Tag: Terry Pratchett

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Disappointing Books

Hi!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday so far!
Today I wanted to do something a little different – it’s another meme frequenting the world of blogging and I’m excited to dive in!! Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish for the purpose of sharing lists about a variety of book-related topics.
Personally, I feel like I spend a lot of time talking about books I love and enjoy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! After all, I am not intentionally going to pick up a book I know I am not going to like.
That being said, sometimes with the best will in the world, we cannot love everything. Books that other people rave about, or books you think you will really enjoy just don’t always cut the mustard. (This is a really bizarre expression, but I love it!) These books are the feature of today’s post, so let’s get to it!
I’m writing the list in reverse order, so I’m starting with the least offensive books:-
 

10. American Gods – Neil Gaiman

American Gods
I think I’ll get some hate on this one. It is not that I didn’t like it. I did. I DID, OKAY?! I just didn’t love it… and I really thought (hoped) I would. This is a book that has been talked about a lot this year and perhaps the hype got my hopes up. It’s an okay read – and I would probably pick it up again (as has been recommended to me)… but not yet.
 

9. Eric – Terry Pratchett

Eric
Again, this is a book in which I enjoyed certain parts of, but not all. Towards the end of the book, Rincewind and Eric have to make their way through Hell back to the Discworld. I particularly loved this part as Hell was basically run like an office, with memos, policy statements and torture by boredom instead of the traditional variety of physical methods. Working in an office for 35 hours a week, I saw the humour in this, but not much else. It isn’t a bad book, but not one of Pratchett’s finest in my humble opinion.
 

8. Moving Pictures – Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures
It’s bad enough having one Pratchett book on here, never mind two!!
I just found this one to be really slow. At school I studied a lot of theatre so this parody of the magic of Hollywood should have been right up my street. Sad to say, I found it a bit dull.
 

7. The Inheritance Cycle series – Christopher Paolini


 
I started this series whilst studying my A-Levels, and I have fond memories of reading Eragon whilst on break duty, supervising the kids in the younger years.
I think by the time I came to read Eldest I had outgrown the series – I found it a little bit childish and ultimately, I have given up on it. If I had read it sooner I probably would have enjoyed it.
 

6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
My dad would absolutely hate me if I knew this was on my list of most disappointing books. I don’t mind the film so much, but I find it really silly. It’s not supposed to be a book you take seriously, sure. I just didn’t enjoy it all that much.
 

5. The Great Iron War Series – Dean Wilson


 
I started this series this year. I also DNF’d it this year. The foundations of the series are good – I love the base plot and the motivations of the characters. What I dislike about the books is how repetitive and unrealistic they are.
“Well damn, the enemy broke my super expensive submarine. Good job I kept an arsenal of weapons and a barrage balloon on standby… you know, just in case.”
Right. Sounds legit, no?

4. The Books of Pellinor – Alison Croggon


I really enjoyed three-quarters of this series. Guess which one let me down.
The Singing, of course. The build-up to this huge battle between “The Chosen One” and the darkness begins early on and you know what? By the time the battle actually came Alison must have realised she only had about 12 pages left in her, rushed the ending very badly, and for me, the whole series just fell flat on its face. I was so disappointed, as this had so much promise.

3. Magician’s Guild – Trudi Canavan

Magician's Guild
Now we are getting to the really bad books. This was a DNF pretty much straight away as I couldn’t get into it. There isn’t much more to it than that.
 

2. The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go
The idea of a world in which you can read minds sounds both fantastic and scary right?! I thought so too, but this was also a DNF straight away. I seem to recall I thought it came across a bit childish, but I attempted this years and years and years ago and truth be told, I’ve erased the painful memory of trying to read this from my mind.
 

1. The Darkness that Comes Before – Scott Bakker

The Darkness that Comes Before
What makes this book the worst on my list is that by every right, I should have enjoyed it. I felt so strongly that I should, I ended up forcing myself to read it and that was a mistake. I’ve even attempted a re-read years later and I cannot get into it. I don’t like the main character; I find the fantasy world confusing… the list goes on. It doesn’t get any better. I can honestly say that whilst I am sure someone out there loves it… I don’t. It gets the top prize for being the worst book I ever read.
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So that makes up my list of the Top Ten Most Disappointing Books!!
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The important thing to remember is that everybody has different tastes and we are all entitled to our opinions. I’m basically saying don’t hate on me for any of my choices, pretty please?
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with me?
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Top 5 Inspirational Quotes by Terry Pratchett

So… WordPress very kindly informed me that my last post published this morning, Down the TBR Hole #5 was my fiftieth blog post! Hasn’t that gone pretty fast?!
I decided, in order to celebrate the occasion, I wanted to share with you my top 5 quotes by one of my favourite authors. To be honest, it isn’t just his ability to put pen to paper and write hilariously witty novels, all the while administering a good kick in the teeth to social issues like racism, sexism and corruption that I love. It was his attitude to life I admire.
Some of you may not know about Terry’s background.
At primary school he was told he would never amount to anything and as a teenager he left school with no qualifications. It must have been difficult to make your way through life with nothing to testify your ability. You certainly couldn’t do it now.
Whilst he had taken an interest in writing from a young age, he worked in a library before he started up in journalism. It was through his journalism role that he handed over his manuscript of The Carpet People to Peter Bander van Duren, which became his first published novel.
The point I am making is this. Terry was a grafter. He was by no means defined as (though I dispute) intellectually exceptional and he had far less of an education than the vast majority of people, but did he let that stop him? No. His determination is what inspires me. Just because he didn’t have an education, it doesn’t mean he didn’t know his shit. Here are just a select few of the things he had to say about life:-
Terry Pratchett insanityTerry Pratchett knowledge and ignoranceTerry Pratchett Light & DarkTerry Pratchett Open Mind QuoteTerry Pratchett Wisdom quote
These are just a select few of my favourite quotes – and there are plenty of them. Punch it into Google (other search engines are available) if you don’t believe me.
If we can all adopt a little of Pratchett’s attitude, I think the world will go a long way. Wouldn’t you agree?
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Review: Men At Arms – Terry Pratchett

If you’re a lover of all things Fantasy, Terry Pratchett is a fantastic author to fall back on if you’re looking for a fabulous read. The Discworld series of books are all based on the same fictional world, roaming through time and space on the back of four elephants, which are in turn carried on the back of A’tuin, the Great World Turtle. One of my favourite things about the series is that the books don’t really depend on you having read any of the others, so anyone can pick one up and not be lost. One slight drawback to this is that for devoted readers, you get to read the explanation as to why light travels slowly over the Discworld again and again. And again, just for good measure.

Men at Arms
GoodReads – Men At Arms

A Young Dwarf’s Dream

Corporal Carrot has been promoted! He’s now in charge of the new recruits guarding Ankh-Morpork, Discworld’s greatest city, from Barbarian Tribes, Miscellaneous Marauders, unlicensed Thieves, and such. It’s a big job, particularly for an adopted dwarf.

But an even bigger job awaits. An ancient document has just revealed that Ankh-Morpork, ruled for decades by Disorganized crime, has a secret sovereign! And his name is Carrott…

And so begins the most awesome epic encounter of all time, or at least all afternoon, in which the fate of a city—indeed of the universe itself!—depends on a young man’s courage, an ancient sword’s magic, and a three-legged poodle’s bladder.

 

My Thoughts…

Men At Arms is the second book following the adventures of the City Guard of Ankh-Morpork. Our main character Carrot, born human was adopted as a dwarf and joined the Watch to make a man of himself. As mentioned above, whilst it may be helpful to have read the first book for backstories of the guards, it is not essential at all. Carrot has now been promoted to Corporal and the City Guard is recruiting. Captain Vimes is getting married to the richest, most dragon-loving woman in the city and is due to retire. Vimes is a man very set in his ways; whilst he tries to adapt to his new life as a hobnobbing gentleman, he struggles to lose his attachment to the Watch. He also doesn’t like the new recruits, a troll, a dwarf and a woman. Vetinari, the City’s leader has decided to champion equal opportunities for all.

When a mysterious weapon goes missing and murders start sprouting up in Ankh-Morpork, despite their differences, can the guards rally themselves to hunt the killer down?

I admire how Pratchett manages to drop in  important themes within the utterly whimsical, comical and outrageous world that is the Discworld. Race is a topic that comes up throughout the book. Dwarves and trolls hate each other. Why? At some battle a long long time ago each side accused the other of foul play. Well, that’s how it started. In today’s society, dwarves and trolls hate each other because their ancestors have successfully hated each other for centuries. Why break tradition?

Not only is race challenged as a topical issue, governmental corruption also features massively. Ankh-Morpork is a corrupt city through and through. Home to the Assassin’s Guild, the  Thieves Guild and even the Alchemist’s Guild, to mention but a few names, the city thrives on money. For a fee, you can arrange for a certain somebody to disappear. For a fee, you can walk the streets safely in the assurance you won’t get robbed. Nobody  can guarantee your safety from flying debris if you walk past the Alchemist’s Guild, however. If you happen to chance your arm robbing somebody and you don’t have a license to do so, you had best pray it’s the Guards that get you before the Thieves Guild.

Here are some of my favourite quotes of the book:-

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Colon thought Carrot was simple. Carrot often struck people as simple. And he was. Where people went wrong was thinking that simple meant the same thing as stupid.

The Librarian was, of course, very much in favour of reading in general, but readers in particular got on his nerves. There was something, well, sacrilegious about the way they kept taking books off the shelves and wearing out the words by reading them. He liked people who loved and respected books, and the best way to do that, in the Librarian’s opinion, was to leave them on the shelves where Nature intended them to be.

People ought to think for themselves, Captain Vimes says. The problem is, people only think for themselves if you tell them to.

I’m sure like many other readers out there, I read to escape from reality for a little while. I read to forget about those bills I have to pay and to forget I have to get up and go to work in the morning… and that’s okay. I get that escapism from books. For me, it makes a goddamn fantastic author if they can achieve this and still highlight issues within our society without smacking you in the face with it. It’s there, and you know it’s there and you can choose to pay attention to it. If you want to at least.

Terry Pratchett

You may have been able to find the words to say exactly what you thought of the world Terry, but nothing I could say about you will ever live up to the legacy you left behind. Not all super heroes wear capes, after all. Rest in Peace – you’ve earned it.
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Review: Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett

 

Lords and Ladies
GoodReads – Lords and Ladies

A Discworld Novel. It’s a hot Midsummer Night. The crop circles are turning up everywhere-even on the mustard-and-cress of Pewseyy Ogg, aged four. And Magrat Garlick, witch, is going to be married in the morning…Everything ought to be going like a dream. But the Lancre All-Comers Morris Team have got drunk on a fairy mound and the elves have come back, bringing all those things traditionally associated with the magical, glittering realm of Faerie: cruelty, kidnapping, malice and evil, evil murder.* Granny Weatherwax and her tiny argumentative coven have really got their work cut out this time…With full supporting cast of dwarfs, wizards, trolls, Morris Dancers and one orang-utan. And lots. of hey-nonny-nonny and blood all over the place.

*But with tons of style.

Granny Weatherwax, Gytha Ogg and Magrat Garlick get up to their usual tricks and meddling interference once again!! I absolutely love these characters; if anybody else has grown up with strong matriarch’s in the family, you will relate to these women one way or another.

This is the first Discworld book I have come across so far that follows on from events in a previous book (so, therefore, it is helpful to have read the prior book). Usually, they are all independent with common themes. Note I say helpful as opposed to essential.

So Magrat is getting married…. Little, hopeless, lanky, simplistic and typically teenage outcast Magrat is marrying the King of Lancre, no less. Fear not, ladies who prefer to trawl some of the lesser pages of the internet in favour of either finding a man or spending time with the one sat on the couch next to you!! Miracles happen for us all!

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At least on the Discworld they do, and let’s face it, ANYTHING can happen on the Discworld. And of course who is responsible for the marriage proposal? Well, A N Other witch might be involved.

Meanwhile, bigger problems start to unravel as the boundaries of time align themselves together and the once-banished Lords and Ladies are summoned back to the Discworld. Faerie stories have you believing that elves are nice, polite and largely docile creatures, but you’d be wrong. Ever wondered why these stories describe people as having iron horseshoes over the door? There are some truths to all these tales and iron is your greatest weapon against the elves. Oh, and being able to do the Morris Dance…

Just imagine the postcards sent home after that trip. You’d suspect someone had been on the wacky-baccy.
After Prince Verence is kidnapped Magrat goes to her soon-to-be husband’s rescue, dressed in all bits and bobs of ill-fitting armour and her wedding dress underneath. As you do. The witches have their different and contradictory ideas as to how to rid Lancre of this new threat but can they pull together in the time of greatest need?

You’ll have to read the book and find out. I’m not all for spoilers.

This book was as funny as I expected it to be; Pratchett has an obscure sense of humour at times and although I found it a little difficult to appreciate at first, the Discworld series of books has to be up there among my favourites. That said, I don’t love each and every one of them individually, and with Lords and Ladies in particular, it isn’t my favourite book featuring the witches. It’s still enjoyable, and the characters live up to their good selves, but I prefer some of the other story lines better. There are good elements in all of them, but some of them have more.

If anyone is interested, my current favourite book featuring the witches’ antics on the Discworld is Witches Abroad, the review for which can be found here: Review: Witches Abroad – Terry Pratchett.

My love of these characters pretty much derives from the fact that I can relate to a lot of their personalities and attitudes as they mirror those in my mother’s side of the family. I very much grew up being told, “do as I say and not as I do”, which is exactly what the witches are like. To them, the rules are there for a reason: to be broken.

 

Review: Small Gods – Terry Pratchett

Hi guys!

So I wanted to add this little section as we have something to celebrate – I have now achieved reading 30 / 60 books of my challenge with about a week to spare, and that includes having read some epics so far!

My review of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger will follow in the next couple of days; there’s no rest for the wicked as I have started what was the first book on my July List, being To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I’m hoping to sneak this in before the end of the month to give me a head start.

I was dubious when I upped my target from 20 to 60 this year but I’m more confident than ever that I can achieve it, so fingers crossed.

Thanks for everybody who has been supporting me and listening to my impassioned rants about books at home… I know none of you particularly share my love to the extent I do. Thank you to all of my followers too; I hope that you enjoy my reviews and I would appreciate any feedback you can give me. I only strive to improve for you all 🙂

Thanks guys!

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So you guys have probably guessed that I have become a Pratchett fan somewhat, as I have read and am gracing you with a review of the next book in the Discworld series, Small Gods.

 

Goodreads – Small Gods

Just because you can’t explain it, doesn’t mean it’s a miracle.’ Religion is a controversial business in the Discworld. Everyone has their own opinion, and indeed their own gods. Who come in all shapes and sizes. In such a competitive environment, there is a pressing need to make one’s presence felt. And it’s certainly not remotely helpful to be reduced to be appearing in the form of a tortoise, a manifestation far below god-like status in anyone’s book. In such instances, you need an acolyte, and fast. Preferably one who won’t ask too many questions…

 

My Thoughts…

I have found through reading Pratchett’s books that they often have some underlying message, often by parodying life and our everyday struggles or alternatively, other literature; Equal Rites addresses the issue of gender equality, Wyrd Sisters parodies the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Moving Pictures is a humorous take on Hollywood and the power of media.

Small Gods I think is no exception, introducing the idea that the power of God(s), one or another (there are thousands on the Discworld) are relative to the number of believers they have. In a way can I get behind that idea. I would truly be concerned however if God, Allah, Thor, Loki, Apollo etc all sat in heaven throwing dice and using us mere mortals as pawns for some game we don’t understand the rules of. As well as his ability to address these topics – Pratchett has an extraordinary sense of humour to do it with!

We experience this tale from the perspectives of Brutha and the small god Om. Om was once a powerful God, however true belief in his powers dwindled away as the Church raised in commemoration to him established it’s own hierarchy and the struggles within take precedence instead of the reverence to Om. Acolytes worship out of fear from the Quisition, who torture and kill any man believed to be sinful. The Quisition can NEVER be wrong as Om wouldn’t lead them to doubt the faithful…of course. Please note the sarcasm here.

Om finds himself manifested as a tortoise and sets out to getting himself heard among his “believers”. His only true believer is Brutha, a mere Novice of the church. Brutha attracts attention to himself with the Quisition and upon discovery that he is Om’s Prophet – the Chosen One, he lands himself in a dangerous predicament with the higher powers of the Church.

Corruption in the church is also an issue which is brought up, as the local population with the help of Om attempt to dipose Vorbis, the head of the Quisition with whacky schemes of a million-to-one-chance odds, so it just has to work… right?! Well, nothing ever goes exactly to plan, but the Discworld population are adaptable if nothing else.

This book has some real laugh-out-loud moments, and although I wouldn’t say it was in my top favourites of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, it still holds its own. I’m not a religious person at all, but maybe this would have better resonance with somebody who is? I can’t say for sure, but I did enjoy it nonetheless.

Here’s one of my favourite quotes from the book, which I think says a lot of my opinion when it comes to politics:

The Ephebians believed that every man should have the vote. Every five years someone was elected to be Tyrant, provided he could prove that he was honest, intelligent, sensible and trustworthy. Immediately after he was elected, of course, it was obvious to everyone that he was a criminal madman and totally out of touch with the view of the ordinary philosopher in the street looking for a towel. And then five years later they elected another one just like him, and really it was amazing how intelligent people kept on making the same mistakes.

As mentioned above, a review of the first installment of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, The Gunslinger will be posted in the next couple of days. I’ll also be publishing my July reading list soon so please stay tuned!