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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2006
"Hogfather" is the twentieth book in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series and was first published in 1996. He has gone on to win the Carnegie Medal for "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" and was awarded the OBE in 1998.

"Hogfather" is sometimes known as the third book in "The Death Trilogy". Like the trilogy's first two instalments ("Mort" and "Reaper Man") it gives Death - tall guy, somewhat underfed, carries a scythe, big grin - more than just a brief cameo. Like "Reaper Man", it's the Auditors who are causing problems. The Auditors are in charge of the universe : they see that atoms spin, that gravity works and that things move in curves. However, they hate life - especially humans (too many irregularities). In "Reaper Man", they wanted to force Death into retirement. This time, they want the Hogfather - Discworld's version of Father Christmas - `removed' from office (or grotto, perhaps). To this end, they've hired the disturbed (and disturbing) Mister Teatime from the Guild of Assassins to make sure he stays `removed'. Luckily, Death has discovered what's going on : with Hogswatch Night looming, the Grim Reaper dons a false beard, strategically places a cushion and takes control of the sleigh.

Death shares the spotlight, though : his new duties cause some problems for his grand-daughter, Susan Sto-Helit. Susan is working as a governess in Ankh-Morpork and, as part of her job, she regularly beats up the bogeyman with her trusty poker. In her free time, she occasionally drops into Biers for a drink ("Sometimes you want to go...where nobody knows your name"). It's in the pub that She's warned about her grandfather's strange behaviour by the Death of Rats and his eyeball-obsessed sidekick, Quoth the Raven. Initially, she isn't at all pleased to see the pair, but she has no choice but to get involved. The last time Death neglected his Duty, Susan was expected to take over...

Despite his profession, Death is one of the funniest characters the Discworld has to offer, and Hogfather sees Pratchett on top form. Quoth and Death of Rats are a welcome addition - they're a great double act. It may be a slight advantage to have read at least one from "Mort", "Reaper Man" or "Soul Music" before this (all are very funny) - however, even if you haven't you'll still find "Hogfather" hilarious. Highly recommended.
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on 3 January 2003
One of the longest Discworld novels Terry has written makes for an incredibly hilarious read, thanks to the inclusion of some brilliant new characters and multiple stories that are read almost simultaneously: The wizards and their discovery of some strange beings that inexplicably come into being ('Sock Eaters', 'The oh God of Hangovers', and possibly the funniest being the 'Verucca Gnome'), Susan and her quest to solve the whole mystery and Death and Albert. The book really makes you think philosophically which is more interesting than it sounds! I don't want to give too much of the fantastic plot away (because I can't be bothered), but it is classic Pratchett.
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on 8 February 2007
This was definitely one of my favourite Discworld books. I first started to read it at someone else's house - then I was heartbroken when I had to go and hadn't quite finished it.
Why? Firstly because I love any Discworld volume in which Death features as a central character, but also because it features my favourite character, his granddaughter Susan Sto-Helit.
So what happens in it? Well someone, or something, wants to kill the Hogfather (fat bearded man, wears red, says ho ho ho a lot, etc.) For this purpose, the assassin Teatime is employed.
Teatime is a character who appears quite amicable at first - right up until the point where he pulls out a knife and kills you stone dead. And he's also a mastermind - so his plan involves taking control over children to stop them believing in the Hogfather, accompanied by his gang of thugs.
With this plan underway, who is going to stand in for the Hogfather?
Guess.
HO. HO. HO.
Susan is currently working as a governess, a job which largely involves beating up the under-bed monsters with her trusty poker. Apart from these minor irregularities, she is leading a relatively 'normal' life, until suddenly, to put it in her words, 'the old circus comes to town', and now Susan's got to don a black robe, leave her job and go out to determine exactly what is going on . . .
One of my favourite parts of this book was possibly the idea of personified forces coming into existence as creatures, such as the Hair Loss Fairy, the Eater Of Socks and, of course, the Oh God Of Hangovers ('Well, if there's a god of wine . . .')who accompanies Susan on her quest. I like the Unseen university scenes - which are usually responsible for providing the comedy. I also liked the demonstration of Susan's fearlessness when pitted against a being that can personify itself as your worst nightmare - 'Good grief, you're scraping the bottom of the barrel, aren't you?' and the subtle appropriateness of the villain who's 'in touch with his inner child' confronted by a governess, and the irony of who becomes the Tooth Fairy's replacement. I particularly liked the end (but I don't mean to give the wrong idea, I mean that I liked the whole book but particularly liked the end). And, as usual, the plot gives the implication that Death is Not So Bad After All, and would rather prefer being the Hogfather (with his manservant Albert by way of being the Hogfather's Little Helper, naturally).
Oh yes, and there's a film adaption, which I watched when it was first on. Good, I liked it, all things taken into consideration.
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on 6 May 2016
My first encounter with the godfather was sky 1's adaptation and whilst reading I realised no much it had stuck to the plot.
Whilst an interesting read with some great characters I found the story wavered on tangents for a while and the plot a bit wavy. Made up for however by the dead cert Susan, more human than dead Death and Banjo the underdog. Would read again just to see what little clues I've missed
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We may have Christmas but of course things are different on the Discworld where it is Hogswatch and a certain fat man in red brings presents, known as the Hogfather. This which was the twentieth novel in the series does in places touch on things that have been mentioned or have cropped up in some of the previous novels, so if you have read them you may have a slightly stronger grasp on a few subjects.

Here the Auditors, something far worse from outside this world than ever thought up by H P Lovecraft, have a task for the Guild of Assassins – assassinate the Hogfather. Is it even feasible let alone possible? One thing is for sure Mr Teatime is certain he can do it; after all he has spent many a time working out how to kill different people. But if the Hogfather was to be removed, who would carry on this grand old Hogswatch tradition?

Death finds that he will have to be the Hogfather until matters can be sorted out; after all he knows how important such a thing is for humans, mainly children. But will the Discworld ever be the same again? This is definitely a fun tale that does raise certain points such as the commercialism of Christmas, social inequality, the great philosophical and theological question on faith and whether things can become what they are thought to be due to this, and belief itself.

With Susan Sto-Helit, Death’s granddaughter also roped in it is a race against time to save Hogswatch from being altered for all time. This book also raises the difference between fantasy and reality as we see Susan deal with her two charges’ beliefs in monsters.

I haven’t read this for a while so it was great coming back to it, and as I picked this for the local book group hopefully there will be more than enough to discuss about this story. Always a fun read, as with all the other Discworld books this does throw some weight as it addresses and looks at issues that we are all aware of but don’t really ever take time to ponder over.
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2015
Hogfather is essentially an alternative Father Christmas story. It is run on many different levels of storyline and to be frank I think it is one of the best Discworld novels that I have read. If you like the Discworld novels you will love this one. As I finished it I was left thinking that it was quite possibly a stroke of pure genius. You would benefit from reading the other novels before this one but it can be read on its own.
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HALL OF FAMEon 13 December 2004
The release of this book evoked some distress among Terry Pratchett fans. Expecting another City Watch or Rincewind book, this one took most by surprise. Initial reactions were muted praise at best. Over time, more readers came to understand that this book introduced a new aspect of PTerry's thinking and writing. After a string of hilarious fantasies featuring Rincewind or the Wyrd Sisters, he presented here an unexpected dark side.

The story itself is almost simplistic, although classic Pratchett. The Auditors, who elsewhere attempted to give Death the sack, have decided that Hogswatch Night is a source of cosmic disorder. Contracting with the Assassin's Guild to have the Hogfather "brought to an end", they unleash a disturbing series of events. And cause Pratchett to introduce the first truly evil character in the Discworld series.

No-one likes the Patrician. But his job isn't designed for popularity contests. Ipslore cheats death to have revenge on his fellow wizards, but overzealous parents are no novelty. Mister Teatime [pronounced "Teh-ah-tim-eh"], however, is a real departure from Pratchett villains. He is consummately evil, cleverly choosing the most vulnerable segment of society in his attempt to control all the Discworld. This is the first truly repulsive character Pratchett's created. Reading Hogfather makes you wonder: is there a real-life model for this character, or has PTerry created him wholly? If the first, we must find and destroy him/her. If the latter, there's a terribly dark place in Pratchett's psyche and we have to wonder what else is in there.

The irony of Death substituting for the missing Hogfather is pure Pterry. Death's ongoing struggle to understand humans is vividly presented in this novel. He replaces a department store Hogfather in one of the most hilarious scenes in Discworld literature. Pratchett also responds to the rising tide of feminists by raising Susan Sto-Helit from near obscurity. She is destined to become a leading figure in the Discworld series. Her raven associate is almost as cynical as Gaspode the Communicating Canine. Pratchett uses these characters to demolish the more fervently held myths we hold dear. With a finesse other writers must envy, Pratchett uses the Discworld to mirror our own - the motto he's given us often. From a hesitant acceptance of this book as "another Discworld novel", Hogfather has become one of the leading examples of Pratchett's expressive talent. It's worthy of a second read. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada
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on 6 May 2015
I'm a Pratchett nut - I don't think that I've read a book of his that I would happily give 5 stars to.... I've read all of them at least twice.... This latest re dressing of the early part of the collection is great for newcomers - or the complete fruitcake like me.
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on 18 December 2013
This is an excellent Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. It is witty, lively, funny but also very deep, clever and thought provoking. This is definitely a good read.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels are marvellous. Just give the first two a miss (The colour of Magic and The light fantastic) as they are wobbly, and whatever you do don't read the last one (Raising steam) ; Raising Steam (clearly not written by TP!) is appallingly poor and would put you off the author, which would be a shame as his books are masterpieces!
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on 11 January 2015
I first read this book years ago and every Christmas since. It's funny with a whole host of characters who almost seem to jump off the page. It's a delightful story focusing on the nature of belief but never in any way heavy handed.
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