Friday, February 08, 2008

Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Moist von Lipwig is bored...... very bored. He has turned around the Post Office to such an extent it can run without him and his girlfriend is off rescuing Golems. Even dabbling in his old thieving skills has not take the edge off his boredom. At the same time Lord Vetinari has a problem. He needs someone to run the Royal Mint, and the bank next door. Lipwig seems to be the very man for the job but as always, the path never runs smooth for the dashing conman. The Mint is running at a loss, the chief Cashier may be a vampire and there's a mad scientist in the basement. If that's not enough the Assassins Guild, the family of the previous chairman and an old business associate are out to kill him. Oh and he must find time to take the chairman for his daily walkies. Can the Discworld's most likeable conman turn things around or will he finally be on the end of a noose and a short sharp drop?

This is Pratchett's second adventure starring Moist von Lipwig and is the third in his series of books that seem to be based on inventions (the newspaper, the postage stamp and the bank note respectively). All in all this is the 31st Discworld novel. I have immensely enjoy Pratchett's take on the world and his humour and am a fan of his work. Unfortunately the downside to Pratchett's talent is my high expectations of his work, which this book failed to live up to.

Don't get me wrong, this is a perfectly readable book and has some absolutely superb moments (I don't think anyone will forget the scene involving Mr Fusspot and the secret room). Yet I found these moments were strung out by some pretty boring storylines and dialogue. I can remember after the first few chapters wondering when the story would get going as it seemed to take forever to set up the various parts of the plot. In some ways it was a little too much like 'Going Postal', in the sense that Lipwig has to invent a new concept to keep the institution afloat, previously the postage stamp and in this case the bank note. I felt there was a bit too much of Vetinari in the book which made appear less omnipotent and mysterious. Some of the plot points made my head hurt (I still don't understand quite how the golems were able to save Lipwig's bacon). There were glimmers of the Pratchett I know but sadly not enough for me.

It was the minor characters in the book that really made it for me like Topsy, Mr Fusspot, Gladys, the wizards and the guards. The minor characters are the staples of many a good Discworld novel. We know most of the minor characters through previous books and so Pratchett isn't required to build up their character through the book as we already know it. It is definitely one of the strengths of the series.

It hasn't put me off Discworld in the slightest and I look forward to the publication of his next book in later this year (codenamed ‘Nation’ I believe and out in the UK in September). I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who is trying Pratchett for the first time and would instead suggest Colour of Magic, Guards! Guards! or Soul Music. It is worth reading if you are a Discworld fan as there is a likelihood that some of the plot points will effect plots in his future Discworld novels. Readable but not a book I'd be bothered about reading again.

*3 stars*

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