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.