25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2012
I have read most of Terry Pratchett's books and the one constant throughout them has been the fantastic characterisation and humour within these books. I have always preferred the Discworld books due to the fact that the characters grow throughout the series. If you are already a Discworld fan and are thinking of buying this book, then I would absolutely recommend it. Yes, it is not a Discworld book, but the characters are so well portrayed and the situations that occur are so well described, then it may as well be a Discworld book, but without the Discworld! If you are new to Pratchett then I would also recommend this book as a good way of seeing what he is capable of. If you enjoy a well-written story with humour, then this should be a definite purchase.
129 of 135 people found the following review helpful
I got this downloaded to my Kindle at the crack of dawn this morning - and I have just finished it. What can I say? After the rather difficult novel that was 'long earth', Mr P is back on form with this mildly Dickensian (okay, a lot Dickensian!) tale of Dodger, a young sewer 'tosher'. In the best tradition of unlikely heroes everywhere, our lad stumbles on the vicious attck of a young girl, thus plunging headlong into a dark mystery. I'm not going to give away the plot, except to say, that it is pure Pratchett, with twists and turns everywhere, starkly witty social observations and characters that Dickens would wish he had invented. Laugh out loud funny, poignant and waspish, this is a strong contender for my favourite book of the year. My only complaint is that five out of five is not enough. Who knew that sewers could be so interesting?! Recommended!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2012
A book that manages to hit that very difficult objective of being an adventure story, with a proper hero,suitable for both children and adults. If I had a five-year-old I would be happy to read it to him or her, but as someone almost as old as Sir Terry, I enjoyed it too.
A sequel must surely be a possibility.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Dodger is something different from Terry Pratchett. Not a fantasy novel or a Diskworld book but a fictional story of a loveable street Urchin set in an alternative Victorian London.
I read this book in a couple of days and couldn't put it down. It was very much a Pratchett book in a Dickensian world filled with a mixture of the kind of curios that Pratchett produces and some very Dickensian old characters laced with famous characters from history thrown into a foggy murky melting pot of Victorian Intrigue.
This has been one of my highlights of this year and a real surprise. Loved it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2012
The introduction of Paul Kidby's illustrations highlighted something which I had not noticed before and that is the gradual "victorianising" of both Discworld and of Sir Terry's other books. I first noticed this in Monstrous Regiment with the cover illustration and the textual description of the uniforms especially devised for woman soldiers (bustles and all). I next saw this in Going Postal where Miss Crippslock's costume is straight out of a late Victorian fashion plate. This is something which Paul Kidby has picked up and reflected in his illustrations to the later books and "The Art of Discworld". "Nation" is set in a world which is close to but not exactly mid 19th century and with "Dodger" we go straight into the real thing - or as real as it can be for someone writing in the 21st century. OK so its not a grimy as it could have been (but its pretty close), Sir Josphe Bazalgette isn't the hero - although I don't agree that he was made to seem ineffectual or weak as someone has claimed elsewhere in these reviews. Its a great story, it reads well and it rattles along at a good pace with a few chuckles and the occasional laugh as you go. The plot is a bit too neatly tied up for my liking - hence the four stars - but its as good as a good discworld and maybe a little better than most.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2014
I have been reading Terry Pratchett's books since the early years of Discworld and had been hoping for something special here. One of my favourite Pratchett books is Good Omens and I imagined that this step away from Discworld would also allow him to spread his wings, freed from the constraints of that series. All I can say is that I was disappointed, The book has no sparkle whatsoever and I had to force myself to keep sticking with it because I always finish books. I don't imagine I will read it again - sorry Terry...
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2012
Similar in style to Nation, this book sets out an alternative history of Victorian England, following the exploits of a young tosher who lives by his wits in the slums of London. A chance encounter with a young girl in distress and two emminent gentlemen (one of whom is Charlie Dickens) sends him on a giddy circuit around the gentry, parliament and down into the sewers and morgues of London.The book is marketed towards children, but I'm not entirely sure the age range it's targetted at. The romance, along with murder, miscarriage and violence, would suggest young adults more than children. I'm not sure how many parents will suddenly falter as they read this to their little cherubs at bedtime.
The book has little of Terry Pratchett's trademark humour, though there is some comedy of errors in Dodger's floundering in the unfamiliar world of high society. The story is told through Dodger's eyes, and so I suppose living on the edge of society leaves little time for laugh-out-loud moments, but I would have preferred more.
I was also uncomfortable with how Dodger met just about every leading figure from that time in the space of a few days, from Babbage and Mayhew through Robert Peel and even to Victoria and Albert, all of whom accepted him as an equal on the say-so of the journalist Dickens. Sweeney Todd I can forgive, this being an alternative past, but Dodger achieving overnight fame for not one but two historic feats of bravery in as many days seemed too coincidental, as did his buying Robert Peel's cast-offs immediately before meeting the man himself.
There was a lot of Samual Vimes in Sir Robert Peel. Historically he was a politician, but in this book his politics are second place to his being a copper of the old school, with a nose for what was what on the streets. I'm afraid that didn't ring true with me.
All that aside, the plot was well written, if a little brief and convenient. It was fun picking up all the Dickensian references (the Jewish watch repairer who had to fix a sprocket or two, for example). I can see it doing well with the young adults. Not my favorite from the master by a long chalk, but not his worst either.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2012
Its not a disc world book - which means loads of people won't read it and that would be shame. Its imaginative yet has some basis in truth of the age - with a liberal splash of poetic licence! - and the obligatory satire.
Its not mushy (there is a romantice essence to it) and it can seem a little far fetched at times especially as its based on historical London and not a world in another dimension supported by elephants and A Turtle LOL - but it is fiction and its what Terry does best. His humour shines through in the book and can be quite droll as well as the more normal satiric style he is famous for.
A good distraction and almost as enjoyable as the discworld books - but not quite!
on 28 February 2015
Dodger isn't an ordinary seventeen year old boy from the poor Seven Dials area of mid-1800's London. Dodger is a people watcher, and it seems that in his seventeen short years there isn't much he has missed. Of course a great deal of this comes from being without parents or family all of his life and having to make his own way in a time where charity was a Victorian workhouse. Dodger is not only smart, his is fast- thus his name. Dodger has also had the benefit of a civilizing force that goes by the name of Solomon Cohen, an elderly gentleman who has a somewhat mysterious past. Dodger saved Solomon from a savage robbery when he was only thirteen and was taken in to live with him in his attic garret. It is Solomon that has taught Dodger of the larger world and it is also Solomon who has kept Dodger on a (relatively) straight path. I say relatively because while Dodger is a basically good young man he does have, on occasion, sticky fingers. Very sticky fingers.
The story starts with another rescue by Dodger, this time of a beautiful young woman who has escaped momentarily from a buggy and the two men who have beaten her badly during a terrible storm. Dodger doesn't know it yet, but this is the opening in a series of events that will dramatically change his life forever, starting with the two men who see the rescue. One of the men just happens to be Charles Dickens. Before he knows it he has encountered various famous Londoners from the infamous Sweeney Todd all the way up to Queen Victoria herself.
I enjoyed this story. At its heart it is really a love story. Dodger has fallen for the young woman nicknamed Simplicity. The fact that he must figure out who is looking to abduct her, fight off rogues, break into a foreign embassy, avoid getting gutted by an infamous assassin and figure out how to keep her safe forever is all a byproduct of hoping that she will someday be his. In the end it was easy to fall in love a bit with Dodger myself- the young man with a wry way of looking at things, a knack for trouble and a heart of pure gold.
on 8 September 2014
“Dodger” is a novel by Terry Pratchett which explores Dickensian London rather than his usual haunt of Ankh-Morpork within the fantasy world of Discworld. As a big fan of Pratchett I was looking forward to reading this novel although I have to be honest and say that I do tend to prefer his Discworld novels as they allow him a bit more freedom.
Anyway, the plot follows Dodger, a loveable rogue who earns a living as a Tosher, a scavenger who prowls the sewers of London hunting out coins and other lost items amongst the sewage. When he rescues a young woman in distress one night he has no idea that it will lead to a series of events which results in his exposure to the public and various important people such as Benjamin Disraeli, Sir Robert Peel and Charles Dickens.
I will start by saying that the humour and wit I have come to expect from Pratchett are there in abundance. At its heart this is a light hearted journey into old London but yet there are some interesting dark undertones as well. Pratchett isn’t scared to touch on the poverty, class issues and rather bleak existence that existed then. Then there is a really clever and sensitive treatment of the Sweeny Todd story which really is one of the big plus points in the novels. However, despite these interesting elements I found the plot to be rather weak and uninspiring. Quite simply there was no spark, it was lacking any real surprises and I could see what was coming a mile away.
Then there are the characters that were probably my least favourite aspect of the story which is hard for me to say as normally the characters really shine in Pratchett novels. For example, Dodger himself is just too much of a super hero that seems to survive and prosper at everything. He manages to go through an odd makeover or two and become accepted by high society, fights off trained assassins at will, wins the heart of a princess he hardly says more than a few words to and becomes accepted as a national hero who is showered with coins by a thankful public. I just found it all a bit too much; he seemed unable to lose at anything which meant he felt too unreal and I was unable to connect with him. In the end I could probably have accepted this if the supporting characters had varied and well developed personalities. However, I found most of them to be wooden and rather lifeless. I don’t know if this is because Pratchett used a lot of historical people in the novel and didn’t want to paint any of them in a bad light but they all just felt like cardboard cut-outs.
Overall, I did smile and grin at parts of the novel and it there was some interesting elements but the weak overall plot and characters meant the whole thing just felt average. This is probably the most disappointed I have been in Pratchett for quite a while but in the end it was still an enjoyable enough diversion even if it wasn’t his best.