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145 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, but still Discworld
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...
Published 13 months ago by Steve Gardiner

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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...
... 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...
Published 13 months ago by E.U. Glass


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Every character sounds the same, 3 Aug 2014
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At one point I had to check back a page to see if the character currently speaking was Vimes or Vetinari. At another point one character described Vetinari as someone who would "huff and puff". The names and locations are familiar but the characters aren't. Not up to Pratchett's previous standards.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Found myself feeling bored around half way through, 26 Nov 2013
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Just a wee bit flat somehow. Not sure what it is. Not so much humour I think. Or humour is not consistent through the story. Something lacking. Found myself feeling bored around half way through.

Was good otherwise. Well written as always. Informative and clever. Good characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Run out of steam, 24 Jun 2014
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As a Pratchet devotee I was disappointed. It reads like a Jeffrey Archer with some token gags thrown in. If you compare the quality of the work with the best of Discworld, Reaper Man, small gods etc it seems like a contractual obligation filled.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Moist Covering His Tracks, 8 Dec 2014
Terry Pratchett was born in 1948, and is best known for his series of Discworld novels. He was the UK's best-selling author of the 1990s, has won the Carnegie Award and has been awarded an OBE and a Knighthood for his services to Literature. “Raising Steam” is the fortieth in the Discworld series, and the third to give a starring role to Moist von Lipwig.

“Raising Steam” sees the railway finally come to the Discworld, thanks to Dick Simnel – a young engineer from Sto-Lat. He quickly brings his invention, the Iron Girder, to Ankh-Morpork, where it catches the eye of the successful businessman, Harry King. Spotting a great opportunity, Harry promises to invest heavily. Harry isn’t the only one who’s keeping an eye on things, however – the Iron Girder inevitably attracts the attention of Ankh-Morpork’s Patrician. Keen that the city should exercise some small level of influence over this new enterprise, Vetinari gives a Moist von Lipwig – already the Head of the Bank and the Post Office – a new job.

Unfortunately, Moist’s new job is going to be anything other than easy. The building of the railway involves lengthy negotiations with a variety of landowners, something that keeps him away from home for weeks at a time. There’s also the trouble with dwarfish fundamentalists – who, up until now, have been focusing their attacks on the Clacks system. This new-fangled railway provides them with a new target...

An enjoyable read overall, one that got better as it went along. (I found it a little slow to get going though...I was worried, early in the book, that things were finally catching up with pTerry). It still wouldn’t be one of my favourite Discworld books, though. I’ve never really been able to warm to Moist, and “Raising Steam” hasn’t really changed my opinion of him. Occasionally, some of the other characters seemed to be behaving a little oddly. (Vetinari, at times, seemed a little...unVetinari-like. There was also a rather pointless conversation between Ridcully and Lu-Tze, where neither character seemed that familiar to me). The idea of the railway coming to the Discworld also makes me a little uncomfortable. However, the goblins have been a great addition to the series and they get a decent supporting role here.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, not surprising, nice for fans but not outstanding in its own right, 6 Dec 2014
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BookWorm "BookWorm" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Asked to imagine a typical fantasy novel, most readers will see a Middle-Earth like world, with medieval technologies. And that was much how the Discworld of Terry Pratchett's famous series started out. But Discworld stories are not 'typical' fantasie, and in recent books, Pratchett has begun to move things forward, introducing progress and technology at a surprising rate.

The Discworld we read about in 'Raising Steam' (book 40) is a very different one from that introduced back in 'The Colour of Magic'. And the opportunities for storytelling that come out of these innovations and changing societies are providing plenty of fuel to keep Discworld interesting. Pratchett has always used this technique in his novels - an introduction of a new concept, location or change of circumstances to base the story around - but in the earlier books something usually happened to reset back to the status quo (such as in 'Moving Pictures'). But that is no longer the case, and the Discworld develops much as a real world might from one book to another.

In this latest instalment, someone invents railways, and soon several old Prachett favourites are embroiled in introducing this new technology to the world, whilst also trying to combat a dwarfish version of religious extremists. Fans of this very long running series, such as me, look forward to the next instalments as a chance to catch up with our old favourite characters. Pratchett understands this, and gives a broad range of cameos to members of his host of characters. Moist von Lipwig takes centre stage in this story, but it's very much an ensemble piece, with major roles for Vetinari, Vimes, Harry King, Drumknott and the Low King of the Dwarfs, plus cameos from many others including Angua, Littlebottom, Detritus, Nobby, Colon, Ridcully, Sacharissa Cripslock, and Otto Chriek. Death makes his obligatory appearance, although it's a very brief one, Pratchett definitely writes far less dialogue for this fan favourite now, which is a shame in my opinion.

Pratchett should get credit for not leaving his world static, and embracing technology and science rather than relying purely on magic. But sometimes he goes a bit too far and I'm left feeling like Discworld is barely a magical world at all. Yes, there are dwarfs and trolls and wizards, but as the book laboriously points out many times, they're all people, and all much the same. The steam train and railway technology was disappointingly similar to real world technology. Whereas Pratchett's inventions in earlier books always had a magical twist - such as cameras containing imps who paint the picture - there are none of those fun little touches here. There isn't the same sense of tension and danger as there are in some of the novels. I never had any doubt that the 'good' guys would prevail.

Reading this was a bit like wearing comfy old slippers - it was nice, it was comforting. It delivered what I expected. It wasn't especially demanding or surprising. Perhaps that is inevitable when it's the 40th book of a series. But Pratchett is capable of writing books with a real edge to them, sometimes quite profound and philosophical. I think he still has more books like that left in him. The writing quality here is good, but the story isn't particularly memorable in itself. It's real attraction lies in the chance to catch up with characters many of us have literally grown up with. That's not a bad thing necessarily, but I hope we'll get a couple more really funny or really poignant Discworld tales from this series before Pratchett decides he's taken things as far as he can with his fantasy 'mirror of worlds'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Enjoyable, 26 Oct 2014
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Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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It's very hard, knowing what we know about Terry Pratchett's illness, to approach any novel he has written since the illness without that knowledge colouring how we feel about it. If we don't like the book, if we feel the book isn't quite up to his usual standards, if we feel there are areas of sloppiness, is this his illness creeping in, could it be time for him to put down his pen? etc. Reviews on here abound with this kind of thing. Many people don't seem thrilled with this latest offering and their reasoning is often connected to his condition.

It certainly isn't my favourite of the Discworld novels, but then again, when someone has written forty Discworld books, plus numerous others, are you ever going to love them all equally? Even if you are a die hard fan, and I've been reading them as long as he's been writing them. There were times when I stepped away from Pratchett, sometimes for a couple of years, when I've read a book I didn't enjoy (Moving Pictures, The Lost Continent), but I've always come back. Not every book can be perfect, but there is always something about Pratchett that's worth reading, regardless.

I like Moist as a character, and I like the way Pratchett uses Moist to explore major innovations like the postal system, the banks, and here, the steam train. I enjoyed very much his musings on how we fear newness, but how quickly the new becomes every day. I love his thoughts on equality, and the goblins are proving an interesting new addition to the creatures of the Discworld. I thought parts of this book were a bit laboured. I thought other parts were a bit rushed, but on the whole I enjoyed it enormously and I hope it won't be his last offering.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different to Usual, 15 Aug 2014
This review is from: Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels) (Hardcover)
This book is quite different to previous Discworld books, especially the early ones. This is a book with subtle amusing moments for the reader to reflect upon as opposed to very obvious, laugh out loud humour. It is almost as if Discworld has matured.
Lots of the favourite characters are back in this book - Vetinari, Moist Von Lipwig, Blackboard Monitor Vimes, other members of The Watch. There is plenty of action from Goblins and Dwarfs and even the Golems play an active role.
This book tells of the coming of steam to Ankh Morpork. There is a subtle reference back to Reaper Man which I nearly missed and has made me want to pick up that particular book again and refresh my memory. As has been the case over the centuries, there are people who welcome the new innovation and those who believe that we should remain set in the ways of previous generations. This is the underlying theme of the book with the story on top of this.
There is lots of action in this book including a thrilling fight on top of a moving train - complete with the oncoming tunnel! There is intrigue, spying and a coup to keep the plot moving on.
This book wasn't such a quick read as most of his previous Discworld books. I didn't get carried along on a wave of fantasy, action and humour. This book needs to be read more slowly with thought given to the plot and humour. I was slightly disappointed when I started this book as it wasn't in quite the same vein as previous books but I soon adapted to the change in style and enjoyed this book for what it was rather than what I expected it to be.
So, start this book with an open mind as opposed to having a preconceived idea as to what a Discworld book should be. Then just settle back and enjoy.
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154 of 185 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The weight of expectation, 9 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels) (Hardcover)
I felt compelled to write this review after some of the negative reviews I read on here nearly stopped me from purchasing this novel (which would have been the first Discworld novel I didn't buy on publication since Men at Arms was published and I had just discovered the Discworld at the age of ten via my uncle, another long term fan).

I will say now that I am so far 25% of the way through the book, which doesn't leave me fully qualified to review but perhaps more so than someone who claims to have read 4%, hardly enough for any novel to get going. I have to say, I'm not sure exactly what some of the reviewers are wanting from this book, but I fear that Pratchett must feel akin to the England football team en route to another world cup, with the weight of expectation heaped so high that he can't possibly hope to meet it. Pratchett has written 40 novels in the Discworld series - in any series with that amount of novels, there are going to be some absolute belters and some that are mildly entertaining but not the best book you have ever read. I am going to say now, I struggled to finish Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad and Lords and Ladies and haven't returned to them, whereas I have reread Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, the Fifth Elephant and Thud more times than I could count. The books I didn't like were written by Pratchett a long time ago during a time which is considered by many as the height of the Discworld series (I don't believe there is a height - I think as a series it has fluctuated in quality throughout). This is the point of the Discworld - certain books will appeal to certain people more than others - some people's favourite novels in the series would probably only receive 3 stars from me and vice versa. This is why you have to take the Discworld as a whole, knowing that for every so-so book that appears, another great one will be just around the corner. While I acknowledge that Terry's disease and the impact on his work may prevent another masterpiece, he is still more than capable of entertaining books that add a little more to the Discworld universe.

I will agree that so far, this book has a different narrative style to some of Pratchett's earlier works, though it is not out of line with the last few novels, with less snappy dialogue and more dark introspection. Indeed, the whole tone of the Discworld in recent years has been far darker altogether - perhaps a sign of our times or Pratchett's opinion of them. We all change as we age, becoming perhaps more cynical and less tolerant of humanity and its foibles, and this is bound to be reflected in Pratchett's work.

To say that his work is sloppy and shouldn't be published though is far from correct. The characters that have been introduced so far are all behaving as I would expect them to, the story is jogging along apace and I have been reading as much as my toddler will allow me to, which says a lot as most of my own reading activity has taken a backseat these days to countless renditions of That's not my Tiger. Pratchett is still capable of prose that is far superior to anything most authors manage these days, and I have always felt that a mediocre Pratchett book is still a good book by most standards. If anything, I think that it is more challenging than I have come to expect, with a lot of the references a little more obscure than usual. As a history teacher who has ploughed their way through the GCSE Britain 1815-51 syllabus, I recognise the parallels to railway fever - Pratchett clearly has an interest in the railways matched by the early railway barons and their passengers and he has researched his topic. Some of the complaints of the Ankh-Morpork citizenry are genuine!

Although the railways aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea, I think that the criticisms of some of the other reviewers are overstated and if you are wondering whether to buy this novel as a fan of the Discworld, don't be put off by fears of nostalgic emotional breakdowns in the first few pages.
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3.0 out of 5 stars One Comeback Too Many, 8 Nov 2014
Everything is finite. Everyone loses it eventually. Sadly, Terry Pratchett has been losing it for a while. He's become like a boxer whose glory days are in the past, but who can't resist the pull of the ring one more time to give a display that is a shadow of what they once were.

This is not a bad book. It is moderately entertaining, and will pass the time pleasantly in a read-and-forget way. If anyone else had written it I might even be praising the promise of the author. But this is from the man who gave us Wyrd Sisters and Men at Arms and Jingo and Carpe Jugulum and... This is nowhere near on the level of those previous books; which is really sad. I don't agree with the conspiracy theorists who say that this was the work of a ghost-writer with Mr Pratchett's name on the cover. No; the series has been in decline for a while. The first Discworld book that didn't do it for me was Unseen Academicals. Snuff didn't come up to the mark, either (shame on you if you thought I was going to make a pun there) - and the non-discworld Long Earth made me wonder whether the term "Co-written" was being stretched too far.

I truly regret to say that Mr Pratchett should now retire. I wish him well, and hope that medical science advances fast enough to do him some good, and I thank him for the wonderful entertainment he's given me for thirty years or so. But all good things must come to an end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Back on Track, Sir Terry raises the lid on the railways, 29 Dec 2013
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels) (Hardcover)
The introduction of the Steam Age to the Discworld has been long overdue, and was held back by vested interests there quenching the sparks of invention. At long last the pressure became too great and the railway was begun, but only as it could have been in this strangely different and yet familiar universe offering its warped reflection of the goings-on in our own.

The writing has become more thoughtful, the satire sharper, and the jokes are still there but somewhat deeper and the more rapid readers might well miss them. But then even in the earliest books it often took a page or several for the humour to fully ripen into the full flower of our laughter. Some readers might think the plot lacks substance, maybe it does, but no less than many of his other enjoyable books, and I think this one offers us a more mature way of considering the impact of technology and its powerful effect on our lives, and how it might be used for good – maybe a message for those of us (like me) living under the dark threats of the years of disruption and loss of quality of life that will fall out from HS2.

This book was a most welcome Christmas present for me, and after a five hour sitting reading it yesterday, I am back at the beginning so as to be able to savour it better at a less breakneck pace. Some of his recent novels have disappointed me - a long time fan from the very beginning - but this one is a good 'un.
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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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