Hogfather (Discworld) ★★★★★

hogfather (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Hogfather
Series: Discworld
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 304
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

It is Hogwatch Night and the Hogfather is flying across the world in his red suit and white beard and 4 jolly boars delivering gifts to all the children. However, this Hogwatch Night the Hogfather is looking a little different. He’s a bit bony in the face, he has to stuff a pillow up the suit to give him that jolly fat look and his ho ho ho’s are more like HO, HO, HO! Yes, Death has taken over being the Hogfather for the night.

Now, where did this all start? The Auditors. Of Reality. They hired the Assassin’s Guild to kill the Hogfather. The head of the Guild, thinking it an impossible job, assigns it to Mr Teatime, an assassin who has been causing problems lately with how much he’s been killing. He’s got no style, you know? So the HAG (Head of the Assassins Guild) gives the job to Teatime. Either he’ll succeed and the Guild will get a cavern of gold or Teatime will fail and they can let him go and be done with him. Teatime has thought about just this kind of situation and he has answers.

And that is why Death is pretending to be the Hogfather. He can’t interfere with the Auditors directly but he sets his granddaughter Susan on the case. She tracks down Teatime, who has used the power of the Tooth Fairy make children NOT believe in the Hogfather. She and the newly created god of Hangovers, with the help from a tooth fairy helper, take down the insane assassin.

It is revealed that if the Hogfather doesn’t exist, the sun won’t rise. This will destroy all life on Discworld and THAT is the final goal of the Auditors. Life is messy and doesn’t really fit into neat check boxes, so they want to get rid of it. All of it.

Can Death, Susan and sundry others Save the Most Magical Night of the Year? Of course! Not even Pratchett was so full of bilious hatred and vitriol against Christmas that he’d write otherwise. But he gets his revenge on the readers by getting all metaphysical for at least 3 solid pages. What a rotter.

 

My Thoughts:

My goodness, it has been a bloody decade since I last read this! Still 5stars, still a favorite and still just as good as last time.

This time around I concentrated on the character of Teatime. And you know what? He takes up a VERY small portion of the book even while being a main villain and the killer of the Hogfather. It is like he casts a huge shadow over the whole book while only being a skinny little twig. He has such presence though that I “remembered” him having a much larger role. I think it does say something for Pratchett’s skill that he can make a such a small used character be so big. Of course, him facing down Death himself right at the end does show he had some pretty big cojones.

Death gets a great bit of action and I just laughed and laughed. When Corporal Nobbs, the most venal member of the Watch, gets a super duper assault crossbow from the big red sack and he goes nutso with excitement, I just about died. It also made me remember H.P’s review of the lamest Robin Hood movie ever, complete with “assault crossbows”. Maybe it would have been a good movie if Knobby Nobbs had showed up, hahahahaa. Anyway, I did a lot of laughing.

Susan plays a huge part but unlike Teatime she was so exasperated all the time that she couldn’t be “normal” that it wore a little thin. We get it, she doesn’t want to be Death’s granddaughter. Honey, get over it. You don’t really get to pick your relatives. She started out funny with beating the crap out of monsters under the bed with a poker but became almost grating by the end.

The Unseen Academy and the Wizards are involved, as is HEX the thinking machine. HEX going insane and taking digital frog pills to cure itself was just about the highlight for me.

The only downside to this book was the few pages of metaphysics that Pratchett throws in. All crap about Justice and Mercy and Hope being nothing but lies. Then he took it do a bad place where you can’t believe those things if you don’t believe other lies, like the Tooth Fairy. What a hopeless and utterly futile way to live. He just couldn’t resist allowing his bitter hatred against God, or even the idea of God to peek on through. Thankfully, it wasn’t enough to spoil the whole book. However, I tend to think I’ll have to wait another decade before I try this again.

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Midden

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Title: The Midden

Series: —–

Author: Tom Sharpe

Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Genre: Satire

Pages: 352

Format: Kindle Digital edition

 

Synopsis:

A rich, spoiled boy gets involved with drug runners who want him to frame his uncle, who is a judge. Spoiled boy runs off, gets drugged, and somehow gets involved in small town politics.

A corrupt police chief, a woman who doesn’t want the burden of taking care of her ancestral home and a various cast of inept and bumbling idiots all come together for a finale of death, fire and explosions. Not to mention a Black Mass where hordes of children are to be sacrificed.

 

My Thoughts:

On the surface, this should have been as funny as Riotous Assembly. However, while it was just as biting and satirical, it came across as bitter and angry without the humor. In fact, this left me in a completely foul mood for about 24hrs.

When a book affects me like that, I drop the author like a hot potato.

star10full-custom

Spiderlight

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes(maybe) & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 
Title: Spiderlight
Series: ——
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 304
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

A new dark lord has risen in the land and it is up to one intrepid group to fulfill the prophecy. Unfortunately for these said servants of the light, the means of their salvation is a servant of darkness, a spider transformed by arcane magics into a humanoid form.

Beset by fears and doubts within and without, what will this group do once they confront the dark lord and find out the secret of the ages.

 

My Thoughts: Spoilers

This was a greatly written book. If you want to try Tchaikovsky’s writings without dipping into his Shadows of the Apt Decalogue, this would be a great way to experience what he has to offer.

This is a very biting satire on the “Righteous” & the “Evil” tropes in fantasy and Tchaikovsky really turns things on their heads.  More than that, he seems to be trying to advocate for a completely grey world, where there are no standards and no Law Giver. That might amuse, entertain and be in line with a lot of his reader’s thoughts, but for me, I hew to a different line.

God exists. All standards are set by what He has revealed in the Bible. They are not arbitrary but aspects of His character.

Now, some might be thinking “Goodness, Bookstooge, it is JUST a book” and I concur. But ideas are where the battle for this world are fought and won or lost and as such when an idea sets itself against God, I take it very seriously.  This is obviously not some Theological Tome but neither is it just an Escapist piece of literature. I know I’m not conveying this very well and I’m struggling to quantify the “Why”.  I think that it comes down to the Idea that there is No Perfect Being, not just in humanity, but in any Supernatural form either.  Which means that God is just a big meany with lots of power and THAT is what I take exception to. That debate is for another time and place and probably not on a post online. Face to face.

With all of that being said, I didn’t hate this book. If I just took it as satire on some fantasy tropes I probably would have enjoyed this much more and rated it higher and not given it the Theological tag. But it pushed a wrong button for me. It has not dissuaded me from reading any more by him however and I look forward to see what other Ideas he puts on paper in his other books.

star25full-custom

Riotous Assembly (Piemburg #1)

16cb5a8c0c5809bdcdb40dc21c1bbb14This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Riotous Assembly

Series: Piemburg #1

Author: Tom Sharpe

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Historical, Humor

Pages: 258

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The misadventures of the Afrikaaner Van Heerden, head of the police force in Piemburg, South Africa, as he investigates the killing of a Zulu cook by the local (socially) ruling British matron.

Along the way there are police ambushes, latex fetishists, hand to paw combat with a doberman, hangings and a play by the local madhouse which ends with the shooting of some artillery that blows up.

Madcap

 

My Thoughts:

A bit of context was necessary before I got very far into this. Sharpe was in South Africa during apartheid and was a very vocal opponent of it. Eventually he was deported for his writings against it. Once you have that in mind you realize that what you are reading is not a raging rascist going for the humor angle, but a satirist at his most biting.

This was hilarious. I was wheezing in several places and my wife had to ask me if I was ok. I was more than ok in fact.

Every character was incompetent, looking out for themselves and bumbling. It made for some serious misadventures. One such was when one police underling is told to guard the gate and he takes an elephant gun with him. He hides in a bunker, it is dusk and some other plainclothes policemen are coming onsite. He starts shooting, they start shooting, armoured cars get involved and in the end 21 policeman are dead and the underling is desperately trying to figure out how he can spin it so it isn’t his fault. That sums up this book.

There was a lot of crassness involved [anything to do with latex fetishists seems to go that way] and some unnecessary sexual details. Other than that, this was an uproariously fun read.

star40full