Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two more by Terry Pratchett

I read these a while ago, when I was still unemployed, and then I got a job and didn’t have all day to sit around the apartment, reading wonderful books and writing about them. So now I don’t remember much and don’t have the time to re-read them. Here’s what I do recall at least regarding Small Gods and Lords and Ladies (both from 1992).

Lords and Ladies reunites us with Granny Weatherwax, the very capable witch from Equal Rites, as she and two of her witchly co-horts must needs do battle against an invasion of the Elves (a/k/a the Lords and Ladies). The Elves are bad news – destructive and whimsical and completely conscienceless – and they have been allowed back into the Discworld via some ill-advised and inadvertent magicks. As is his wont, Pratchett uses this fantasy setting to explore “serious” topics like traditional gender roles, marriage and responsibility, as well as turning some old school faerie tales on their ears. The Elf Queen is very nasty but luckily, in both this book and The Wee Free Men (which I actually liked better than Lords and Ladies), sure gets her comeuppance.

Small Gods takes place on the Discworld too but in parts far removed from Granny Weatherwax’s realm, where Pratchett takes a close look at organized religion and the matter of faith. Brutha is a young man serving as an acolyte for the Great God Om, the main deity of the Omnians. Brutha isn’t much of a thinker, preferring to spend his days hoeing melons in the gardens, but he is a true Believer, not only knowing by heart all the scripture of Om, the ferocious Bull-God, but having full and unshakeable faith in his god. Which is a good thing because Om has gotten himself stuck in the body of a tortoise, unable to regain his fiery godhead. Only Brutha, the Chosen One, can hear the god Om speak. As you might imagine, that doesn’t end up being such a good thing, involving, in short order, Inquisitors, Exquisitors, crazed hermits, fundamentalists of all stripes, fanatical soldiers and tortoise-eating eagles.

I must continue to thank Kevin C. for introducing me to Terry Pratchett fan. With every book I read, I like him more and more – even if I do get lazy on the book reports. These fantasy novels are so smart and funny, entertaining and involved, and never smug or mean-spirited. I am just thrilled that I’ve only just begun to read my way through his catalog.

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