I want to add my review here of Nation but it's actually an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. The reason is that I don't want to appear to be `gushing' with praise for it. If ever I read such a review, it normally has the effect of turning me off the book completely, as it's obviously written by a fan who hasn't read a different author or genre since they left primary school. In view of this, here's what I genuinely thought of it:
I finished the book last night and my immediate thought was `Oh my gosh, this is a classic'. This is a book that will be discussed, debated and written about for years to come. It's a bit like being around when a new Dickens or Jane Austin novel came out.
The plot has been mentioned here already, so I won't repeat it again. I see that some reviewers have said that Nation is pitched at older children in their teens, but don't be fooled. This book has so much depth and can be read at so many levels, there's enough here to keep 10 year old Harry Potter fans to Academic Philosophers happy. The writing style is as clear and sparkling as cut crystal and while reading it, Pratchett takes your conscious mind out of this world and into his. You become each character, looking through their eyes, thinking their thoughts and feeling their every emotion. It is a fully immersive experience. The book also engages the brain by making you think about how societies and belief systems are created and our place in them. It is also a book to make you think about what makes you, you. If ever there was a book that could provide software upgrade for your brain, this is it.
Terry, I'll probably never meet you in person, but thank you for such a special gift.