The Opera House – Maskerade

maskerade-2‘A catastrophe curve, Mr Bucket, is what opera runs along. Opera happens because of a large number of things amazingly fails to go wrong, Mr Bucket. It works because of hatred and love and nerves. All the time. This isn’t cheese. This is opera. If you wanted a quiet retirement, Mr Bucket, you shouldn’t have bought the Opera House. You should have done something peaceful, like alligator dentistry.’

Something struck me part of the way through Maskerade that perhaps answers the slightly inconsistent nature of the past few Discworld novels. In Maskerade, Granny is bored, agitated and in need of a change. And it hit me that every novel since Lords and Ladies has been similar. Each has featured characters seeking a break from their old routines. Carrot wants to turn the Watch into something worthwhile in Men at Arms. Buddy wishes to save his soul by rock and roll in Soul Music. And Cohen is tired of raping and pillaging and wishes to settle down by running his own empire in Interesting Times. Continue reading →

Weird Era Cont. – Wyrd Sisters

Wyrd SistersThat’s just about land…It’s not the same as a kingdom. A kingdom is made up of all sorts of things. Ideas. Loyalties. Memories. It all sort of exists together. And then all these things create some kind of life. Not a body kind of life, more like a living idea. Made up of everything that’s alive and what they’re thinking.

Oh yes. That’s more like it. After the misstep of Sourcery, where everything good about Discworld was missing amid poor plotting, derivative scenes and (absence of) character, Pratchett hits the equivalent of a 30 yard screamer here.

Many see this as the first ‘proper’ Discworld novel, as Pratchett balances humour, weirdness, social satire and invention with ease. I think that’s unfair on both Mort and Equal Rites – both are flawed but share a lot of the characteristics of what makes his novels uniquely Discworldian. But Wyrd Sisters sings in a way the others to date have not. Continue reading →