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Just Read…

…."Stardust": Neil Gaiman.

Stardust_Neil GaimanI must admit that I started reading this with very fond reminiscences of Neil’s co-authored “Good Omens” (Terry Pratchett being the other author).  In Stardust we have a reasonably fast-paced, vividly realised  fairy tale centred around Tristran Thorn – and as a fairy tale it is a good work.  Tristran, in an attempt to gain the love of the most beautiful girl in the village, goes through to the Faerie lands beyond The Wall in search of a fallen star.  Passing through The Wall is not something to be done lightly, in fact the Villagers guard the gap to ensure that no-one passes.

After a diet of fully-fleshed out, sometimes flabby fantasy, this brief work comes as a pleasant surprise.  “Stardust” is a real page-turner, the disappointing thing is that Neil telegraphs the coming events, leaving us few if any surprises.  That said I am looking forward to reading more of Neil’s work, I just don’t know that Stardust will be a “keeper”.

…."Making Money": Terry Pratchett.

Terry Pratchett - Making money

There is no doubt about it, this is definitely Terry Pratchett.  “Making Money” is the second novel in the Moist von Lipwig series, and as expected Moist gets fleshed out a bit more, and in the process is groomed for more roles in the future.  But there is something missing, I just can’t put my finger on what.  The gut-wrenchingly funny, laugh out-loud moments are just not there.  The surreal as been replaced by rational logic, and the clever wordplay almost non-existent. 

So what?  It’s still Terry Pratchett, almost every page has an absolute gem.  Lord Vetenari – the scheming totalitarian ruler of Ankh-Morpork – and it is an absolute joy to see him in action.  However some of the some of the “Watch” series characters are there solely as “generics” – Captain Carrot and Commander Vimes come across a being particularly flat.  However some old favourites like Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler and Mrs Cake appear in glorious technicolor; and of course what would Discworld be without DEATH making “his” obligatory appearance.

The focus seems to have shifted from the madcap invention of the early books.  Terry, through Vetenari, now seems intent on a modernisation program for the city and takes us along for the the ride, uncovering snippets of previously unguessed detail in the process.  All in all, I will still be hanging-out for the next Discworld instalment.