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

31 Dream Street by Lisa Jewell

cover-dreamstreetSynopsis from Amazon:

Leah and Toby have lived across the street from one another for years without meeting … and Leah has been itching to peek behind the front door of Toby’s eccentric house, always packed to the rafters with weird and wonderful tenants. When fate finally lets her in, Leah finds that Toby needs her as much as she is surprised to realize she might need him. Sometimes life needs a helping hand and with a sprinkle of romance and their own special magic, Toby and Leah’s dreams show the glimmer of a chance of coming true. 31 Dream Street is a wonderfully warm and insightful novel that will capture the imagination and soothe the soul.

One ordinary day Leah is going about her business when she notices the old man from across the street lying face down on the ground. She goes to investigate and discovers he has died. She runs to the eccentric house for help and meets Toby, the owner. This is their first meeting and a friendship is quickly born. Time spent together brings Toby out of his shell, helps him make some decisions about the house and enables him to befriend his tenants. It also has Leah re-examining her life. This death has been the beginning of many changes….

I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable book. I have read Jewell’s Thirty-something and Ralph’s Party, and enjoyed both, so I had high hopes for this novel, and I think I enjoyed it even more than the other two. This is pure chick-lit, but a wonderful read. It is over 400 pages long, but I read most of it in a day. It is engaging, humorous and a great read.

I loved Leah and Toby, but they are not the only characters whose stories are told in this book. Toby’s tenants are introduced as well and woven into the story. They have their own chapters so we can get to know them as well. This adds to the story, making it more enjoyable as you want to know what is going to happen to the house mates, as well as wanting to know about their past.

Jewell looks at the illness Cystic Fibrosis. She examines the disease through a conversation and looks at how it can affect people’s lives, as well as fears of those first encountering the illness. She also describes how this can negatively affect relationships. I think this was very well written and dealt with.

The only thing I did not like about the book was the swearing. I found there to be too much of it and it spoiled the book.

Overall, a great chick-lit book, highly recommended.

8/10

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

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

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

small gods

Synopsis from Amazon:

In the beginning was the Word.

And the Word was: “Hey, you!”

For Brutha the novice is the Chosen One. He wants peace and justice and brotherly love.

He also wants the Inquisition to stop torturing him now, please…

Meet Brutha. He is not overly intelligent – in fact people think he is a bit nuts. But that might be because his god is trapped inside a tortoise, one he is carrying around and talking to. As it happens, he is right; and his mission, find some philosophers who can get the god out. A road trip is in order. Along the way they experience horrors such as the sea god, ship wrecks and war. All in all, another Discworld extravagant adventure, full of fantasy, humour and anticipation.

This is book thirteen in the Discworld series. I did not enjoy this one as much as others I have read. That said, this book is still funny and worth reading. Pratchett takes you into a fantasy world, filled with gods, all whom need followers to survive. As ever, his writing style is such that I was easily transported to the Discworld and remained focused and interested in the book.

I like to see characters who featured in other books pop up, and this is the case. The most persistant character is Death – who of course had me laughing, and Dibbler – that man is funny too, with the way he tries to bargin with everyone, gods included. Brutha was a great character too, even though this is the only book he will feature in. His simple nature, and his faithfulness to his god made him an enjoyable and humorous read.

Overall, although not the funniest book in this series, I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to anyone.

7/10

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Synopsis from Google Books:

Discworld’s pesky alchemists are up to their old tricks again. This time, they’ve discovered how to get gold from silver — the silver screen that is. Hearing the siren call of Holy Wood is one Victor Tugelbend, a would-be wizard turned extra. He can’t sing, he can’t dance, but he can handle a sword (sort of), and now he wants to be a star. So does Theda Withel, an ambitious ingénue from a little town (where else?) you’ve probably never heard of.

But the click click of moving pictures isn’t just stirring up dreams inside Discworld. Holy Wood’s magic is drifting out into the boundaries of the universes, where raw realities, the could-have-beens, the might-bes, the never-weres, the wild ideas are beginning to ferment into a really stinky brew. It’s up to Victor and Gaspode the Wonder Dog (a star if ever one was born!) to rein in the chaos and bring order back to a starstruck Discworld. And they’re definitely not ready for their close-up!

This is the tenth book in the Discworld series, and in my opinion, one of the best, alongside Mort, which was hilarious.

In this adventure we see the creation of Moving Pictures, basically films. This is Pratchett’s take on the creation of the movie world. Set in Holy Wood, the alchemists have created something dangerous and enchanting.  People rush to Holy Wood from all over the Discworld to seek fame and fortune – but something is not right. As Victor gets drawn into the fray, him and his co-star Ginger find out the secret danger that is Holy Wood, and with the aid of Laddie and Gaspode, a talking dog, they have to save the day.

This book is incredibly funny. Pratchett is subtle and sly with his humour and mocking of Hollywood. We see the characters chasing fickle dreams and destruction. As ever, the books are engaging and exciting. There was adventure and some heart stopping moments. Pratchett does not fail to catch the imagination and like with the other books I was quickly and easily transported to the Discworld.

As in the other books, Death features. He seems to be the most regular character, and as always he made me laugh. I loved it when he was in the bar drinking, very funny. Gaspode was probably my favourite of the new characters. His dry humour and sarcasm were great reading. There were so many funny characters and story lines in this book. I loved the troll, Rock and his aim for fame, and the troll Ditritus and how he tried to date Ruby, and I think the funniest part of the book for me was when the senior wizards were sneaking out of the university like naughty students.

This is a great book. I highly recommend it. There is action, film, adventure, love, trolls, dwarfs, talking animals, wizards and Death, alongside fire, hidden cities and Dibler, the man always out to make a fast profit. I can’t think of a complaint for this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

9/10

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

pyramids

Synopsis:

Being trained by the Assassin’s Guild in Ankh-Morpork did not fit Teppic for the task assigned to him by fate. He inherited the throne of the desert kingdom of Djelibeybi rather earlier than he expected (his father wasn’t too happy about it either), but that was only the beginning of his problems…”Pyramids” (the book of going forth) is the seventh Discworld novel – and the most outrageously funny to date.

This Discworld novel follows Teppic as he trains as an assassin (yep, I thought that was funny too) and then becomes king of the pyramid country that is Djelibeybi (pronouced De- Jelly-Baby, another that made me laugh). The problem beginnings when Teppic has to build a pyramid for his father, something they both think seems a ridiculous idea. The book sees exploding pyramids, crazy priests and gods going mad. And of course, a visit from Death.

So far, this has been the worst Discworld novel in my opinion. I felt it took a little while to get going, and there were some times I found myself tuning out. However, towards the end, the action picks up and it is fair to say the book is exciting and hilarious. It was definitely worth persevering for.

As ever, Pratchett transported me to a different area of the Discworld, and I was happy to go. The descriptions were such that I could clearly picture the area and the characters were as funny as usual. My favourite was probably Teppic’s father, as he watched himself being mummified and listening to him chat to people who couldn’t hear him. His journey of self-discovery in death was very humorous.

Although I eventually enjoyed this book, it has not been my favourite. However, I am eager to get to the next one in the series.

7/10