25 Nov 2010

HOGFATHER.

HOGFATHER by TERRY PRATCHETT

It's the night before Hogswatch. And it's too quiet.

Where is the big jolly fat man? Why is Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say HO HO HO? The darkest night of the year is getting a lot darker ....

Susan, the gothic governess has got to sort it out by morning, otherwise there won't be a morning. Ever again ....

The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too).

As they say: You'd better watch out......
....... From the outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE: Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: It was a strange but demonstrable fact that the sacks of toys carried by the Hogfather, no matter what they really contained, always appeared to have sticking out of the top a teddy bear, a toy soldier in the kind of colourful uniform that would stand out in a disco, a drum and a red-and-white candy cane.

Perhaps not an obvious choice for a holiday reading challenge but I challenge anyone to tell me this isn't a festive read - I mean just look at the cover and read the blurb from the back of the book and tell me that Death isn't Father Christmas albeit Terry Pratchett style.

Yes, this is the 20th novel in the Disc World series and whilst there is no Christ and therefore no Christ-mass OR father Christmas the inhabitants of this weird and wonderful land do celebrate the holiday of Hogswatch giving and receiving gifts courtesy of Hogfather who is Santa Claus in all but name.

But this year something is not quite right, this year there is something dreadfully wrong.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of Terry Pratchett (I leave that to Husband dearest who has every one of his books) but I really enjoyed this book once I'd getting passed wondering what it was all about.

Cleverly written, Pratchett certainly has a talent for writing entertaining stories if this is anything to go by, I guess I'd describe Hogfather as a fairytale for the modern age with a wonderful morality all of its own. My only real criticism being why so long? An ending well worth the wait (It had me both laughing and crying) but it took some 374 pages of a 444 page book before we got to finally begin to understand what exactly was happening (and why) and a further 40 or so pages before we completely understood. "It's called setting the story," commented Hd when I mentioned this. Fair enough but, once again, why take so long in doing so?

But more than the story itself, the characters were what really made this book for me. Quirky and eccentric and, oh so, funny - I especially loved that Death 'spoke' in capital letters and then there was my favourite, Hex, a computer (of sorts) who was 'fed' dried frogs and was rebooted when:-

Adrian goes round the back an ..... er ..... prods it with his foot. But in a technical way.

Being the 20th book in the series, could I read this as a stand-alone novel? Yes, though I do think it probably all makes a bit more sense if you have read some of the other stories (or know someone who has) as then you have the added advantage of knowing the history of some of these characters and what makes them who they are.

The second book read for my holiday reading challenge. Click HERE for 'the rules' and HERE to post any reviews.

Also reading Hogfather is A Chick Who Reads, to see her post click HERE. Oh and be sure to take note of the difference in the covers.

24 comments:

Mary said...

It speaks a lot for a book when the ending has you laughing and crying!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

It sure does sound quirky! I loved the blurb on the computer..."But in a technical way."

Or course, what other way could there be?

Thanks for the review!

Martha@A Sense of Humor is Essential said...

Sounds like an intriguing series, thanks for the review.

Karen said...

That cover screams Christmas! Plus it has toys - good pick for your challenge.

Patti said...

It took you until page 374 to understand what was happening, but you still enjoyed the book? It must have had a great ending.

budh.aaah said...

Well you can convince me that its a nice read but holiday read no ma'am :)
I mean try telling that to someone who so looks forward to x;mas every year. No playing with me Santa ma'am :)

Marieke said...

I love Hogfather :) Have you seen the television miniseries the BBC did?

Alexia561 said...

Nice review! While I haven't read all of the Discworld books, I've really enjoyed the ones I have read. This sounds like a good one!

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Oh my! That's the book I'm currently reading...and after I finish I'm going to watch the movie :)

Suko said...

This sounds like a good choice for a holiday reading challenge, and more importantly, you enjoyed it!

Have a terrific Turkey Day! :)

FICTION STATE OF MIND said...

Terry pratchett is on my "read all his books one day list: great review thanks for visiting my blog :)

kavita said...

Thanks for the review PW .I always learn about the authors i have never heard before through your blog.

SG said...

Thanks for the nice review. Will keep this in mind because it sounds interesting.

JWZ1978 said...

Thanks for the kind posts on my challenge reads! This does sound like an interesting one, I may have to add it to my holiday reading challenge list!

Misha1989 said...

I haven't read any books by Tery Pratchett but I think I might start with this book.
I love eccentric characters! hehe

themethatisme said...

Beloved knows this is one of my most favourite books and was really wary of reviewing it.
I reccomend this one particulalrly to avid book readers, as it is essentially about the nature and power of story. The setting is an allegorical Christmas but the 'idea' is the same, and this tale is about what happens when the emotionless and bureaucratic forces attempt to destroy the idea, and how anthropomorphic characterisations rally to preserve the power of story.

chitra said...

Hi PW, or shall Tracy, I loved the signature at the bottom and about the review I need not tell you, you are doing wonderfully well.

NabilaHazirah said...

I really do like the cover! Looks like it's one of those books I would instantly choose off a bookshelf.

xo

naida said...

I've never read this author. 20th book in the series!? wow!
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Mamakucingbooks said...

Have tried reading Terry Prachett but cant seems to get the story into my brain. Maybe will try again at a later date

Kelly said...

The name Terry Prachett sounds vaguely familiar to me, but I can't think of any titles. This does sound quite interesting, though.

Deepali said...

LOOVE Terry Pratchett :D I just auto-preorder all his new releases, cause I know they are great!!

So glad to know you enjoyed Hogfather, and you get used to being a little perplexed when any discworld book begins ! I find it works to finish the entire book and then go back to the first chapter for an eye-opened understanding :)
-Dee, hopping from e-Volving Books

GMR said...

Agreed on the untraditional nature of the book but you know I think you're right still....the blurb and cover definitely speak to the holiday season. 'Hogfather'..what an unusual name...and for some reason brought to mind Hogwarts ala Harry Potter. Haven't read any Pratchett myself but it sounds like it has potential...thanks for sharing!

Wakela Runen said...

I absolutely LOVE Discworld and Terry Pratchett. In fact, just last night I was trying to explain the concept of the world being carried on the back of the giant tortoise to a friend of mine!

I loved this one when I read it ages ago. I enjoyed your review.