2014 Reading: #14 Terry Pratchett’s Raising Steam

Book number 14 for me in 2014 was Terry Pratchett’s Raising Steam, which is the 40th book in his Discworld series. I have read all 40 of these books and enjoyed each one of them. A large part of me is tempted to start them again from the beginning – what a fabulous series to re-read!

I have seen plenty of poor reviews for this novel, and I won’t write too much now, but suffice to say, I liked it! I did think that Sir Terry managed to mention almost every major character he has based a novel on – except the Witches – and that did leave me wondering if this is the last Discworld novel, which would be sad although understandable. There was a lot happening in this book, but I really enjoyed it. I listened to the audiobook version and I liked Steven Brigg’s narration. I have rated this 4 out of 5. I love the Discworld books.

Addition: Audiobook
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Waiting on Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday – or WoW – is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The book I am waiting for is:

Terry Pratchett: I Shall Wear Midnight

Synopsis:

A man with no eyes. No eyes at all. Two tunnels in his head …It’s not easy being a witch, and it’s certainly not all whizzing about on broomsticks, but Tiffany Aching – teen witch – is doing her best. Until something evil wakes up, something that stirs up all the old stories about nasty old witches, so that just wearing a pointy hat suddenly seems a very bad idea. Worse still, this evil ghost from the past is hunting down one witch in particular. He’s hunting for Tiffany. Andhe’s found her…A fabulous Discworld title filled with witches and magic and told in the inimitable Terry Pratchett style, “I Shall Wear Midnight” is the fourth Discworld title to feature Tiffany and her tiny, fightin’, boozin’ pictsie friends, the Nac Mac Feegle (aka The Wee Free Men).

Released: October 2010

I love the Discworld series and cannot wait for the next one to be released!

Details taken from amazon.co.uk :-)

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Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Addition: Audiobook

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

“Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses – until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into…a government job?” “By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it’s Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position – and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely.” “Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be a near-impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office building; and with only a few creaky old postmen and one rather unstable, pin-obsessed youth available to deliver it. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, money-hungry Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical head, Mr. Reacher Gilt.” But it says on the building Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Glo m of Ni t…Inspiring words (admittedly, some of the bronze letters have been stolen), and for once in his wretched life Moist is going to fight. And if the bold and impossible are what’s called for, he’ll do it – in order to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every human being (not to mention troll, dwarf, and, yes, even golem) requires: hope

This is number 33 in the Discworld series. As ever, it is full of action, comedy and adventure.

The star of this story is Moist van Lipwig. He is a conman, and is shocked to discover he didn’t die when they hanged him for his crimes. Lord Vetinari, the city’s leader has other plans for him. Instead of killing him, Moist is ordered to revive the Post Office. This seems a ridiculous task as the city has clacks. Yet a meeting with the questionable man who runs the clacks and the fact they keep breaking down leads him to take up the challenge. It is not easy – he has to contend with people trying to kill him, falling in love and fire.

This is another enjoyable Discworld instalment. There is great characters, competition, fire and angry women, and of course, the post! I liked Moist. He was a funny man, but also determined and clever. His previous crimes gave him a shady, yet ingenious mind that was very helpful for him, and very entertaining to read. Lord Vetinari was my favourite character in the book. His dry wit just made me laugh.

In the synopsis there is talk of hope. I didn’t find this a big theme throughout the book. I thought the main idea was to remember there are old fashioned ways to communicate! It seemed to me that Pratchett was having a sight a dig at modern technology, and I thought that was funny.

This is not my favourite Pratchett book but there was nothing wrong with it. It was funny and action-packed, and full of the genius that is Terry Pratchett.

As an aside, I just want to say that I really enjoyed the Sky adaptation of Going Postal, and if you can watch it, do!

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A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

Synopsis:

The Heroine: Tiffany Aching, incipient witch and cheese maker extraordinaire. Once saved world from Queen of the Elves. Is about to discover that battling evil monarchs is child’s play compared to mortal combat with a Hiver (see below). At eleven years old, is boldest heroine ever to have confronted the Forces of Darkness while armed with a frying pan.

The Threat: A Hiver, insidious disembodied presence drawn to powerful magic. highly dangerous, frequently lethal. Cannot be stopped with iron or fire. Its target: Tiffany Aching (see above).

The Nac Mac Feegle: A.k.a. the Wee Free Men. Height: six inches. Color: blue. Famed for drinking, stealing, and fighting. Will attack anything larger than themselves. Members include: Rob Anybody, Daft Wullie, and Awfully Wee Billy Bigchin. Allies to Tiffany Aching (see above).

The Book: Hilarious, breathtaking, spine-tingling sequel to the acclaimed Wee Free Men.

I am giggling even as I sit here and write this review – this is another genius book from Terry Pratchett. It is number 32 in the Discworld Series and the sequel to the Wee Free Men. The star of this story is Tiffany Aching, a very young yet powerful witch. She is fearless and happy to fight anyone. And who wouldn’t be, when your side-kicks are the Wee Free Men – angry, small, blue Nac Mac Feegle. They will fight anything – nothing holds them back. In this book the Hiver is trying to take over Tiffany, and she has to protect herself and others from it. The witch she is staying with can’t help her, so in comes Granny Weatherwax. Granny must teach Tiffany how to be a witch, and that way she will win.

This book is hilarious. I love Granny Weatherwax – especially when she is “borrowing” and has the sign “I aint’en dead!” She is clever and to the point, and very funny. Pratchett has started to show her frailness and age in these novels, which means sense as she is an old witch, but it would be a shame if she was to disappear from the Discworld. Tiffany is another fun character. Her focus on how she is good at making cheese is entertaining, and watching her discover herself is interesting. I like that even at 11 she is headstrong and determined, and so powerful! She is a good character. The best people in this book however were easily the Nac Mac Feegle. Rob Anybody is so funny! I love that they don’t need any encouragement, they just fight – it is genius! Their actions and words are hilarious. They are some of the best characters Pratchett has created I think.

Like all the other Discworld books, I was gripped from the start and thoroughly enjoyed myself as I was immersed in this world. There is adventure, fighting, magic, stuck-up little girls, drink, scary Nac Mac Feegle wives and Granny Weatherwax – everything a good book needs! Pratchett is not short of imagination, and this book is testament to that. He is descriptive so you feel like you are there watching the action and his humour is awesome. I laughed a lot during this novel. I always find it so easy to recommend his books because they are extraordinary in so many ways. Pratchett is intelligent, witty and a gripping writer. His books are never dull, there is always something funny going on and the characters are unique and often very special. I can easily give this 4/5. What would have made it better was Nanny Ogg alongside Granny Weatherwax, and maybe a larger role for Death!

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Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Synopsis:

Polly becomes Private Oliver Perks, who is on a quest to find her older brother, who’s recently MIA in one of the innumerable wars the tiny nation of Borogravia has a habit of starting with its neighbors. This peevish tendency has all but expended Borogravia’s ranks of cannon fodder. Whether Sergeant Jackrum knows her secret or not, he can’t afford to be choosy, as Perks and her/his comrades are among the last able-bodied recruits left in Borogravia. This collection of misfits includes the aforementioned vampire (reformed and off the blood, thank you), troll, and macabre Igor, who is only too happy to sew you a new leg if you aren’t too particular about previous ownership. Off to war, Polly/Oliver learns that having a pair of, um, socks is a good way to open up doors in this man’s army.

This is number 31 in the Discworld series, and one of the better ones :) The star of this story is Polly, who has disguised herself as her dead brother Oliver so she could join the army. She wants to go fight in order to find her older brother Paul. She thinks she is the only girl in the regiment, but then someone gives her a pair of socks to use as an area of her anatomy, and she starts to suspect there is another girl amongst the men, but who is it? Along with that, Polly and her comrades have become feared, after taking out a group of bandits. Polly sets off to war, and learns many things along the way.

This book had me laughing most of the way through. Terry Pratchett wrote another book that is full of adventure, humour and imagination. This novel is all about girl-power, coffee and a pair of socks! There are several images that will stay with me for a long time I think – such as Malachai the vampire having caffeine withdrawal symptoms, which I found very funny!

Again, Pratchett wrote a book full of weird and wonderful characters. I liked Polly, she was headstrong and clever; and I loved her band of brothers. Working out who was female was fun, and they were all funny in their own ways. I don’t know how Pratchett came up with characters like vampires who like coffee not blood or Egors, who mend themselves with other people’s body parts. His imagination is incredible.

I really enjoyed this book. It is one of my favourite from the Discworld series and I would highly recommend it.

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The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Synopsis:

“Another world is colliding with this one,” said the toad. “All the monsters are coming back.””Why?” said Tiffany.

“There’s no one to stop them.

There was silence for a moment.

Then Tiffany said, “There’s me.”

Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnaped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk’s local Nac Mac Feegle — aka the Wee Free Men — a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds — black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors — before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone….

This is book number 30 in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel. This is a Tiffany Aching novel, a young adult twist on the Witches novels. Tiffany is called upon to rescue her brother from the Queen in an alternative universe and for help she has the Wee Free Men and a Toad. She calls upon powers she didn’t know she possessed – the witch in her comes out as she fights the Queen of the Elves with just a frying pan.

I found this story slow to start but by half way through I was hooked. The Wee Free Men are hilarious! I loved that they just wanted to drink and fight! The end made me laugh, when poor Rob Anyone thought he might have to marry Tiffany – his fear was funny! I liked Tiffany too. She was headstrong, determined and inventive. She kept fighting and wouldn’t let anyone take/insult her brother – although it was OK for her too.

As usual, Pratchett has written a fantastic novel. It is funny, full of action and with great characters. I would have liked Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax to feature more in this book but Tiffany was a delightful character. This is aimed at young adults but that doesn’t come through or ruin this book. This has everything you would expect from Pratchett and is well worth reading.

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May Round-Up

I read 11 books in May:

John Piper: Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Save
Sarah Dessen: Just Listen
Vikas Swarup: Q & A
Nicholas Sparks: The Choice
Jessica Green: The Diary of a Would-Be Princess
Terry Pratchett: The Wee Free Men
Dorothy Koomson: The Ice-Cream Girls
Neil Gaimon: Stardust
Mary Naylus: The Dresskeeper
Erica James: The Queen of New Beginnings
Sarah Dessen: The Truth About Forever

I don’t think I read a bad book last month, which is always a pleasure.

Review Books:

The Dresskeeper

Library Books:

It seems that most of the books this month came from the library:

Sarah Dessen: Just Listen
Vikas Swarup: Q & A
Nicholas Sparks: The Choice
Jessica Green: The Diary of a Would-Be Princess
Dorothy Koomson: The Ice-Cream Girls
Neil Gaimon: Stardust
Erica James: The Queen of New Beginnings
Sarah Dessen: The Truth About Forever

Audiobooks:

I love audiobooks! Am listening to one as I type in fact:

John Piper: 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Save
Terry Pratchett: The Wee Free Men

Young Adult Books


As you know I am a reviewer on the Pretty Little Young Adult Books site, and here are the books I read for the site:

Sarah Dessen: Just Listen
Jessica Green: The Diary of a Would-Be Princess
Neil Gaimon: Stardust
Sarah Dessen: The Truth About Forever

New Authors:

This month I have discovered one new author, who I now love! It is:

Sarah Dessen

Top-Rated Books

Here is the most important part of the month round-up. These are my favourite reads of May:

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

The Ice-Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson

The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

All in all, this has been a good month!

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Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Synopsis:

Time is a resource. Everyone knows it has to be managed. And on the Discworld that is the job of the Monks of History, who store it and pump it from the places where it’s wasted (like the underwater – how much time does a codfish need?) to places like cities, where there’s never enough time. But the construction of the world’s first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And that will only be the start of everyone’s problems. THIEF OF TIME comes complete with a full supporting cast of heroes, villains, yetis, martial artists and Ronnie, the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (who left before they became famous).

This is number 26 in the Discworld series – another one I read out of order. Since reading this novel I have read over a dozen other novels, and as I sit here to write the review, this does not jump to the front of my memory. This is a shame because I love Pratchett’s novels, and this is the first time that I can’t fully remember the novel.

There are many things I do remember however: I loved Ronnie. The idea of the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse made me laugh. I liked all the Horsemen to be honest. It made me laugh that while Death was trying to round them up they couldn’t be bothered to ride out, and that their wives were holding them back. Genius!

Of course, I love Death. Every time I meet him in a book I laugh. I liked that Granny Ogg got a mention – I always enjoy the witches. And I love Susan, especially her interactions with Death. She always seems exasperated with him, she reminds me of a reluctant, moody teenager.

Like I said, I don’t really remember the story but the characters do stick out and I think that is important. For me, this is the weakest Discworld novel and that is a shame.

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Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

Waterstones Synopsis:

Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch had it all. But now he’s back in his own rough, tough past without even the clothes he was standing up in when the lightning struck…Living in the past is hard. Dying in the past is incredibly easy. But he must survive, because he has a job to do. He must track down a murderer, teach his younger self how to be a good copper and change the outcome of a bloody rebellion. There’s a problem: if he wins, he’s got no wife, no child, no future…It is a discworld tale of one city, with a full chorus of street urchins, ladies of negotiable affection, rebels, secret policemen and other children of the revolution. Truth! Justice! Freedom! And a Hard-boiled Egg!

This is number 29 in the Discworld novels and one of my favourites. In fact, I have just noticed that on the Terry Pratchett website, this is voted the number one book!

In this instalment we follow Sam Vimes as he travels back in time to help his younger self in the great battle. I loved this. I really enjoyed both Sam’s. The younger is naive and sweet, always thinking about what his Mum would say; and the older is much more cynical but we see a wonderful caring side as he looks out for his younger self.

I thought this was a great novel. It was full of excitement and action. And of course, all of Pratchett’s humour. I could only laugh at the way the old force thought. The picket line was a great example of how Pratchett’s mind works – pure genius. There is fighting and death and some great villans – and a young Fred Colon and Nobby Nobs. I laughed most of the way through this and was gripped. This is definitely one of the best in the series. Top notch!

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The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

Waterstones Synopsis

Maurice, a streetwise tomcat, has come up with the perfect scam. Inspired by the Pied Piper tale, cat and kid lead a band of rats from town to town to fake invasions of vermin. The rewards to get the rats out of town are plentiful. It works perfectly – until their little con game is sussed.

This is a children’s Discworld novel, and number 28 in the series. The star of the show is Maurice, a cat who has learnt how to think and talk like a human. With his new intelligence he teams up with equally intelligent rats to con humans our of money by paying the rat’s Pier Piper to get rid of them.

Once again, Pratchett has taken a classic tale and put his own spin on it, and of course, it was a good book. It isn’t my favourite, but there were some wonderful moments in the story – like tap-dancing rats and the rat-catches drinking a whole load of laxatives! I liked the rat’s names as well – they were just random words taken from discarded packets of food.

As ever, this book was gripping, entertaining and well worth reading. It can be read as a stand-alone book as the only character which features in any of the other books that appeared in this one was Death. Of course, being my favourite Discworld character I was pleased with this!

I enjoyed this book and think that this is a must-read series.

3/5

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