I cannot believe it has been nearly four months since I finished reading Maskerade…but Goodreads doesn’t lie! If my review didn’t feel overdue before (which it did), then it certainly does now…
‘I thought: opera, how hard can it be? Songs. Pretty girls dancing. Nice scenery. Lots of people handing over cash. Got to be better than the cut-throat world of yoghurt, I thought. Now everwhere I go there’s…’
Death, to be precise. And plenty of it. In unpleasant variations. This isn’t real life – it’s worse. This is the Opera House, Ankh-Morpork…a huge, rambling building, where innocent young sopranos are lured to their destiny by a strangely-familiar evil mastermind in a mask and evening dress, with a penchant for lurking in shadows, occasional murder, and sending little notes full of maniacal laughter and exclamation marks. Opera can do that to a man.
But Granny Weatherwax, Discworld’s most famous witch, is in the audience. And she doesn’t hold with that sort of thing. So there’s going to be trouble (but nevertheless a good evenin’s entertainment with murders you can really hum…). And the show MUST go on.
I went into reading Maskerade with both a sense of excitement and a little worry. A Discworld novel with a plot focussed on performing arts should be right up my street. I really enjoyed the theatre (watching and taking part) growing up. Did you know I have a GCSE and A-Level equivalent in Performing Arts? You do now! For the very same reasons, I was really looking forward to reading Moving Pictures. Unfortunately though, that didn’t really live up to expectation.
Thankfully Maskerade finds itself in higher esteem. Not only did the tale centring on the Phantom of the Opera intrigue me, but it helps that this is a Witches story! I love Gytha Ogg and Granny Weatherwax – they never fail to make me laugh with their funny ideas of the way the world works and their meddling!
Of course, Granny Weatherwax made a great play of her independence and self-reliance. But the point about that kind of stuff was that you needed someone around to be proudly independent and self-reliant at. People who didn’t need people needed people around to know that they were the kind of people who didn’t need people.
Maskerade features a variety of characters, old and new. Together they’re a fantastic cast (pun intended!). The combination of new faces keeps things interesting whilst the already established and firm favourites deliver the wit and familiarity of the other Discworld novels.
I love how humorously Terry Pratchett writes his parodies. He has the ability to take any subject and make it hilariously enjoyable to read. The Discworld novels are so easy to pick up and put down at leisure. They’re probably one of the “lightest” reads I go back to time and again. If I’m having a bit of a slump or find myself bogged down in more complicated plotlines, these are always great books to turn to for relief.
Have you read Maskerade or any of the Discworld novels? What’s your favourite?