Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Lords and Ladies Book Review

Get ready for weird...

Background about the Author and Story:
Before I even begin, I think it's important to point out that this is my first book in the Discworld series.  There are currently 40 Discworld books, and I jumped in at book 14, so this review will be coming from the perspective of someone unfamiliar with the series.  That being said however, this is my second book I've read by Terry Pratchett.  For those of you who haven't heard of Terry, he primarily writes comical and satirical fantasy novels.  His books are very funny, and often have some kind of underlying theme that ties all the elements of the story together. (This just in - Turns out all books actually have underlying themes - who knew?)

So what is Discworld? Basically it is a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants which stand on the back of a giant turtle.  Again, comical fantasy.  The key take away from all of this is that you are reading about a very strange fantasy world

The Review!
Our Protagonists

So how is it?!  The answer is it's pretty good!  The book stars three witches who are trying to keep out an invasion of elves.  As the multiverses converge (there's multiverses in this book too), the potential for the parasite elvish universe to invade the human universe is all but certain.  This is bad because elves use their glamour to deceive humans' view of them, and then take over the world. (Guess what the theme is...)

Elves are bad, mkay?

Sadly, the conflict is not this book's strong suit.  Again this is my first novel, but in this book the motivation for the elves' take over isn't really dived into at all.  In addition to this, most of the townspeople don't even know that the elves exist.  This leads to you not really caring much for what happens in the story.

Fortunately, the humor picks up a lot of the slack.  The whole book is full of little jabs at society, and it has lots of little jokes that keep you laughing the whole way through.  An example of this comes from page 123: 
"Also, the cook couldn't get the hang of vegetarianism.  The traditional palace cuisine was heavy in artery-clogging dishes so full of saturated fats that they oozed out in great wobbly gobules.  Vegetables existed as things to soak up spare gravy, and were generally boiled to a uniform shade of yellow in any case."
The characters are a riot!

The Lords and Ladies also excelled with its entertaining characters.  A few of the funnier characters include Giamo Casanunda whose business card includes 'World's Second Greatest Lover - We never sleep' with 'outrageous liar' listed below as one of his skills.  The story also followed a Librarian-turned-monkey who can only say 'ook', but would engage in conversations with other (slightly mad) wizards.  The witches themselves really made the book, as each of them have a plethora of funny personality traits.  One of the witches would leave a sign "I AINT DEAD" while she slept, and another would cause nearby townspeople to run for cover when she bathed (due to her horrendous singing).  The third witch fell into the role of soon-to-be-Queen, and embodied the exact opposite of usual Queen-like behaviors.  The amusing character interactions were really what made this book such a fun read.

The theme!

As I hinted at earlier, the book has the theme that glamour can be misleading and destructive in the end.  The theme is fairly well delved into, although the frivolous plot takes away its strength.  By the end of the book you are exposed to a few meaningful insights, but there's nothing that will really change your life.

The Verdict:

The Lords and Ladies is a fun read, and despite its mediocre plot, it will leave you wanting more of Discworld.


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