Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Review - Terry Pratchett's Hogfather

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Published by: Harper Torch
Publication Date: 1996
Format: Paperback, 354 Pages
Rating: ★★★★★
To Buy

In the 20th installment of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, we once again see old friends and meet some new acquaintances. Though perhaps I should have read this in December, seeing as it's about Hogswatch, Discworld's equivalent to Christmas, I still found it vastly enjoyable during the summer heat. The rouges gallery that Pratchett has assembled for us this time around are the Wizards of UU (that's Unseen University to those not in the know), DEATH, his granddaughter Susan, various other holiday or occupational manifestations in corporeal form, the assassin Mister Teatime (pronounced Teh-ah-tim-eh) and some inept villains, I would say thieves, but they are not licensed.

The core of the book is about belief. What would happen if someone was actually able to kill Santa Clause/The Fat Man/The Hogfather, insert name here, by destroying belief? Could the world actually function if The Hogfather died and what would happen with the extra belief that then seeped into the world? Would random manifestations like a Veruca Goblin or a God of Hangovers actually come into or back into existance to fill the void? Do we, as humans really need to believe the more fantastical lies of youth in order to function later in life? What I find wonderful about Terry Pratchett is that while his books have a flawless veneer of humor that may have you laughing out loud, he truly understands human nature.

I also find it fascinating that, like Neil Gaiman, he tackles the issues of what happens to gods over time. While in American Gods, Neil Gaiman has the new gods and the old gods battle it out for their piece of belief, whereas in Hogfather, we have old gods who do new jobs. Just because The Hogfather is all modern and Santa-esque with the sleigh pulled by giant pigs in his red kit doesn't mean that before that or even at the same time he's from an older age of blood and ice and fire. You need to evolve with faith and belief not to be outmoded and made obsolete.

Finally I would just like to say I think Susan is perfectly matched against Mister Teatime. She is no nonsense, monsters who threaten her or her charges will get the poker. I kind of admire her for her take no prisoners, nothing can faze me attitude, though having DEATH as your granddad probably teaches you the harsh realities rather fast. Against her Pratchett has placed Mister Teatime "who saw things differently from other people, and one of the ways that he saw things differently from other people was in seeing other people as things." A terrifying assassin who's own guild is trying to oust him. The struggle between the two is a great read, but it should be no surprise as to who wins in the end.

So go out and read this book! In fact, read all of Discworld, it's a place striding across time and space on the backs of four giant elephants atop the space turtle Great A'Tuin, that you'll want to stay in for quite awhile, and luckily for you as of October there are 37 novels in that wondrous land.


Ohh, 5 stars. I will add this to my list. The cover is cracking me up.

Your blog has been nominated for an award.

- Thanks Pixie

Oh do Pixie!I think this was one of his best so far, and he has so many good ones!

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