Unseen Academicals: (Discworld Novel 37) (Discworld Novels) Hardcover – 1 Nov 2018
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"Satirical, historical, fantastical and irresistible." (Daily Mail)
About the Author
Terry Pratchett was the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he was the author of over fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. He died in March 2015.
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Anyway, the usual well crafted storyline, and some examples of what I consider a Pratchett trademark, the throwaway one-liner joke which you realise afterwards has taken the last three pages to set up. If you think it might not be for you if you don't like football, don't worry - the theme of the book is football, but what it's really about is another slice of life in the bustling world that is Ankh-Morpork and Unseen University.
Unseen Academicals (the name of the University football team) basically revolves around the night time staff of the university - the mysterious Mr Nutt, Trev Likely (Nutt's colleague and son of football legend Dave Likely), Glenda (the level headed, cook extraordinaire) and Juliet (Glenda's airhead assistant blessed with glamourous good looks) - as they each come of age. It involves Dwarf fashion, street gangs and hooliganism, inter-university and club rivalry, and tyrannical and inter-racial politics. While Pratchett's books are light and comic, they are multi-layered, inter-textual (think Romeo and Juliet via Posh and Becks), and always explore and make deeper philosophical points and Unseen Academicals is no different. As with all of Pratchett's books the characterisation is excellent and the story skilfully plotted.
I thoroughly enjoyed the read. The first half of the book was excellent, although the second half tailed off a little. Whilst not quite up there with his very best books, it's certainly high quality fare.
It runs for 400 pages exactly, and characters from previous discworld novels [including one we havent seen in a while] and new characters mix in a story that involve football coming to the city.
That's football as we would know it. The story starts with football as it used to be played - very large teams kicking balls through streets in games that lasted for days - being popular in the city. The patrician wants it under control. A clause in a will means the wizards from the unseen university will have to play a football match to avoid financial trouble. And discovery of an ancient artefact shows them what the rules should be.
Throw in working class trev, son of a former football star, glamorous but dim juliet and her friend smart but dumpy glenda, and mr nutt, a goblin who has to keep his head down. all these characters collide and lives are changed in the run up to the big match.
A sueperbly readable and a masterfully written book, down to very strong characterisation. all characters do very believable things, and although the changes they go through and the life lessons they learn may sometimes feel familiar, the quality of the prose is so good it keeps you turning the pages. As ever this is not laugh a minute comic writing, it's a novel of character with laughs arising out of that. Although there are moments where it does get very funny, particularly during the climactic football match.
Being 400 pages means the football does take a backseat in the middle when the plot focuses on mr nutt and a few dilemmas he faces, but everything comes together so well in the last hundred pages it's all worth it.
If you've never read a discworld novel before then you shouldnt have much trouble getting into this anyway. Although you may wonder about the back stories of some of the characters, and why the librarian is an orang utang. But even so, you should enjoy it enough to seek out his earlier work.
A superb read from a master novelist.
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This is a very enjoyable "all star" dramatic interpretation of Terry Pratchett's book which, to be honest, is...Read more