The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin. Thunder rolled back and forth across the dark, rain-lashed hills. The night was as black as the inside of a cat.
Last fall, I discovered the joys of reading Terry Pratchett. This is my first of his adult novels to read. And I did enjoy it very much! It is the story of three witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat, as they attempt to meddle--in a completely non-evil way, of course--with the politics of a kingdom, of a royal family. There is a lost prince--a young person who does NOT know he's the son of the murdered king--living a happy theatrical life. There is the unhappy ghost of the murdered king. And there is the Fool madly in love with Magrat whose sole duty in life is to be loyal to the king--even if this king is a murderer with an unpleasant wife. And then there's Hwel, the dramatic dwarf. I just loved him! There is much to enjoy in this one. The writing is as enjoyable as can be. It's got humor and drama and a certain something that makes Pratchett stand out.
My favorite lines:
Like most people, witches are unfocused in time. The difference is that they dimly realize it, and make use of it. They cherish the past because part of them is still living there, and they can see the shadows the future casts before it. Granny could feel the shape of the future, and it had knives in it. (41)
The duke had managed quite well for fifty years without finding a use for curiosity. It was not a trait much encouraged in aristocrats. He had found certainty was a much better bet. However, it occurred to him that for once curiosity might have its uses. (45)
Particles of raw inspiration sleet through the universe all the time. Every once in a while one of them hits a receptive mind, which then invents DNA or the flute sonata form or a way of making light bulbs wear out in half the time. But most of them miss. Most people go through their lives without being hit by even one. Some people are even more unfortunate. They get them all. Such a one was Hwel. (60)
"What about dwarf bars?"
"You'd hate it," said Hwel, fervently. "Besides, you'd run out of headroom."
"Low dives, are they?"
"Look at it like this--how long do you think you could sing about gold?"
"'It's yellow and it goes chink and you can buy things with it.'" said Tomjon experimentally, as they strolled through the Plaza of Broken Moons. "Four seconds, I think."
"Right. Five hours of it get a bit repetitive." Hwel kicked a pebble gloomily. "Anyway," he added, "you'd get thrown out for being too creative. The actual words are 'Gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold.'"
"Is there a chorus?"
"'Gold, gold, gold, gold, gold" said Hwel. (178)
Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages. (195)
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews