Monday, 7 September 2015

Book review 1 //The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett (SPOILERS)

Before the book

For many years I’ve been reading Terry Pratchett's books, ever since I was perusing my Dad’s bookshelf and the magnificent cover of the Colour of Magic caught my eye. I remember wondering what colour magic would be. I imagined it to be a multitude of varying hues but was curious what colour Pratchett would suggest so I began to read...

 Terry Pratchett, Jingo

From then on it has been a relationship of love.  I’d eagerly await the next book, read it over a few days then be left pining for more. At this point I’d go back and flick through a few favourites to stave off the hunger for more.
I remember exactly where I was, when I got the news Pratchett sadly passed away earlier this year. I was on a train back from placement, along with a fellow student. 

I remember that feeling of loss at the news of his death, feeling like a little part of me died as well. I remember telling my fellow student and being surprised that she’d never heard of him. This was strange for me, how someone who has had such a massive influence on my life and personal development could be nothing to someone else. Part of what was so devastating was the knowledge that there would be no more new Discworld novels to read. That the crazy, detailed, beautiful world would no longer be explored.

Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent

So when I first heard about The Shepherd's Crown I felt a mixture of feelings. Happy:yes there would be one more book! Sad: I had already consoled myself to the end of Discworld, would I have to do so again? Confused: I only heard about it a few days before its release! Nervous:would it live up to the previous books as it wasnt quite as polished as Pratchett intended??

I told my Dad, who bought it promptly one rainy day in Birkenhead. I then had to wait him to finish it before I could start! When I finally received the book I devoured it in two days.

The Shepherd's Crown, by Terry Pratchett

The book (Spoilers)

So I cottoned on pretty quickly that Granny Weatherwax was going to die. Due to this my impressions of the first hundred pages were through teary eyes. Esme Weatherwax falls neatly under my category of favourite literary characters ever, so I really hit me that she was dead.

The book centres on this event, in that her death leaves the Discworld susceptible to the Elves. Pratchett’s elves are a thing of beauty twisted with darkness that must be defeated by the young with Tiffany Aching. Tiffany, however, is preoccupied by being a successful witch to both her own, and Granny Weatherwax’s steadings.  

In previous Discworld books, elves have been a “bad guy” that has cropped up a few times. In this book it’s interesting to see how the new generation of witches deals with the threat in their own way.

New characters Geoffrey and Mephistopheles show that the Discworld will always challenge stereotypical gender roles. After all everyone knows that men can’t be witches! Part of me is sad that I will never know what ideas Pratchett had stashed away for these two characters. I’m sure if he had continued writing we would have see more of them in future books!

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the final addition to the Discworld series. Despite disclaimers that Terry Pratchett hadn’t got it up scratch before passing away, I found it to be as well written as any of his previous novels. There is a lot of irony in the death of Granny Weatherwax, as a strong character in the series and that of her progenitor.

The literary world will never see their ilk again.

It may take me a while but I will definitely be rereading this again, maybe when I’m more emotionally stable.

Abi x