously about six months after the writers death.

It would appear that Terry had prior knowledge that this release would be his last and this is evident throughout this story, combining sadness with the ever present satirical humour. A tale not only of endings but also of beginnings. At 5 out of 5 stars, The Shepherd’s Crown is a great send-off for a fabulous author.

It includes appearances from a number of the Discworld witches such as: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick, Petulia, Annagramma, Miss Tick and even Mrs Earwig, along with the usual Feegle characters such as Rob Anybody, Big Yan, Daft Wullie and Wee Dangerous Spike, before culminating in the ever present ‘Feegle Glossary’.

Pick up a copy of The Shepherd’s Crown from Amazon here.

 

See Also:

Book 30 – The Wee Free Men

Book 32 – A Hat Full of Sky

Book 35 – Wintersmith

Book 38 – I Shall Wear Midnight

 

Discworld: Book 38 – I Shall Wear Midnight (Book Review)

I Shall Wear Midnight is book number 4 in the Tiffany Aching Sequence for younger readers. Written by the one and only Sir Terry Pratchett, it is the 38th Novel in the vastly popular Discworld series.

Tiffany Aching is now a fully fledged witch having completed her training and is back living on the Chalk Downlands with her parents, but after the old Baron finally succumbs to his long illness she must travel to the big city of Ankh-Morpork, to find his son Roland and bring the new Baron home.

Unfortunately the Nac Mac Feegles accompany Tiffany on her journey and inadvertently wind up getting her into trouble with the city watch, when the Duchess accuses Tiffany of sending the wee free men to rob her of her expensive jewellery.

Something else however, has also followed the witch to the city, a mysterious figure, clad in black with no eyes and no soul, known as the Cunning Man. He yearns for the young witch, Tiffany, who dared to kiss the Wintersmith and will immerse everyone around him in hatred until he finds her.

Having returned home Tiffany and the Feegles find the Chalk in turmoil, the evil Duchess turning the Baron against his old friend, due to the influence of the Cunning Man.

Can Tiffany defeat her enemy?

 

Favourite Quotes:

“Feed them as is hungry, clothe them as is naked, and speak up for them as has no voices”. – Granny Aching. (p34)

 

“Weel, I think I did hear that maybe a piece of sheep kind of accidentally fell intae the pan when it was cooking and we tried to drag it oot but – well, ye ken what sheep is like – it panicked and fought back. It is my thinking that it must have been suicidal owing to having nothing to do all day but eat grass”. – Wee Honeymouth Jock. (p47)

 

“As a dog returneth to his vomit and a fool to his folly, so the criminal returns to the scene of his crime”. – Wee Mad Arthur. (p170)

 

“Poison goes where poison’s welcome”. – Tiffany Aching. (p193)

 

I Shall Wear Midnight is the 4th instalment in the Tiffany Aching Sequence, by Discworld creator Terry Pratchett and is the predecessor to his final novel ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’. Although geared towards younger readers it is probably better enjoyed by adults, or at least older teenagers, due to some rather darker moments not really suitable for children – such as the loss of an unborn baby to a rather young teenager, after suffering from a nasty beating by her father.

Controversial element aside this is a rather enjoyable tale at 4 out of 5 stars, which progresses the series of Tiffany Aching novels with an intelligence and maturity akin to that of Tiffany’s developing character.

As always it includes some minor appearances from the witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, as well as the usual Feegle characters such as Rob Anybody, Big Yan and Daft Wullie, culminating in the ever present ‘Feegle Glossary’.

Pick up your copy of I Shall Wear Midnight from Amazon today.

 

See also:

Discworld: Book 30 – The Wee Free Men

Discworld: Book 32 – A Hat Full of Sky

Discworld: Book 35 – Wintersmith

Discworld: Book 41 – The Shepherd’s Crown

Discworld: Book 35 – Wintersmith (Book Review)

Wintersmith is the 3rd book in the Tiffany Aching Sequence for younger readers, written by Sir Terry Pratchett and is also the 35th Novel in the overall Discworld series. It continues the adventures of the young witch Tiffany Aching and her friends the Wee Free Men.

Tiffany Aching is now living with Miss Treason a 113 year old witch, to gain some life experience completing household chores and learning witching, which includes riding a broomstick with stabilisers. She inadvertently dances with the Wintersmith after being caught up in the moment while watching the dancers whirl around the clearing in the forest, but now the spirit of winter (Wintersmith) wants her as his bride.

It appears Tiffany has become entwined with the essence of the summer lady, making her appear irresistible to the Wintersmith. He attempts to transforms himself into a human in order to persuade the young witch to become his queen.

As Tiffany returns home the Wintersmith follows, coating the Chalk Downlands in snow and frost and killing the new born lambs. The townsfolk need Tiffany to be their witch and put an end to the harsh conditions, but can she escape from the spirit of winter?

 

Favourite Quotes:

“Ach, crivens!” – Wee Dangerous Spike. (p25 & p351)

 

“We wuz huntin’ the haggis” – Rob Anybody. (p63)

 

“Shut your mouth, girl, something might fly into it”. – Granny Weatherwax. (p182)

 

“Where’s the booze on this cruise?” – A Feegle. (p365)

 

Wintersmith is the 3rd instalment in the Tiffany Aching Sequence, by Discworld creator Terry Pratchett, and at 3 out of 5 stars it can be enjoyed by both adults and younger readers.

It is a tale of romance between Tiffany Aching and the elemental spirit of the Wintersmith who has confused her with the Summer Lady, after a mishap during the winter dance. However Tiffany refuses to be wooed and must utilise all of the strength of the summer in order to defeat him.

The book begins like its predecessor ‘A Hat Full Of Sky’ with a simple ‘Feegle Glossary’ containing some definitions of a few of the more exotic words, and includes appearances from the witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, with Feegle characters such as Slightly Mad Angus and Wee Dangerous Spike, as well as your favourites: Rob Anybody, Big Yan and Daft Wullie. However best beware of Horace the Lancre-blue cheese and honorary Feegle.

You can pick up a copy of Wintersmith from Amazon here.

 

See also:

Book 30: The Wee Free Men

Book 32: A Hat Full of Sky

Book 38: I Shall Wear Midnight

Book 41: The Shepherd’s Crown

Discworld: Book 32 – A Hat full of Sky (Book Review)

A Hat Full of Sky is the 2nd book in the Tiffany Aching Sequence for younger readers by Terry Pratchett and is also the 32nd Novel in the overall Discworld series. It continues the adventures of the young witch Tiffany and her new friends the Nac Mac Feegles.

Tiffany Aching is now 11 years old and the time has come for her to leave the Chalk Downlands and gain some additional life experience from other parts of the world, just like other girls her age do. She travels to the woods near Twoshirts to work as a maid and learn witching from an old spinster called Miss Level.

As Tiffany’s potency as a witch begins to grow however, a mysterious wandering spirit, attracted by her power and strength, picks up the scent and begins to track it across the country. When it finds the witch, it will become her.

Can the Nac Mac Feegles save Tiffany from the Hiver before it’s too late?

 

Favourite Quotes:

“It’s a bad case o’ the thinkin’ he’s caught, missus. When a man starts messin’ wi’ the readin’ and the writin’ then he’ll come doon with a dose o’ the thinkin’ soon enough”. – Big Yan. (pg87)

 

 “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE MAGIC TO WORK HERE BUT IT HELPS!!!!!” – written on a novelty mug in the magic shop. (pg176)

 

“No problemo. We can get in or oot o’ anywhere. Except maybe pubs, which for some reason we ha’ trouble leavin’. A heid? Easy”. – Rob Anybody Feegle. (pg184)

 

“Change the story, change the world”. – Granny Weatherwax. (pg321)

 

A Hat Full of Sky is the 2nd instalment in the Tiffany Aching Sequence by Terry Pratchett and again although intended for youngster readers, it can also be enjoyed by adults too.

It is a coming of age tale at 4 out of 5 stars, where Tiffany Aching takes up an apprenticeship as a maid for a strange old witch living in the woods in an attempt to learn witching but ends up learning a lot more about life than she bargains for.

The book begins with a simple ‘Feegle Glossary’ with some definitions of a few of the more exotic words, and has appearances from Granny Weatherwax, an Ondageist (similar to a poltergeist but much tidier) and some of your favourite Feegle characters, such as: Rob Anybody, Big Yan and Daft Wullie.

It may be advisable to read the previous novel ‘The Wee Free Men’ first though as an introduction into the world of the Nac Mac Feegles, although it isn’t necessary as the stories can be read in any order.

Those interesting in reading more about the Nac Mac Feegles can pick up a copy of A Hat Full of Sky from Amazon here.

 

See also:

Book 30: The Wee Free Men

Book 35: Wintersmith

Book 38: I Shall Wear Midnight

Book 41: The Shepherd’s Crown

Discworld: Book 30 – The Wee Free Men (Book Review)

The Wee Free Men is the 30th Novel in the Discworld series by acclaimed writer Sir Terry Pratchett, and is the first of five books for younger readers, featuring the young witch Tiffany Aching and introduces the Nac Mac Feegle, also known as the Wee Free Men.

Tiffany Aching is a regular nine year old girl, living on a farm on the Chalk Downlands where she works as a dairymaid, churning butter and making cheese, while her parents and sisters deal with the animals and other farmyard chores.

When her younger brother Wentworth is kidnapped by the Queen of the Fairies, she claims her heritage as a Witch, just like her Grandmother, and teams up with the Nac Mac Feegle – Little blue Pictsies that are six inches high, with red hair, who speak Scottish, wear kilts and love to fight and drink and steal – to rescue him.

Tiffany armed with a large frying pan, a medicinal book for sheep – Diseases of the sheep – and a talking toad – on loan from a real witch – leads the wee free men into Fairyland. Once there they find monsters and dreams that aren’t quite what they seem. Time also travels much more slowly than in the normal world, where a year feels just like a day.

But can they all escape the Queen and find their way back home again?

 

Favourite Quotes:

“Nae King! Nae Quin! Nae Laird! Nae Master! We willnae be fooled again!” – A Feegle. (p160)

 

“They can tak’ oour lives but they cannae tak’ oour trousers!” – A Feegle. (p160)

 

“Them as can do, has to do for them as can’t. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices”. – Granny Aching. (p188)

 

The Wee Free Men is a great fantasy novel, with 4 out of 5 stars, that serves as a humorous introduction into the diverse and entertaining Discworld series created by Sir Terry Pratchett, and while mostly intended for youngster readers the Tiffany Aching series can also be an enjoyable read for adults too.

Featuring faerie tale monsters with eyes the size of soup plates – eight inches – and tiny wee men in kilts wielding pointy swords almost as big as themselves, with funny names like ‘Rob Anybody’ and ‘Not-as-big-as Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock-Jock’. It’s impossible not to giggle, but the Nac Mac Feegle must be one of the best Discworld characters ever created.

Also includes cameo appearances from two of Discworld’s favourite witches, Mrs Nanny Ogg and Mistress Esmerelda Weatherwax.

You can pick up a copy of The Wee Free Men from Amazon here.

 

See also:

Book 32: A Hat Full of Sky

Book 35: Wintersmith

Book 38: I Shall Wear Midnight

Book 41: The Shepherd’s Crown

Discworld – Book 20: Hogfather (Book Review)

The final festive review to be posted before the Christmas holidays is my all time favourite Christmas novel, Hogfather.

Hogfather is book number 20 in the long running Discworld series, created by fantasy writer Terry Pratchett.

 

The Auditors of Reality hire an Assassin to inhume the Hogfather, the Discworld equivalent to Father Christmas, and Lord Downey the head of the Assassins Guild delegates this seemingly impossible task to the unorthodox methods of Mr Teatime.

As part of his plan to ‘delete’ the Hogfather, Mr Teatime’s little troupe of criminals: Brothers Medium Dave and Banjo Lilywhite, Catseye, Chickenwire, Peachy, Mr Brown the locksmith and Mr Sideney the incognito student wizard, break into the Toothfairy’s Castle in a bid to control the mind’s of all the children on the Disc.

Just at that same moment ‘Death picked up a discord in the symphony of the world’ (pg56). In a futile attempt to ensure the continuation of belief in the Hogfather, Death takes on the guise of the ‘Fat Man’ himself, delivering the Hogswatch toys to all the little boys and girls, with the help of his glamorous assistant, Albert.

Susan Sto-Helit is Death’s granddaughter. For those not already familiar with this piece of Discworld mythology; Death’s adopted daughter, Ysabell fell in love with Death’s apprentice, Mort and it is from her father, Mort that Susan has inherited her unusual abilities. (see Discworld Book 4: Mort and 16: Soul Music, for more details).

When Susan discovers that Death is impersonating the Hogfather, who is missing and presumed dead, she vows to do something about it, because she feels that ‘someone’ ought to and because she was all their was.

Death has maintained the facade and instilled belief in the Hogfather but Susan must bring him back to life otherwise the sun will not rise on the Disc.

 

Favourite Quotes:

“Susan says don’t get afraid, get angry.” – Twyla. (pg18)

 

Mr Crumley: “I want you to go up there and arrest him!”

Corporal Nobbs: “Arrest who, Sir?”

Mr Crumley: “The Hogfather!”

Corporal Nobbs: “What for, Sir?”

Mr Crumley: “Because he’s sitting up there as bold as brass in his Grotto, giving away presents!”

Corporal Nobbs: “Arrest the Hogfather, style of thing?”

Mr Crumley: “Yes!”

Corporal Nobbs: “On Hogswatchnight?”

Mr Crumley: “Yes!”

Corporal Nobbs: “In your shop?”

Mr Crumley: “Yes!

Corporal Nobbs: “In front of all those kiddies?”

Mr Crumley: “Y—“

(pg177 & pg179)

 

“Clever isn’t the same as sensible.” – Susan discussing the concept of wizardly intelligence. (pg207)

 

The Hogfather is a great Christmas fantasy novel from the late Sir Terry Pratchett, filled with the delights of Ankh-Morpork haute cuisine, wizards and all manner of fairy creatures suddenly springing into life, such as ‘the eater of socks’ and ‘the hair loss fairy’.

Whenever Death is involved as a main character in one of the Discworld novels you know there’s going to be plenty of comedy elements that will have you chuckling to yourself as you read through the book and the Hogfather is no exception when Death stuffs a cushion up his robe and dons a fake white beard to ride the Hogfathers sleigh, and it is probably no surprise that this book gets the full 5 out of 5 stars from me.

Also, as usual with the Discworld series, you don’t necessarily have to be familiar with the other novels in order to enjoy this fantasy gem, so get your copy of the Hogfather from Amazon now.

 

However, for those who prefer movies to books, The Hogfather TV adaptation is also available on DVD and Bluray.