Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book: Witches Abroad

This is my first Terry Pratchett book (well, Terry Pratchett alone; I did read Good Omens, by him and Neil Gaiman). I knew a couple of things going into it: it was going to be funny, it was going to be fantasy, and that everyone adores Terry Pratchett. So how could it go wrong?

Well... it didn't!

It was a super-fun romp through Discworld, with witches Granny Weatherwax, Magrat Garlicke, and Nanny Ogg. When Magrat discovers that she is, in fact, a fairy godmother; and what's more, a fairy godmother with a mission to help fair Ella in far off Genua, the other two (slightly meddlesome, as of course the best witches would be) accompany her.

The witches must travel across Discworld. None of them have traveled much before, so they are constantly adjusting to 'foreigners.' Along the way, they fall in and out of various well-known stories. Gollum makes an appearance, as does Red Riding Hood, the wolf, Dracula, etc. They finally reach Genua (obviously modeled after New Orleans... with a bit of The Frog Prince and Cinderella thrown in for good measure) and must help Emberella ("Ella" or "Ember"), who does NOT wish to marry the prince. Unfortunately, she has TWO fairy godmothers: the good one, and the bad one. But which witch is which?

The only thing about this book is that I didn't immediately catch on that the whole thing was essentially parody after parody after parody, so at first I was like, "What is Gollum doing here?" The other thing is that sometimes this sort of humor, similar to Douglas Adams books or even Mel Brooks movies, sometimes doesn't really work for me. I don't know why... I have to be in just the right mood for this kind of playful absurdity.

I started off not in the right mood and so was unsure if the book was going to work for me, but by the time I finished the book, it was exactly what I needed. Silly and smart and playful and pun-y and joke after joke after joke. I was feeling so stressed and anxious that I really needed this sort of lighthearted, goodnatured fun.

So I ended up loving it.

With great relief.

After all, I have heard so many amazing things about Terry Pratchett and I didn't want to be the only one in the world not to "get" it! So, with a deep sigh of relief, I now include the amazing Terry Pratchett in my list of "Authors To Turn To In Times Of Need!" I am excited to read more Discworld novels.


Stefanie said...

yay! So glad you are now a Discworld fan. I knew you would be. All of the Discworld books are full of parody, cultural references, puns and jokes. Now you know what to expect you'll be able to dive right in when the time is right for the next one :)

Theresa said...

Oh yes, he is the master of parody, pun, and inuendo! I love his books, especially ones featuring the witches. THey are so much fun!

Daphne said...

Yay, superfun! I'm looking forward to more. I loved the witches.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

There's nothing like a satisfying read to get you through some stressful times.

Nymeth said...

yay! I'm so glad you loved it :D

Kate said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! The Discworld is so full of sly references that I catch another any time I reread them. Have fun discovering the books!

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