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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Pratchetts funniest works
Maskerade is a take on the Gaston Leroux story ‘Phantom of the Opera’. In the opera house of Ankh-Morpork dastardly deeds are afoot. Christine, the blonde Prima Donna who cannot sing, is being ‘courted’ and taught by the opera ghost. What he doesn’t realise is the real star is really one Agnes Nitt, (also known as Perdita X). She is the voice...
Published on 10 Dec 2005 by Ms. H. Sinton

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty lame
I am a big fan of Terry Pratchett's writings, but this one made me wonder: Why on earth another "Phantom of the Opera" book? Unlike in the other Discworld novels, the original source of this one is way too obvious. There are a lot better Discworld novels!!
Published on 12 Nov 1998


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Pratchetts funniest works, 10 Dec 2005
By 
Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Maskerade is a take on the Gaston Leroux story ‘Phantom of the Opera’. In the opera house of Ankh-Morpork dastardly deeds are afoot. Christine, the blonde Prima Donna who cannot sing, is being ‘courted’ and taught by the opera ghost. What he doesn’t realise is the real star is really one Agnes Nitt, (also known as Perdita X). She is the voice that Christine mimes to. Agnes's talent includes being able to sing in thirds with herself…she also, unbeknown to herself, has a talent for witchcraft.
Lancres famous witches, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are on the hunt for a third witch for their coven since Magrat Garlick very inconsiderately left them to marry the King. After all, everyone knows there has to be three witches…two just won’t do. So, Granny and Nanny take a trip to Ankh-Morpork for a night at the opera and to press gang Agnes back to Lancre. In true Terry Pratchett style, mayhem and madness follow. Death makes his appearance as does the Death of Rats, and Greebo, Nanny’s evil but hilarious cat will have you rolling on the floor laughing.
This audio book is an abridged version of Maskerade, but has been so skilfully edited that it seems complete. Having read the book I can say I didn’t notice any obvious omissions. Tony Robinson (best known as Baldrick in Blackadder) was a perfect choice to narrate this book; he injects the right amount of humour and his ‘voices’ for each character are spot on. This is a truly funny tale and well worth every penny.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tragi-comedy worthy of good libretto, 4 Dec 2005
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Pratchett has an outstanding capacity to research a topic, then present his findings with peerless clarity and wit. This book presents so many aspects of theatre production, operatic lore and, amazingly, book publication they're nearly overwhelming. His prose and humour leave us breathless with mirth and astonishment. Still, one has to wonder what motivated the writing of Maskarade. It's a departure from previous Discworld efforts.
Magrat Garlick's married and out of the coven. This imbalance must be restored. Her potential replacement is a new Pratchett character, Agnes Nitt. Agnes, however, has a different career in mind. She wants to be a diva in the opera troupe in Ankh-Morpork. A lofty ambition, indeed. And a voice lofty enough to project throughout the hall - right up to the loft, in fact.
As always, the opera business is fraught with problems. Underpaid [and underfed] choir girls, prima donnas who consider their voice grander than its quality justifies, eccentric crew, and the ever present issue of money. Oh yes, and there's a ghost - with a reserved box seat.
If the Ankh-Morpork's opera team wasn't having enough to deal with, they are about to be confronted with the remnants of Lancre's witches' coven, Esme Weatherwax and Gytha Ogg. Nanny Ogg's become the Julia Childs of the Ramtops, but with variations on a particular theme. She's published a book about it, but Granny Weatherwax isn't convinced the payment justified. Esme Weatherwax as an author's agent is a formidable figure. As if this transformation wasn't enough, she also becomes a patron of opera.
Pratchett's gone slightly awry from his usual path with this book. He raises a host of pretty serious questions with the characters and the plot. It's still in the best of PTerry's style - his wit through the persona of Granny and Nanny Ogg has, if anything, improved. But there are some issues uncommon in Discworld books, and the reader is left more than just entertained. There's some post-laughter thinking required of the reader. Opera is, after all, serious business. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phantom of the Maskerade, 28 April 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Terry Pratchett's satirical eye doesn't spare anybody or anything, and in his nineteenth Discworld book "Maskerade," it's opera's turn to suffer. In his typically barbed prose, he gleefully spoofs the "Phantom of the Opera," lampoons opera in general, and takes the opportunity to take everyone's favorite witches out to Ankh-Morpork.

Magrat Garlick is newly married and crowned. As a result, Granny Weatherwax is moody and bored, while Nanny pens an erotic cookbook -- and when it turns out that she's being cheated of royalties, Granny decides to go to Ankh-Morpork and confront her publisher. Meanwhile, the primary witch-maiden candidate, Agnes Nitt, has also gone to Ankh-Morpork to become an opera singer.

But the opera isn't all it's cracked up to be -- Agnes finds herself providing the voice for pretty, airheaded Christine, and the opera ghost is causing some major disasters. Granny and Nanny immerse themselves in the backstage -- and onstage -- drama of the opera, trying to figure out who the Phantom is... and why he's a friend one minute and a foe the next.

It's obvious that the opera holds no awe for Pratchett. Sure, the novel is a spoof of Gaston Leroux's novel, but Pratchett's real intention here is to constantly make fun of the opera, both as entertainment and art form. The entire climax of the book is devoted to making fun of opera's illogic, lack of acting, and such time-honored traditions as a dying person flawlessly singing for about fifteen minutes before expiring.

But it's not all opera spoofery. Despite some grisly deaths and the psycho Phantom (who sends notes filled with maniacal laughter), getting the witches out of Lancre gives the whole story a light, fun feel. It has some darker scenes, such as Granny playing cards with Death for a baby's life, but most of it is dedicated to the witches doing the sort of weird things they'd never do at home (impersonating duchesses, for one).

Pratchett sprinkles the storyline with hilarious dialogue, wacky situations (Nanny Ogg moonlights as the world's fattest ballerina), and some swashbuckling. And he includes a small message as well, about being the sort of person we actually want to be -- and how "masks" on the outside can change us.

Agnes Nitt has a lot of pagetime, but she seems rather fussy and pallid next to Granny and Nanny -- we get to see just how strong their friendship really is, despite their bickering. Granny shines especially, courtesy of a shopping spree, some coach rides and some dodgy darkish magic. And we have a wide array of timid janitors, annoying managers and airheaded sopranos to round out the cast.

"Maskerade" is a gleeful, glorious spoof of opera in general, and a fun outing for the Lancre witches. Definitely a solid entry for Pratchett.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost too much fun., 1 Jun 2004
By 
GemmaA (Lawrenceville, GA) - See all my reviews
This is the first Pratchett book I've read after months of a friend of mine insisting I do so. I resisted valiently, and she promptly solved the problem by sending me a collection of his books. Being a bookworm, I simply couldn't resist. And now I regret not reading his stuff earlier!
This tale of the interfering witches, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, is a parody of the tale (and musical) 'The Phantom of the Opera', and it is simply hilarious!
You'll find yourself cringing in embaressment for poor Agnes Nitt, who is trying to make a name for herself in the Opera House of Ankh-Morpork in a bid to escape the beady eye of Nanny Ogg, who knows far more about young Agnes than she's letting on. Not to mention how you'll roll on the floor in hysterics when you read of Nanny's interesting 'cooking' book which has some rather sensual effects, and marvel at Granny's surprisingly intimate friendship with the always amusing Death.
Seriously, this is a book not to be missed, and well worth buying, since I'm positive you'll want to reread it again and again.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghostly goings on at the opera, 6 Jan 2001
By 
C. A. Preedy "capreedy" (Nottingham) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Some readers of Maskerade would say that the storyline is un-original, that it's been done before; but its never been done quite like Terry Prachett does it. True the story is like Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the opera but then it is a sort of spoof of the original story. Take a look at Prachetts other novels, some of them revolve around an idea that's been done or heard of before. For instance Soul Music is loosely connected to the introduction of rock and roll onto Discworld right down to Buddy of the Holley and Witches abroad casts a new light on fairy tales. So why not the story of an opera ghost? Pratchett injects humour into a story that keeps you laughing all through the read and the twists and turns in the plot keep you glued to every page. Maskerade isn't solely about an opera ghost but about how ordinary people wear masks and put on false appearances. What you see isn't always what you get. The roly-poly Agnes Nitt, also known as Perdita (the thin woman inside trying to get out) with her splendid personality and great hair ventures into Ankh-Morpork in search of fame and fortune at the Opera house where there is said to be a ghost who watches over the opera. Murder and mayhem at the opera but who is the ghost? Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg take a trip to the big city in search of Agnes and on the side visit the publishing house where Nanny has recently submitted a book of recipies with little added surprises. Together with Greebo they visit the opera in hope to persuade Agnes to become the third witch in their coven. Between them they seek out and unmask the mysterious ghost with all the humour and plot twist that are classic Prachett. This novel is an enjoyable read and a delight for true Prachett fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a night at the opera!, 15 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This was the first Pratchett book I read, and I was blown away right from the outset. The characters are very well rounded and easy to identify with, meaning you can really get into the book and be interested in what happens to Granny Weatherwax, Gytha Ogg and Perditax. Pratchett has written a very skillful parody of the Phantom of the Opera, and it leaves you giggling the whole way through. The very final scene is both a fitting end and funny with it, something not many authors achieve. Ive remained a massive fan of Pratchett, but this book is my favourite, Ive read it many times, and will do so again in future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try to put it down, 23 Jan 2004
By 
Andy (Lpool, UK) - See all my reviews
This is not just a good book it is a brilliant book. I have read a total of 16 of his books and this is by far my most favorite with "The Truth" coming a close second. You will be hard pushed to put this book down. It usually takes me weeks to read a book, in between studying and other things, but this took me just 1 week. I just wanted to read and read, it was amazing. If it's brilliant, it's PRATCHETT
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maskerade, the mask of laughter!!, 19 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This has to be one of Terry Pratchetts best books. Pratchett must love his characters because each and every one of them are looked after like his children. There were many times during reading of this book when I had to put it down and wipe away the tears of laughter. Whether you are a newcomer to Pratchett or an old hand you will find something in this book that will make you laugh. Go on join the ball, and don't forget your mask!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discworld does 'Phantom', 15 April 2013
By 
BookWorm "BookWorm" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Fans of the Discworld will love this theatrical based fantasy satire from one of the genre's most popular authors. Maskerade focuses on the witches, led by the indomitable Granny Weatherwax, and introduces another fine Pratchett character, Agnes Nitt. The story lampoons 'Phantom of the Opera', along with all of human nature. This is one of my favourite Discworld stories and I have re-read it many times, mostly because it captures the excitement and real-world 'magic' of the stage. It's also genuinely funny and has a decent who-dunnit element. Those new to Discworld might prefer to start with one of the earlier 'witches' books (Wyrd Sisters or Witches Abroad), but that isn't essential and this is definitely the best of the subset. Knowledge of the story of 'Phantom' and of musicals/opera generally might enhance some of the jokes, but again it's not essential. I would always recommend Pratchett to a wide range of readers, even those who don't usually have much interest in fantasy, because of their satirical nature. It will be enjoyed by teenagers as well as adults, especially if they have an interest in performing. Many young girls will identify with aspects of Agnes' experience, and she is an immediately likable character. But most importantly it's a novel that is great fun to read that I think most people would enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The witches are the best and this is the best of the witches, 20 Sep 2011
I've always enjoyed the witches books far more than any other Pratchett storyline. Pratchett is a true master at character creation and unusually for a male writer he writes fantastic female characters with amazing insight and imagination. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are the two magnetic poles. Granny Weatherwax, sharp as grapefruit and completely judgemental is ultimately the good witch whereas Nanny Ogg - caring, motherly and mistress of rude pun believes it ain't stealing if a witch does it and it's okay to tell lies so long as you don't think 'em. Since the marriage of Magrat Garlick the two are missing the necessary third witch to complete their trio - after all 'when shall we two meet again' just doesn't have that much of a ring to it. Enter Agnes Nitt (ideally she would like to be known as Perdita X Dream but will settle for Perdita X) - you may remember a brief appearance by her in Lords and Ladies but this is where she first enters the Discworld as a main character. Fat, funny, strong willed and an amazing singer (she can sing in any voice and even harmonise with herself!) I do have affection for Magrat (impossible not to really) but I actually think Agnes makes a better third witch than Magrat did.

The story is basically a whodunnit at the opera. In this phantom of the opera satire Pratchett makes the most of the dramatic opportunity of a theatrical setting (somewhat a theme in the witches books actually). Suspense is perfectly combined with humour in a book that I had finished in a matter of hours (oh okay, maybe if this is your entertainment budget for the week it isn't going to last that well but that's the only downside!) The particular highlight of this book is definitely Nanny Ogg who I think is slightly less focussed on in the previous witches books really comes into her own in this book. She is constantly hillarious and as Pratchett points out it only takes 45 minutes to feel that you've known her your whole life.
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Maskerade: Discworld: The Witches Collection
Maskerade: Discworld: The Witches Collection by Terry Pratchett (Hardcover - 3 July 2014)
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