Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Raising Steam: A Review

I am a big fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I can still clearly remember picking up The Color of Magic and laughing as I read it. The books were witty, with interesting and funny characters, who often held up a mirror to real world situations and ethos.

So it pains me to admit that, lately, I haven’t been enjoying the Discworld books. I think my dissatisfaction began somewhere around Unseen Academicals. The tone of the books seemed to have changed. They became somewhat preachy, the characters a bit too holier-than-thou.

Alas, my dissatisfaction has reached its apex with the latest novel, Raising Steam.
The fortieth Discworld book, Raising Steam brings the Industrial Revolution to the Discworld, via the invention of the first steam-powered locomotive. It also brings a rather heavy-handed commentary on terrorism channeled through a dwarven schism.

My dissatisfaction with this book may have come in the way I read it. Unlike its predecessors I could not bring myself to sit down and read it all in one go. I had to stop, to take frequent brakes and allow my sense of irritation and disappointment to fade.

Irritation because the real world was intruding into my enjoyment via the dwarven fundamentalists and disappointment that the beloved Discworld characters seemed flat and uninteresting.

Honestly, I’m wondering just how much of this book, Sir Terry himself actually wrote. At times, it felt like I was reading something by someone trying to ape Sir Terry’s style.

Overall, Raising Steam was a disappointment. I cannot in good faith recommend it to either new Discworld readers or old fans.

In all honesty, I have to admit that this may be the last Discworld book I bother to buy.

And that realization, ladies and gentlemen, breaks my heart a little.

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