Okay, I'll be the first to admit it. I can be a fairly stupid person when I put my mind to it. At least that's how I feel, having now finished my very first Terry Pratchett novel. Go ahead, throw rocks at me! You are certainly entitled. I've been an avid reader of the genre for two decades now, as many well know. So how come I have never read a Discworld book before now? It's a legitimate question, that's true. Unfortunately, I have no satisfying answer to offer you.
Living in Canada, where we can get Pratchett's novels since the beginning (one of the joys of being a member of the Commonwealth!), I've seen the Discworld novels every time I go to a bookstore. For some reason, I harbored doubts that fantasy and comedy could particularly go well together. After all, when I needed a laugh, there was always Seinfeld. Having read Thud!, I realize the immensity of my error of judgement. Over the years, I have witnessed how popular the author became. The first time I traveled to London, I noticed that he had more shelf space than Jordan and Tolkien put together. Still, I was reticent to pick up on of his books.
When Thud! debuted at number 4 on the NYT bestseller list, certain critics claimed that it was about time American fantasy readers realized just how good Terry Pratchett was. In light of such acclaim, I finally decided that the time had come for me to jump on the bandwagon.
The narrative flows flawlessly, and the dialogues are great and bring a smile on your face at every turn.:-) Pratchett's sharp wit and delightful humor surpass those of both Neal Stephenson and Neil Gaiman, two of my favorites in those departments.
With Discworld being such an enormous series, I was afraid that I would have difficulty getting into the story. Yet that was not the case. Although a lot is alluded to, new readers like me can read Thud! as a stand-alone novel without missing a beat. The dynamic prose keeps you turning those pages, following the wild adventures of a bunch of hilarious characters.
I now understand why Pratchett has garnered so much praise over the years. And believe me, it is well-deserved. Although humorous, there is a much deeper side to the author's work. Most jokes and observations often act as a mirror to our own world. Hidden underneath one of the most entertaining book I've read this year is an insightful social commentary.
And the author's jab at The Da Vinci Code, as Vimes and company must solve the riddle of a painting that supposedly conceals the true secret of the Koom Valley battle, was a nice touch to a wonderful tale.
I am now -- and forever will be -- a fan of Terry Pratchett and the Discworld universe! Yes, it took me a long time to face the truth. But I am now a believer! And I now have 29 Discworld novels to read and enjoy! By the way, can anyone tell me how a series which has reached its 30th volume can still be this good!?!
If you haven't read it yet, put Thud! on that Christmas present list! The other Discworld books will certainly be on mine!;-)
The final verdict: 9/10