A while back the geek in felt ashamed that I had never read any of the Terry Pratchett, Discworld books. I remember mocking one of my close friends at school for reading them as I saw them as an extension of the whole Dungeons and Dragons thing … which was seriously uncool … and these things matter to a teenager.
I was wrong, and although I don’t expect that he reads my blog, I would like to go on the record and say “Sorry David”.
The OCD in me insisted that I start with the first and go through them in order. I have not come across one that has disappointed me yet.
My latest adventure through the Discworld was Witches Abroad .
For the unindoctrinated although the Discworld books are all based around the goings on on the Discworld, the books are based on a number of themes. The themes I have encountered so far seem to have been Rincewind and The Wizards, The Witches, The Guards and Death. Unsurprisingly Witches Abroad is all about the witches (with brief appearances from Death).
Many of the books have specific themes, and Witches Abroad’s theme is Fairy Tales. The basic plot is that people do not influence stories, stories happen to people. The story starts when the Desiderata, the Fairy Godmother, dies and in a characteristic twist on the old story, passes the responsibility to Magrat, a “wet hen” of a witch, to stop the Beautiful “Ember-ella” from marrying the prince. so accompanied by Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, she travels to Genua to right the wrongs that have occurred due to stories.
The book twists and retells many children’s favourites including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel … in fresh and incredibly amusing ways. The trick Pratchett pulls off is that it never seems to feel forced, it is as if these stories that have been around for years were specifically written to be used later in this book.
After the Drivel of Ian Sansom’s The Case of the Missing Books it is such a relief to be able to whole heartedly recommend this book, but to be honest it is a bit of an all or nothing type of arrangement… if you are going to read them start with The Colour of Magic and make your way through in sequence.