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Rating : 4 of 5 Stars
The Discworld is a wonderful satire of our own world in many ways. The Color of Magic is the beginning of this hilarious journey and as Terry Pratchett quotes, “There are no maps. You cannot map a sense of humor”.
It’s an imaginary world. While Tolkien was brutal and murderous with his Middle Earth, Discworld in contrast represents the dark comedy to fantasy. Everything is seriously funny in here yet the characters don’t take their so-called adventures with humor in the book – it is serious stuff for them (the characters) you see, and that’s the way the dice rolls in Discworld.
In a nutshell, it is like Earth as we know it but with our fantasy add-ons thrown in. Nothing dissimilar to other sci-fi fantasy tales but this one is really really funny! Anyway, the plot is simple but intricate nonetheless. Did I say funny? Well there you go – it’s comedy at its hilarious best. Terry Pratchett was cunningly intelligent in his narration too. What started out as confusion soon unraveled itself rather concisely and you snigger and grin at its simplicity at the end.
This is the first of the Discworld chronicles (and my 2nd venture into it). There are plenty more to read and catch up with on Discworld. Unfortunately, not all Pratchett work is available in Malaysian bookstores but I’ve already laid my hands on his 21st series – Jingo. Okay, what a jump from number one to twenty-one you ask? Well, herein explains Pratchett talent and ‘wisdom’ - you can read his books, individually, on their own and in random order according to some critiques. And since I’ve now read The Color of Magic and Jingo concurrently, I can vouch for that claim as well. They were two separate stories but yet somehow you could relate one with the other. Nice.
Here are my last words – “Read every one of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series; in chronological order or otherwise. It matters not. I heard they are all good but some are very very good ”.
My other recent book reviews
Rating : 3 of 5 Stars
The endearing part of this book was Frankie Silver’s plight. She was a real person, convicted of murdering her husband, had a rather botched up court trial that no lawyer wanted to take on for fear of damaging their esteemed reputation and the people of Tennessee lawfully hung a woman.
This was an era when family name and association to those who hold court in high society was the prevailing nature. After all Frankie Silver was a mountain dwelling lass who had no such family name repute to her benefit. This was 1833 - they doomed her defense from the start.
Anyway, Shayrn McCrumb (author) was, in a long entwined way, connected to this 19th century murderer. Thus, she was sort of re-telling her ancestor’s tragic story per se - with an added fictional and seemingly parallel relation to a modern-day crime and punishment agenda.
The related fiction story itself was not all that bad. The idea was good but I felt McCrumb made light weight of it to her detriment.
The excellent parts were still in the heart of Frankie Silver’s story. It was well written here and McCrumb shows much knowledge of law procedures of that era. Like I said, the endearing side of the book was Frankie Silver’s murder case and the people involved with that. You can feel the desperation and concerns experienced by the characters in the narration. McCrumb did a sterling job with this no doubt.
However, the fictional element, where McCrumb had sheriff Arrowood seek explanations to Frankie’s murder conviction and her eventual execution, which happened 150 years ago, was perplexing. It was perplexing because Arrowood saw similarities to Silver’s case with the one he helped solve 20 years before. One which saw Fate Harkryder convicted and sentenced to death. I’d have preferred that McCrumb kept the book about Frankie Silver and nobody else. The electric chair execution of Fate Harkryder was an anti-climax and unnecessary.
And she also abruptly concluded the ongoing 3rd mountain trail murder that was developing in this book. I can’t remember who it was that they arrested now. That’s how rapidly the book ended with the last pages dedicated by McCrumb to her Frankie Silver connection and those who helped her in her research.
In entirety, apart from the good prose and narrating style of Sharyn McCrumb, Ballad of Frankie Silver fell short in all other aspects for a memorable book. I enjoyed it in bit parts only.
My other recent book reviews
- On My Bookshelf (marriageconfessions.com)
Rating : 4 of 5 Stars
It’s 2012 and I finally read a Sherlock Holmes novel! To top that, it’s also my first by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is a classic and everyone connected to literature either from a scholarly perspective or from a pure reader’s pleasure would vouch that, works by Sir Arthur is a “must read”. I am happy that I’ve now accomplished that rule of thumb.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (THotB) is short and precise. Okay, the old style of English is rather long-winded to modern-day writing but that’s the attractive part for me (and surely to everybody else). The storytelling was crisp and the dialogues were such a joy to behold.
As a whole, THotB was not a fantastic tale to start with but Sir Arthur executed it so masterfully well. The highlights were no doubt at the moor. The convict’s lair, the legendary hound’s bale and the brooding Grimpen Mire were eerily provoking. Holmes’s wit and intelligence alongside Watson’s obedient tenacity were the story’s anchor that which allowed the murder plot to unravel and take shape. However, I had mixed feelings about the giant hound’s fate though. Nonetheless I was glad that it was a life one and not a mythical beast used to scare people as we first perceived.
All said, compared to what modern writers today can create, the intrigue and treachery were somewhat less spine chilling in THotB; but the origins to good detective thrillers still pay homage to Sherlock Holmes. This was where it all began. So for that, I have no qualms here – only respect.
We must know that Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were characters set in 1880s; when medicine, forensic science and detective procedures were but at the stage of early discovery if I can say so. Yet, Sir Arthur managed to conjure up deceit and factual arguments with such compelling skill that we marvel today at his genius and undoubting talent. He was above and beyond his time indeed and being a physician himself, made it seem, all the more real.
I now seek more of Sherlock Holmes.
Read my other recent book reviews
- The Ballad of Frankie Silver - Sharyn McCrumb
- The Ignorance of Blood - Robert Wilson
- Redemption Falls - Joseph O’Connor