Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

Maskerade

Synopsis from Amazon:

THE SHOW MUST GO ON, AS MURDER, MUSIC AND MAYHEM RUN RIOT IN THE NIGHT…

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 hideously-deformed evening dress…

At least, he hopes so. 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 evening’s entertainment with murders you can really hum…)

This is book 18 in the Discworld Series, and one of my favourites. This is Terry Pratchett’s take on The Phantom of the Opera. Now I love that musical, and this book just added to my love. I will definitely watch it in a completely different light now.

This is a Witches novel, and sees Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg travelling to Ankh-Morpork to see an opera. Yet there are strange goings-on in the opera house. There are a series of murders and money disappearing out the window. It seems that there is an Opera Ghost, who likes to leave notes that just say: “Ha ha, ha ha, ha ha!!!!!” The fear is rife in the opera, but the show must go on. So Granny sets herself up to investigate, while the show goes on, and unmasks the Opera Ghost.

This is classic Pratchett. I love the Witches novels. Both Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax are hilarious. This is a very funny take on The Phantom of the Opera – mainly mocking the idea that a small mask that only covers the eyes would hide someones identity. Death features in this book as well, and he is probably my favourite character. Pretty much all he says is funny, and I enjoyed his game of poker with Granny.

Pratchett yet again transported me to Ankh-Morpork and incorporated some of the funniest characters in this adventure. Of course it is unrealistic, but it is an amazing fantasy novel. I have no complaints and as ever, I am eager for the next Pratchett book. This is a great series, full of adventure, humour and amazing characters. I highly recommend this novel. It is very, very good.

10/10

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Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

interesting times

Synopsis from Amazon:

Mighty battles! Revolution! Death! War! (and his sons terror and panic, and daughter Clancy). The oldest and most inscrutable empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes. Warlords are struggling for power. War (and Clancy) are spreading throughout the ancient cities. And all that stands in the way of terrible doom for everyone is: Rincewind the Wizard, who can’t even spell the word ‘wizard’…Cohen the barbarian hero, five foot tall in his surgical sandals, who has had a lifetime’s experience of not dying…and a very special butterfly.

This is book 17 in the Discworld series, and as enjoyable as the rest. In this novel we are taken on an adventure with the not-so-great wizard Rincewind. Known to get himself into trouble, he finds himself a pawn in the god’s game. Sent by the wizards at Unseen University Rincewind ends up in an unknown kingdom were they were planning a very civilised revolution. He is believed to be The Great Wizard, and again, through running away he gives off this impression. Working alongside Cohen the Barbarian – not that either realise it – they embark on an adventure to take over the Empire and see which god is going to win their game.

I love this series. I have really enjoyed all of them, and this one is no exception. Rincewind novels make me laugh because he finds himself in the oddest situations and yet still comes out looking like a hero. I particularly enjoyed the return of Two Flower and Cohen the Barbarian. The Barbarian Horde were probably my favourite characters because they were all in their 90s or older and yet won many battles and still sniggered at sexual innuendoes. Their whole mentality and them trying to become ‘civilised’ was great reading.

I enjoyed the storyline of this book too. Emperors dying, the Red Army rising out of the ground, and a polite revolution – it was good fun. As ever, Pratchett leads headlong into the Discworld and his writing is so good he makes it seem real. He is witty, writes a good adventure and well worth reading.

As with his other novels, there is not a lot I can complain about – this is just a really good story that I enjoyed immensely. The Discworld books are high on my list of recommendations.

9/10

Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

men at arms

Synopsis from Amazon:

Be a MAN in the City Watch! The City Watch needs MEN!

But what it’s got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detrius (a troll), Lance-constable Angua (a woman…most of the time) and Corporal Nobbs (disqualified from the human race for shoving).

And they need all the help they can get. Because they’ve only got twenty-four hours to clean up the town and this is Ankh-Morpork we’re talking about…

Ankh-Morpork is in trouble. There are a series of mysterious murders, a student who wants a king put on the throne and the “Gone”, a very dangerous weapon with a mind of its own. So who is there to solve this mystery? The Night-Watch, consisting of an adopted dwarf, a real dwarf, a werewolf and a troll. How will pan out….?

This is another Discworld classic. It is number 15 in the series. I found this book just as enjoyable as the others. Pratchett’s writing was engaging and inviting. As ever, Ankh-Morpork is described so well that you lose yourself there. The characters have been seen in other books, and were hilarious at times. My favourites were Death, who makes a  couple of appearances, with some very witty one-liners; Corporal Carrot, a very simple human who was adopted by dwarfs and Gaspode the talking dog. His manipulation of humans was classic. The conversations between Cuddy and Detrius were amusing, as trolls and dwarfs traditionally dislike each other, so they rivalry had to continue for show. Detrius learning to count and his use of numbers had me laughing too. Pratchett is very original with his ideas of a Fools Guild, an Assassin Guild and even a Dog Guild. This is a very well thought out and well written book.

I recommend this book because it is engaging, full of danger, and adventure and hilarious. This is a grea fantasy book and well worth reading.

9/10

The Ingenious Edgar Jones by Elizabeth Garner

the ingenious edgar jones

Synopsis from Amazon:

Set in nineteenth-century Oxford, and shot through with a powerful sense of magic, Elizabeth Garner’s new novel will appeal both to fans of historical fiction and to the huge Susanna Clarke/Philip Pullman fanbase.

In nineteenth-century Oxford, an extraordinary child is born – Edgar Jones, a porter’s son with a magical talent. Though his father cannot see beyond his academic slowness, his abilities as a metalworker and designer are quickly noticed, and become a source of tension within the family. When Edgar comes to the attention of a maverick professor at work on a museum of the natural sciences, Edgar is at once plucked from obscurity and plunged into the heart of a debate which threatens to tear apart the university. Edgar’s position is a dangerous one – will he be able to control the rebellious spirit that fires his inventiveness, but threatens to ruin him, and to break up his family once and for all?

I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t know what to expect from the blurb, and in fact it is a lot more complex than the blurb lets on. The star of the show is Edgar. He is an exception in every way. He is a genius. From a young age he is creative, exploring the local neighbourhood and inventing all kinds of things. He catches the attention of an Oxford professor, who uses Edgar for his needs and then dismisses him. Edgar, just a child, seeks revenge, which could cause mayhem and destruction wherever he goes, but can anyone, or anything really keep him down?

This is an exciting, gripping book. Garner is a literary genius. Her descriptions are full and rich. Her writing style is easy to get into and enjoyable. She is imaginative and creative. I liked her characters, how each was different and how they all fitted together to make this wonderful book. She explores history, God and science and family values. All of which she does successfully.

I don’t think the ending was particularly convincing, but that is the only compliant. This is a must-read book.

8/10

Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

lords and ladies

Synopsis from Amazon:

THE FAIRIES ARE BACK – BUT THIS TIME THEY DON’T JUST WANT YOUR TEETH…

Granny Weatherwax and her tiny coven are up against real elves.

It’s Midsummer Night. No time for dreaming…

With a 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.

This is the 14th book in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. This adventure sees the return of the elves, and they are not as pretty and nice as they seem… Granny Weatherwax is up for a big fight – aided by the wizards.

This book is up there with my favourites. I found it very entertaining. I really enjoy the Witch books, I have found all of them to be funny and exciting, and this one was no different. In fact, the humour of this book was aided by the fact a selection of the wizards had come along. I like the Librarian – what a great character.

As ever, Pratchett’s imagination is just incredible. He draws you into this alternative world, full of fighting and mythical characters, and just lets the action unfold. His descriptions are just amazing, and I really want to travel to the Discworld.

Nanny Ogg is fast becoming one of my favourites character. She is witty and generally humorous, and a great companion to the hilarious Granny Weatherwax. I thought the old love flame between Granny and the Arch Chancellor was great, it added another dimension to the books.

As always, I really enjoyed this Discworld book, and this has to be top rated. It was full of great fight scenes, humour and pure adventure. A really good read.

10/10

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

living dead in dallas

Synopsis from Amazon:

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse isn’t happy. Her co-worker has been murdered and no one seems to care. If that wasn’t enough she’s got blood-poisoning and a raging fever. Luckily, some friendly vampires graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it). But, seeing as they did save her life, when they come asking for a favour she can hardly refuse. She quickly finds herself using her telepathic skills in the search for a missing vampire, but when they break their good behaviour condition over a tasty blond, things go rapidly and horribly wrong …

This is the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mystery series by Charlaine Harris. In this adventure, Sookie is attacked on her way to see Eric, by a mythical creature, and after having had her poisoned blood sucked, is told she is off to Dallas to use her gift. There she meets the anti-vampire group, and has to fight for her life. While all this is going on, she is trying to find out who murdered her friend and why.

There is a lot going on in this book. It starts with a murder and ends with an orgy. In between there is a lot of fighting and maybe mythical characters. Up until the last fifty pages I really enjoyed this book. It was exciting and gripping. The last bit of the book was full of sex and that put me off.

I like how Harris is introducing more mythical beings instead of just including vampires – I think this adds a new dimension to the story. It will be interesting to see where she takes the stories with all these characters and beings.

Harris is a very distinctive writer. She has her own style, which comes through in both her Sookie Stackhouse books and her Harper Connelly books. I like how she writes, for the most part she is engaging and gripping.

Apart from all the sex, which I still think is unnecessary, I think this is a good book.

8/10

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

no time for goodbye

Synopsis from Amazon:

On the morning she will never forget, suburban teenager Cynthia Archer awakes with a nasty hangover and a feeling she is going to have an even nastier confrontation with her mom and dad. But when she leaves her bedroom, she discovers the house is empty, with no sign of her parents or younger brother Todd. In the blink of an eye, without any explanation, her family has simply disappeared. Twenty-five years later Cynthia is still haunted by unanswered questions. Were her family murdered? If so, why was she spared? And if they’re alive, why did they abandon her in such a cruel way? Now married with a daughter of her own, Cynthia fears that her new family will be taken from her just as her first one was. And so she agrees to take part in a TV documentary revisiting the case, in the hope that somebody somewhere will remember something – or even that her father, mother or brother might finally reach out to her… Then a letter arrives which makes no sense and yet chills Cynthia to the core. And soon she begins to realise that stirring up the past could be the worst mistake she has ever made…

Meet Cynthia – she is teenager out with her older boyfriend getting drunk in his car. Her Dad finds her, pulls her out of the car and drags her home. After a row she hits the sack to sleep off the alcohol. The following morning she wakes to a silent house. At first she finds plausible reasons for everyone being out, but once at school quickly discovers they are indeed missing.

Twenty-five years later she still doesn’t know what has happened to her family. And with a family of her own, it is starting to threaten her comfortable home. Still wanting answers, she is shocked when a letter arrives. Her past and what happened on that night is about to catch up with her, and it won’t be pretty….

What an exciting book. I couldn’t put it down. There were many twists and turns, and outcomes I did not see coming. Barclay leads you down one path, and suddenly flips it over and reveals your suspicions and guesses to be wrong. I was gripped by this adventure. So much happens, a lot of which you won’t predict. Barclay manipulates what you think, then corrects your wrong views. Just excellent. His characters were great – I especially liked the thugs who grabbed Cynthia’s husband off the street and then sat listening to the Carpenters. Quite funny! This is just a really good book.

My one complaint is the swearing. There is a lot of it. I managed to ignore most of it, but there is too much, and that is what stops me giving this book the highest rating. Overall, this is a must-read thriller, and I highly recommend it.

9/10