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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it's not bad. Yes
Nothing stays the same.
Some of the reviews almost stopped me from reading the book. Definitely stopped me from buying it. I borrowed it from a friend and read it in 2 evenings. No, it's not bad. Yes, it's still Discworld. It's just changing in the direction that I personally don't like. But isn't our world, too? It's unfair to suggest it wasn't written by the...
Published 4 months ago by Anna

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A sadly disappointing addition to the series
I have been reading Discworld novels since the initial release of The Color Of Magic and throughout the series, the world and the writing has grown and changed. Usually these changes have been for the better but for me at least this particular novel is a step in the wrong direction. Whether that's because of Sir Terry's illness or just a change in his style is debatable,...
Published 1 month ago by The Crusader


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it's not bad. Yes, 15 Aug 2014
This review is from: Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels) (Hardcover)
Nothing stays the same.
Some of the reviews almost stopped me from reading the book. Definitely stopped me from buying it. I borrowed it from a friend and read it in 2 evenings. No, it's not bad. Yes, it's still Discworld. It's just changing in the direction that I personally don't like. But isn't our world, too? It's unfair to suggest it wasn't written by the author, that it's so bad it's a waste of money. If you're a true fan, buy it by all means, it's part of the history. Yes, it's quite serious, rather surprisingly bloody for Pratchett, innocent people actually die here and bad guys are too bad for the otherwise subtle Discworld. But hey, it is after all a mirror of worlds, isn't it? Witty repartee and fantastic jokes are all well, but sometimes - especially with 39 books so far - it has to be a bit more somber and a bit closer to home.
If you're ne to Pratchett, you could probably start with something else, but don't be put off. I was introduced to Discworld with Going postal. The book didn't have the best reviews either, and know what? Personally I loved it so much, I haven't stopped reading Pratchett since.
So take a risk, buy it or borrow it from a friend and see for yourself. Hopefully you'll be reaching for more.
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144 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, but still Discworld, 14 Nov 2013
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The majority of the negative reviews on here - in particular the WONDERFUL review by A Nailor - kudos to you, that is the best review I've read on Amazon - aren't entirely wrong. I can completely understand why people are saying that the language, the characterisation, the plotting are all slightly... well, off. This has been true to a greater or lesser extent of all his novels since Monstrous Regiment, and may be (I'm really not sure) a result of Terry having to accommodate the use of speech recognition software in dictation of the novels. Certainly, they are very different animals from the earlier novels, which are much easier to read and full of snappy dialogue and splendid jokes.

So why am I giving this 5 stars? I certainly struggled through the first hundred pages, and felt my heart sinking more and more at the long and convoluted sentences, and the rather jarring scenes which seemed to have little to do with the plot.

But then, something just clicked. I slowed down my reading (and in fact went back to the beginning and reread it with a different mindset). Yes, it's not the same old Discworld, but underneath that it is still the product of the superb mind of Terry Pratchett. It took a lot of effort, but I could see what he was doing, and began to appreciate it. The humour is still there, if not so obvious and instantly accessible.

There's less overt magic, which as a fantasy addict I regret, but this is a grown-up Discworld, where magic is gradually giving way to the increasing industrialisation of Ankh-Morpork.

Do I miss the old Pratchett? Yes, of course. But this is a new phase in the developing world, and I'm glad that Terry Pratchett is still giving us valuable new insights into human (and other species) behaviour. Long may he continue to do so!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A sadly disappointing addition to the series, 16 Nov 2014
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I have been reading Discworld novels since the initial release of The Color Of Magic and throughout the series, the world and the writing has grown and changed. Usually these changes have been for the better but for me at least this particular novel is a step in the wrong direction. Whether that's because of Sir Terry's illness or just a change in his style is debatable, but Raising Steam really does not read like a Pratchett book to me. Whether it's ghost written as suggested by some of the other reviewers I don't know, but it definitely marks a complete change in direction and writing style. If you are expecting a "traditional" Discworld novel, you are likely to be disappointed. Having read a handful of the nearly 1000 reviews on here, it seems that even a lot of the 5 star reviewers have commented on how different and unPratchettlike this is... are those 5 stars simply because they love everything Discworld or a sympathy vote for a sadly very ill author - either would be understandable but they don't give a fair reflection of the experience of reading this title. This isn't the first Discworld book that I've not totally enjoyed (Unseen Academicals and Eric come to mind) but it's the first time I've felt strongly enough to leave a review and I'm sorry that it's a negative one.For myself I will probably give the series one more try (assuming there are any further books published) before I give up. Nobody can be brilliant all the time!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite But Almost, 9 Jun 2014
This review is from: Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels) (Hardcover)
This one is a good 3 1/2 stars but not quite a 4.

Raising Steam is the Fortieth, four-zero, Discworld novel. A hugely impressive fact especially when you consider that Terry Pratchett only published the first in 1983 and didn't decide to take a full-time swing at it and follow that up until 1986 AND found time to complete a further dozen plus non-Discworld books (not to mention the numerous Science of Discworld and other such accompanying works).

As with any series of work, fans are prone to point to different entries as "the best" or "not as good as..." while reminiscing about the days when the Witches weren't resigned to the 'for young readers' books and Rincewind would make an appearance in anything other than footnotes (that being said, any fan will tell you that Pratchett's footnotes are the stuff of legend). There is a distinctive difference between the style of recent Discworld novels and those of, say, pre- Fifth Elephant. With a few notable exceptions (Last Hero, Nightwatch, Monstrous Regiment - the 'Vimes' books it seems are the last bastion of 'grit'), the books have certainly referenced previous novels and hinted at the past yet seemed less involved, lighter.

Raising Steam is just such a book. It nods toward Discworld novels past and depth (the darkness of the Grags and the friction among generations of dwarfs and Dirk Simnel is the son of Reaper Man's Ned Simnel) yet uses brush strokes far too wide to fill in too much detail and just as it appears that we may be reaching a thrilling, involving plot, it's all over but for a medal ceremony.

It's impossible to read a Terry Pratchett book these days (especially the 40th Discworld novel) without two factors clouding judgement - the legacy of brilliance of earlier Discworld novels and the impact (or looking for clues of it) of his Alzheimer's disease. This is a shame but those elements which prevent Raising Steam scoring higher reviews are likely drawn from the consequences of just such factors.

I'd love to see Pratchett approach a story across more than the one book again, to not feel the need to wrap everything up into a neat little, Patrician-knew-everything-all-along entry, really let something occur that took more than one novel to resolve. But then, it's not my Discworld it's his.

For all it's could-ofs and should-haves, any Discworld novel is full of humour and wordplay and Raising Steam is no exception. While not quite the romp of previous entries into the Discworld series, the fortieth (I do hope we get to fiftieth) is an enjoyable read that at the very least opens avenues for further novels to explore with a few chuckles along the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 1 Dec 2014
By 
Anne (Sheffield, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This is the 40th book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and unfortunately I don’t think that it is a success. It left me feeling very flat and I was disappointed that at no point during reading the book did I receive any form of insight into the peculiarities of the way that our world works which is one of the author’s specialties and nor did it raise much more than a slight smile.

This book concentrates on the coming of the Industrial Revolution and most especially the steam engine. The author really tells the story of the real world but just changes the names and the places a bit in order for it to be set in the Discworld. It is actually quite a straightforward narrative explaining the changes in society which arise from the introduction of the steam train. Normally Terry Pratchett twists the story of what happens in the real world and portrays it in a new and original way thus helping you to see some interesting truths about our own society. This book fails to do that and is thus a pretty ordinary description of what has happened. It is entertaining enough but there is certainly something missing and I spent most of the book waiting for the Terry Pratchett moment of insight and wit which sadly did not occur.

The author uses some of the existing characters of the Discworld to tell his story. The main character is Moist Lipwig who has been the hero of some of the more recent novels in the series. I have to say that I don’t find him as engaging a character as some of those from the earlier books and in this story he actually is rather dull in places. The Patrician has a major role in the plot here but he seems to have had a character change in that he is no longer the Machiavellian person that we’ve come to know and love – he even explains what he is doing and why in places. I found that there was no character here that I particularly enjoyed spending time with and those I did recognise seemed to have changed since previous books. There is a significant absence of magic or of the character of Death both of which always enhance a novel.

It is possible, of course, that the author is developing a different style – after all it must be difficult to write the same way over such a long period. If that is the case then I’m sure that there is a readership for him but I am not really one of that number. I read this book looking for and failing to find the wit, originality and downright ingenuity of the previous books in the Discworld series and I really missed them. If I want to read a book about the impact of the Industrial Revolution then I can read a history textbook. What I cannot often find is a very funny and insightful fantasy novel – and I did not find that here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Simplicity and obviousness, 24 Nov 2014
This is one of the rare books that I had to force myself to finish, despite the fact that there is no Discworld novel that I haven't read at least twice (and many more for all but the last few). I doubt that TP wrote it and now I have doubts about some parts and developments in several earlier books, going as far as Going Postal, although not even Snuff exhibited issues like the ones in this book.

The characters... Well, the characters don't exist, they are literally blurbs repeating who they are because otherwise we wouldn't remember them, not that there is anything to remember about them. And there's a checklist to ensure that as many recurring characters have brief appearances or mentions: Death, check, Ridcully, check, Rincewind, check, etc, but without any depth that similar appearances provided in earlier novels. This lack of depth also has impact on the plot: previously, absurd plot developments or twists were always justified in some way, more or less successfully, but here it's just "it has to be so because it has to be so".

The language is all wrong. It's much simpler than anything else I've read by TP, including "YA" novels, and on more than one occasion I've encountered phrases that I'd never expect TP to use in that particular context. Finally, the style is also inconsistent. Too many simple explanations, too simple internal monologues, lack of any real reflexion or doubt, this entire novel is just an enumeration of painfully obvious events desribed in such a way that once you get the idea (and you will after first 50 pages max) you can read a paragraph and know what you'll read in the following dozen paragraphs.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it Ironic, 22 Jun 2014
I was so disheartened by the initial negative reviews, I actually considered not getting this book .Finally deciding I owed Sir Terry my loyalty, as this is the only writer who made me laugh so hard I cried. I was several books behind in the series (deliberately) and I wish I had not read these to catch up as there is nothing wrong with Raising Steam.
It has a cracking story, with the welcome appearance of many of the regular characters . It may not have the same strike rate of jokes,wit or pathos but there is still plenty to satisfy. There is much to ponder on but I was there for the entertainment .It is not the best Discworld novel, but not the worst by cosine or tangent.
So is it ironic that because of this experience I have no intention of reading reviews, like this one, to guide me on purchasing books of my favourite authors again.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So - farewell, then…?, 24 Dec 2013
By 
Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels) (Hardcover)
Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett, Doubleday, 2013, 375pp.

This is the fortieth Discworld novel, and we seem to have arrived at the Modern World, with the advent of the steam railway and equal rights for all sentient beings (and most humans). What apparently started as a satire on heroic fantasy has evolved into a study of human life and thought – and those of you who are familiar with ‘Cerebus the Aardvark’ will recognise the similar path that really creative writers seem to follow: growth - “The rising and advancing of the spirit”. Though here, unlike Dave Sim (author of the Cerebus series) this author has chosen the humanist path rather than the metaphysical. Can this be the ‘end’ of the main sequence of the Discworld series? As we know, Mr Pratchett has health problems, and this would make a fitting end-point, with peace on Discworld and goodwill to all sentients being the dominant principle. I’d like to see a ‘farewell’ to the Witches, of course; and inspiration might strike again, for where there’s life, etc., etc. But, if this is the end, then it has ended on a high.

The story itself is a ‘standard’ Lipwig plot – someone has an Idea, and it is up to Moist to implement it somehow, or else be thrown to the kittens. There is a wide cast of characters – everyone except the Witches gets a look in or at least a namecheck. There is no magic or supernatural force deployed – if we set aside the actual existence of Golems, Vampires Werewolves and Wizards – this story is about human (and Goblin) ingenuity; and though the supernatural does come to say hello – or farewell - at the end, it plays no significant part in the story. The Discworld has grown up, and Magic has become Romance; as is fitting when steam engines are involved.
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394 of 461 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book will break your heart..., 8 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels) (Hardcover)
... And not really in the good way. On the quite unlikely chance that Terry ever reads this, I don't blame him and I'm not even mad. I am very happy for him to have my £10; he deserves it and more. I wish him only the best, and would have happily given him the £10 if he asked for it, without particularly wanting or needing to finish the book.

I finished the book and felt like I'd just been to a funeral.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is a globally beloved institution, for good reason. He is to fantasy what Douglas Adams is to science fiction. Sadly, the 40th book of the Discworld is pretty much like Eoin Colfer's ghastly resurrection of the Hitchhiker's Guide series, only slightly worse. Colfer just didn't GET Adams and his humor, on a molecular level, so you weren't too bothered by it conflicting with your own nostalgia - you just accepted that you had paid your money for a bit of fanfiction. This is rather like buying the Officially Licensed Eighth Harry Potter Book to find that it's an alternate-universe tale of Harry laboriously taking public transport for two hundred pages while monologuing about the Industrial Revolution, and Frodo Baggins shows up near the end and breaks the fourth wall to explain to you that this is all very funny and satirical. And it's written by Dan Brown. For the young-adult market. You don't mind what's happening; you're just slightly puzzled, wondering why everyone is out of character and when the story is going to start. It's not actually BAD, it's just maybe not what you wanted.

This book echoes Discworld in its pedigree, but the prose has no engine behind it, no driving energy, no romp down a passing train of thought that suddenly sidetracks and opens up into a startling view, no diamonds in the coal seam, no clever twists of sentences that suddenly rear up and look you in the eye, no tunneling journeys into human nature, no clever bridges from one scene to the next, no non-sequiturs that turn out to be actually very meaningful, no sly tearing down of the status quo, no light at the end of the tunnel, no magic, no wonder, no satire, no sapphires. It has very little steam to lose, and it loses it. It makes me extremely sad to write this, but there it is.*

If you're an overly-dedicated and optimistic Pratchett fan like me, and you had this book on Kindle pre-order since it became available, then enjoy it as best you can. There is some charm here; in tone and twists it's, surprisingly, rather like a Trisha Ashley novel about middle-aged women finding love in a Lancashire village; you'll read it. It will also complete your collection nicely, and you will probably want to do that anyway. I understand that you'll want the closure and the completion of the series. Come over here and sit with me later; we'll commiserate. It was a wonderful run and we have so many good memories to love and share.

If you're a Pratchett fan who decided to wait and haven't purchased it yet, then I would recommend holding off for a while and trying for a good discount price - it's not something you need to rush out and buy in hardcover. In fact, get it from the library and read it on holiday, with your mind half-on-something-else, and with something pleasant to look forward to at the end, like a fancy dinner or a swim; this book will make you sad and put you in that frame of mind where you start contemplating mortality and the passing of flesh and heroes. Have some drinks available. Have my blessing. This is a sad book, not because of the content, but because of our own expectations. And, honestly, our own sense of entitlement. Who are we to demand that the poor man dazzle and delight us for decades upon decades?

If you're not so much of a Pratchett fan, you might conversely have much to enjoy about this book. Without the high expectations and starry eyes of a Discworld aficionado, you won't be disappointed. You'll recognize some of the characters, and the prose definitely brings you from one scene to another, which it is supposed to do. There is a train, and the Patrician, and an ending. It is *definitely* a book. There are many books! This is one! It has a cover and everything.

If you haven't read a Pratchett book before, then don't start with this one - it would be rather like visiting a museum after it's scheduled for demolition - nothing makes sense, the exhibits are being dismantled, you have no idea what's going on or why, inexplicable things are being thrown into dumpsters, and you get the feeling that you're not supposed to be there at all.

Oh, hell, buy it for yourself, do what you've got to do - I understand. I'll wait for you.

*I don't apologize for the train metaphors.
** Demographic information: well-educated 25-year-old female Pratchett fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ... Terry Pratchett book ever since someone leant me Light Fantastic when I was 18, 4 July 2014
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I have read every Terry Pratchett book ever since someone leant me Light Fantastic when I was 18. Over that time they have varied in quality a bit but I have always enjoyed them and some have been amazing (Mort, Witches Abroad) . Unfortunately this one is not very good and I actually gave up half way through. It is tedious and not funny. It is a really sad day.
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Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels) by Terry Pratchett (Hardcover - 7 Nov 2013)
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