Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn more Shop now Shop now

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

This is the 40th Discworld novel, published in 2013. This book features as the main protagonist Moist von Lipwig who finds himself compelled by the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, the rather frightening Lord Vetinari to oversee the newly developed steam engine which has appeared in the city. Vetinari wants to ensure that he has control over the introduction and use of the new-fangled technology (and of course makes some profit from it). Politics and dwarven unrest become entangled in the best of von Lipwig's intentions, and the action rattles along from there.

This is a really good Discworld novel, I thought. It is a fairly long book, at a little under 400 pages, and I did think the middle third or so of the book was a bit loose in purpose and narrative. While the first and last thirds of the book are filled with new information and interesting narrative, the middle third did get a bit repetitive in its unfolding. That apart, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, literally and narratively in this book. I liked the map included in the book which allowed the reader to follow the railway's evolution and which offered a real sense of momentum to the final third of the story. There were heaps of characters involved in the story, many of whom we have met before, but many of whom were also new, some fleeting in their part in the story, but all wonderfully and fully characterised for the reader, humorous and witty and `real'. Vetinari is one of my all-time favourite Discworld characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed his role in this story.

There are some Discworld novels that I absolutely love, and some I haven't bothered to re-read. I'm sure that every Discworld fan has some that are their favourites, for whatever reason. For me, any book with the Patrician, or with Rincewind and the wizards, or the City Watch, or set in Ankh-Morpork are the tops. To my mind, this book is one that I would read again - maybe not at the top of the pile, but definitely not at the bottom either. A good read for any fan of the Discworld novels.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 November 2013
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!
11 comment|182 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 August 2014
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.
11 comment|26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 June 2014
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.
0Comment|25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 May 2015
Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett – This is a difficult book to review fairly. I want to be kind, given the traumas the author was enduring when he wrote it. On the other hand, I don’t want to pander. I’ll start then by pointing out that Pratchett is, in my view, one of the greatest populist storytellers of the last six decades. I’ve been an avid reader of his Discworld series since I was a teen, and his death affected me as though I knew him. No other author has woven themselves so intrinsically and joyfully through my life to date. With that acknowledged, Raising Steam is not a book I would give to somebody to demonstrate why. It’s themes have been more deftly explored in previous volumes, the writing is clunky where it would usually glide, and the pace is glacial. There’s little sense of threat throughout the book, and almost no reason to care what happens to the protagonists. It presents a two-dimensional Discworld, that only loosely relates to the place in which I’ve spent so much time. That there are good real-world reasons for why does not alter the fact that, in my opinion, nothing in the vast canon of Discworld stuff is as weak as this. I can’t recommend Raising Steam to anybody other than the most loyal completists. There are dozens of Pratchett novels to exhaust before you come to this one. Read those instead.
0Comment|23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 April 2016
Raising Steam is another Diskworld book by Pratchett and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely.

The main plot is twofold, firstly concerning steam trains being created (with a nice nod to Reaper Man) and spreading across the Sto Plains and secondly the continuation of the story of the Dwarves from The Fifth Elephant and Thud. There is also some continuation of the Goblin thread from Snuff. As Moist von Lipwig is the main hero (of a sort) there are also references to Going Postal and Making Money (which is also where the title comes from - this is a Moist book).

The main plots only converge towards the end of the story but this doesn't really matter. The train story is fun and fast moving, some nice little nods to the steam pioneers on Roundworld thrown in, plenty of one liners and puns. There are also more than enough references to previous books and Rincewind makes an appearance (although Death only has a cameo and there's no Librarian which is a little disappointing). The Dwarf plot concerns the machinations of the Deep Downers in trying to preserve Dwarven ways and not to modernise.

Both have impetus and are just enough entwined that one plot didn't get left behind. The writing was crisp and well paced - Pratchett seems to have finally adapted to speaking the books rather than physically writing them.

Overall I enjoyed this immensely, certainly the one I've enjoyed the most since Going Postal. Certainly there are some flaws - Drumknott is subverted from being a dry dusty administrator and the railway is simply built too quickly - but these can easily be overcome by the reader.

Recommended for any Diskworld fan. Possibly not a good introduction as there are too many knowing nods and references to previous works.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 8 December 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.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 30 December 2013
This is the 40th Discworld novel, published in 2013. This book features as the main protagonist Moist von Lipwig who finds himself compelled by the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, the rather frightening Lord Vetinari to oversee the newly developed steam engine which has appeared in the city. Vetinari wants to ensure that he has control over the introduction and use of the new-fangled technology (and of course makes some profit from it). Politics and dwarven unrest become entangled in the best of von Lipwig's intentions, and the action rattles along from there.

This is a really good Discworld novel, I thought. It is a fairly long book, at a little under 400 pages, and I did think the middle third or so of the book was a bit loose in purpose and narrative. While the first and last thirds of the book are filled with new information and interesting narrative, the middle third did get a bit repetitive in its unfolding. That apart, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, literally and narratively in this book. I liked the map included in the book which allowed the reader to follow the railway's evolution and which offered a real sense of momentum to the final third of the story. There were heaps of characters involved in the story, many of whom we have met before, but many of whom were also new, some fleeting in their part in the story, but all wonderfully and fully characterised for the reader, humorous and witty and `real'. Vetinari is one of my all-time favourite Discworld characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed his role in this story.

There are some Discworld novels that I absolutely love, and some I haven't bothered to re-read. I'm sure that every Discworld fan has some that are their favourites, for whatever reason. For me, any book with the Patrician, or with Rincewind and the wizards, or the City Watch, or set in Ankh-Morpork are the tops. To my mind, this book is one that I would read again - maybe not at the top of the pile, but definitely not at the bottom either. A good read for any fan of the Discworld novels.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 December 2014
Raising Steam is the 40th Discworld book in Terry Pratchett’s hugely successful fantasy/satire series. I’ve read all of them bar two. All of the books are consistently inventive, warmly humorous and satirical, and full of interesting characters and plots. Raising Steam focuses attention on two main themes and their juxtaposition -- the creation of new technologies and how they can transform societies and produce new issues, and the rise of extremist religious groups that hold highly traditional and conservative views and want to mold society in their vision. It’s an interesting tension, but in this case the story nonetheless feels like two quite different narratives being jammed together without ever fully blending. Moreover, while the book is in the fantasy genre, there were inconsistencies or convenient plot devices that felt clunky, some characters felt surplus to requirements, and there are sub-plots that go nowhere. For example, despite growing up relatively poor, Simnel’s mother just happens to have a fortune in the attic to fund the initial development of an engine. And when Simnel travels to Ankh-Morpork to demonstrate the engine he has to set up a track to do so; somehow the big, heavy engine made the journey without rails, but now needs them to run. We’re told of a wedding massacre and a young dwarf visiting his family being attacked, but these then sink without trace. The result, for me, was one of the weakest books in the series. Full of nicely penned characters (and there are an awful lot them, many from previous books snuck in for small cameo appearances), and packed with snippets of railway lore, but the plot not quite running on track.
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 November 2013
... 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.
6565 comments|420 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse