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The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (Discworld Novels) Paperback – 29 Apr 2004
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"An astonishing novel . . . I marvelled at the ferociousness of the humour, and the willingness to go into dark places . . . Were Terry not demonstrably a master craftsman already, The Amazing Maurice might be considered his masterpiece" (Financial Times)
"One of Terry Pratchett's funniest creations of recent years . . . It all adds up to a wonderful book - hilarious, brilliantly constructed and, especially towards its conclusion, shot through with an edginess to balance the laughs" (SFX)
"Ethically challenging, beautifully orchestrated" (Guardian)
"An enticing and occasionally gory introduction to the master of flat earth . . . proves that the Pied Piper of Hamelin was a front for an insider-dealing scam . . . alongside the gags and pest-control politics, there are enough complex ideas about nature, nurture and understanding to satisfy a wide audience" (Observer)
"The humour is sophisticated and demands that the reader keep up to speed. A passion for language, wordplay and puns bursts from the pages" (Daily Telegraph)
A fantastic new B-format edition of the master storyteller's Carnegie Medal-winning junior Discworld novelSee all Product description
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The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents is a bit like that. It's the Discworld's first `YA' novel and it's basically a riff on the idea of the Pied Piper, from the point of view of the rats (er and a cat called Maurice). For all that it contains talking animals and a little magic it could easily take place in a generic fantasy world rather than the Disc per se.
Maurice as I said is a cat and a talking one at that. He travels with a band of also talking rats and a `stupid-looking' boy called Keith. Together they perpetrate a scam whereby they turn up at a town, create a very visible nuisance of themselves until Keith offers to play his pipe and lead the rats away, for a reasonable fee. This usually goes very well until they arrive in a town that already seems to have a very serious rat problem and some pretty effective rat-catchers. Soon Keith, Maurice, the rats and a girl they meet along the way are uncovering what's really going on and it's not pretty.
When I first started this book I was very aware that the language was aimed at a YA audience. However that faded fairly quickly as I became engrossed in the story. I will say that this is quite dark for a book for younger readers. It does have some disturbing scenes. However the humour is there as are the likeable characters.
I've been known to complain that Pratchett has apparent difficulty ending a book but there's really only two endings here, which is not that many compared to some, still I would have preferred a single show-down/climax and then a coda. That said I enjoyed the book overall. There's some interesting thoughts here about leading/following, the need for and dangers of stories.
Even though it is considered by some "young adult" fiction, a "young adult" wouldn't understand all the subtleties coming from Sir Terry, so I would recommend it for Discworld fans and not for young newcomers to that world. It's not the best novel to be used as a starting point for the Discworld universe, I think it's better to honor the recommended reading order.
Lots of fun... and rats!
Its classic Pratchett's Discworld with the story line slightly (but only slightly) more straightend out and with fewer (but more subtle) double entendres.
However T P is still a fantastic writer and all his stories are very good -it's just not the usual excellence!
Overall this would make a perfect starter book for a young reader or a good follow on to the Tiffany aching books, my favourite part is the 'death' of mice!
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