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Okay, so my brain's still a bit on the fritz from reading this all today, because apparently I'm totally unable to get a new Discworld book without devouring it upon the spot. Seriously. I don't think any of the recent once except maybe Monstrous Regiment have lasted beyond the first day (and I'm not even sure about that one). But anyhow, I figure I should at least say something, so spoily stuff will be below a cut, while non-spoiliness will be above.

My main impression, looking back on this book, is: Good gods, the characters in this book have more nervous ticks than a dog in a Frontline commercial.

Buuut I guess y'all want something more than that, so I'll try to oblige.

One of the reasons I don't really know what to say about this book is that so far in my brain it's one of the decidedly average Discworld books. Not the best by a longshot, but also not the worst in any way. Of course, even an average Discworld book is awesome and well worth the one-day-devouring, but... right now, it's just not distinguishing itself in my brain as all that special either way.

On the good side, it's a (and I don't think this is a spoiler at this point, or if it is it's one that would last about two pages into the book anyhow) Moist Von Lipwig novel, and I think that Going Postal was on the positive side of the dividing line, and I like the golems on the whole, so I'm glad to see more of that crowd all together. We also get to see more of the Patrician (also not really a spoiler if you read Going Postal and figure that this is even remotely in the same lines), and some at least somewhat interesting new(ish) characters.

Plus... well, it's a Discworld book. Satiric, humorous, and made up of just plain enjoyable writing.

On the less good side, well, like I mentioned the characters are all a bit *too* far over the "quirky" line, into "Moist has become a total fruitcake magnet" territory. Plus some of the new "quirky" (to put it mildly) characters are pretty much vying for screen time with all the others, so we barely get to see and enjoy any of one in particular before he's shoved off the stage for the next.

Also on the bad side... really, I'm a bit lost with where the plot was going at times. I was thinking we were still pretty much setting things up and just getting the first hints at plot when I happened to really look, and noticed I was halfway through the book already. There are times that, while you realize there's a weapon of Damocles vaguely teetering somewhere in the air over Moist's head, you're not sure if it's supposed to be this axe over here, the sword, a nice spear that's been hinted at, or if really it'd make all that much of an impact if it did fall, anyhow. In short, there wasn't all that firmly defined of an antagonist or problem, just mostly vague things that you figured could cause problems and he should, you know, do something about them. Which is nice in a way because it's not the usual fantasy Saving The World schtick, but really you don't go into a Discworld book expecting that, anyhow.

So in general it's... well, it's a Discworld book. It's not Night Watch by any means, but it's also not The Colour of Magic or anything. It's definitely worth the purchase if you're even remotely a Discworld fan, but it didn't totally make the earth move. Sorry.



First off... whoah, Dibbler has a name! I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's interesting but... *sniff* it somehow just doesn't necessarily feel right, ya know?

Let's see. Some fun characters. Gladys was great, although I would have liked to see more golems in general. We got to see enough of the Watch to make me somewhat happy, but not nearly as much as a Watch book, obviously. Much of the Patrician, and a bit of the King of the Golden River, which also is fun and good and all that stuff. And although I was sad to see Wuffles had passed on, I guess it's only to be expected by this point, ya know? And it's good that there is SOME acknowledgment that time does in fact move on.

As for the new characters... meh. Bent just didn't do much for me, either before or after the "big reveal." Partly I think because he ended up feeling a bit like a second-rate knockoff in some ways of Jeremy from Thief of Time, and was in other ways just too forced. None (or should I say neither) of the Lavishes did much for me either as antagonists, partly because they just didn't seem very menacing or effective from the get-go. Cribbins at least lent some apprehension to things, as you wondered just where the shoe was going to drop and how loudly, but he was too annoying in his appearances for me to actually like him. I DID like Mr. Fusspot, but... well, for obvious reasons, he didn't exactly have a huge speaking role. (Although he has apparently great taste in toys...) Owlsley was kind of interesting but a bit lost with all the OTHER insane characters, but Hubert was... just mostly generically creepy. And Igor, while neat, is pretty much a recurring character even though we've never met him before. Oh, and I SO want a golem horsie.

As for the plot, I'd have been happier if it'd settled down on just what was supposed to be the problem. Okay, so there's a vague thread of someone knowing Moist's Big Dirty Secret. Then there's the supposed threat of assassination over his head, due to Topsy's will, which after the dramatic introduction goes nowhere at all. Then we have the generalized threats (or non-threats, since they don't really threaten anything specific) of the Lavishes. Then the whole gold-not-in-the-vault thing comes out of left field and turns out to be one of the main Big Problems, and the whole golden golem worry is sorta there then gone and... sometimes when a bunch of problems come at a character at once it works, but here it just for some reason felt unfocused to me, and didn't leave me with all that much of a sense of real antagonism at all. I mean yeah, I knew Moist had problems to overcome, but taxed with what the big opposition in the book was, they're the sort you'd just want to wave a hand and say "oh, you know... stuff."

I will add, though, that it was neat seeing Mr. Slant being even remotely on the Side Of Good this time around. Since usually his presence is the same sorta red flag as seeing a bishounen in a Final Fantasy game, you know? The bits with the not-really-necromancers-honest-guv were also at least somewhat fun, and gave me the geekiness of being able to figure out what they were actually saying in the Golem language. (Which I suspect may have been easy if you knew Hebrew lettering, but I don't, so... nyah.)

And as a last thing (which goes back to my first impression of the book), can we please LIMIT the number of insane people and amount of aggregate insanity please? Because after a while it goes from "fun quirkiness" to just "totally overdone." I mean, we come out of Going Postal with Stanley and the rest of the crew, and swing straight into introductions to Mr. Bent who is insane about numbers, Hubert the Mad Scientist Economist, both of the Lavish twins, and Owlsley who is a few shades short of his pallette, if you get my drift, oh and don't forget the Mad Chef. Then add in the only vaguely insane characters like Cribbins with the near-sentient teeth and the not-quite-necromancers and Gladys and the Shed Men, which all in general are the good sort of quirky overall, but put in with the other Total Nutjobs, add to the feeling of insanity.

And... that should do it for the spoilers, I guess.



I may have other things to say/add eventually, but that should do it for now, especially with my brain still half-melted to slush. As always, expect that comments may have spoilers, and proceed accordingly.

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stormfeather
Sep. 27th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
Thud's actually growing on me a bit as time goes by, since it is a Night Watch book, and has some Good Stuff in general. But yeah, pacing and such was borked on that too, and it's probably one of my lesser Watch books still.

Monstrous Regiment has grown on me a bit since first reading it, but still not to the point where it's above the average mark for Discworld. (Which of course still puts it above most other fiction, but hey.)

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