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on 12 April 2017
When I first read the book I tended to agree with the poor reviews saying it was a shadow of former brilliance etc. Having re-read it recently I have completely changed my mind. Ok it's not quite as good as Going Postal and Making Money but the were brilliant. Thud and 5th Elephant are not as good as Night Watch and Guards Guards (imo) but they are still very, very good. On the second read having forgot what people said about it I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The character development of Harry King and even more so the Goblins were excellent. I will admit Moist and Vetinari were occasionally a little out of character, a little less rounded than usual. However this can be over looked because the plot and humour is still there it's bursting with fun and adventure. If like me you are a TP fan and have not read this because of other reviews give it a go. Forget what's been said and try not to compare. Read it and enjoy it for what it is. Sadly there will never be another.
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on 3 January 2017
As a long time fan of Discworld, I have always found the characterisations wonderful, particularly given Terry Pratchett's wonderful ability in writing dialogue. The way characters develop over a series of novels - the witches and the night watch in particular - is what makes Discworld engrossing. I bought this to finish the Moist von Lipwig series, which started so well with Going Postal and Making Money.

Wow, was I ever disappointed! Dialogue is stilted and out of character, the narrative is confused, and the main Discworld players go absurdly off point with little (and not so little) asides. There's a glimmer of a good Discworld novel in there somewhere, but only a really die hard fan could enjoy this. It is very much NOT representative of Pratchett's writing style.

Random characters from other series appear to give their two pennies' worth. Lu Tze pops up briefly to have a word with Mustrum Ridcully, on the lines of 'Isn't it a bit early in history for railways', 'No, if railways have happened, then it's time for railways'. Then nothing is heard from them again.
The 'gang' encounter a tribe of gnomes (remember Buggy Squires and the Nac Mac Feegle?), who emerge fearfully from their holes after one of the many 'battle scenes', and randomly offer the information that they make shoes. 'Did you say you make shoes?' asks Moist. 'My railway workers need big boots.' The gnomes agree to make hobnail boots in return for being left alone. Not very gnome-like. And that's it. Totally random.
Vetinari, usually so inscrutable, lays bare his worries, motivations and internal struggles to anyone who will listen. Some tyrant...

Make no mistake, this is very badly planned, written, and edited. All writers rely heavily on their editor, who is a very important part of producing the final product. But in this case there are 3 possibilities.
1) Terry Pratchett wrote this but it was uncharacteristically rubbish, and his editor didn't point it out for some reason.
2) It is the work of a ghost writer, possibly from Pratchett's skeleton notes, and Pratchett's editor thought it was the best a third party could do.
3) Pratchett's editor tried to put something together from Pratchett's notes, was reluctant to leave anything out, and therefore it wasn't properly edited.

Look, it's not terrible. In terms of story, it's the next logical move for Moist von Lipwig. It's an interesting move towards the future for Discworld, the history of which has basically been story of human endeavour from the dark ages up to industrialisation, crammed into about 30 Discworld years or so. If Sir Terry hadn't been so ill it would probably have been very different, and we would all be looking forward to the next 3 books. As it stands, it's not worthy of the man, being badly written and badly edited.

Fans, used to Terry Pratchett's usually crisp style, will struggle but like it in the end. And I'm sure it will spawn a whole load of fan fiction, which will probably be fun.

Basically, as a fan, I'm only a bit miffed at paying the Kindle price. I would consider the paperback price a waste of money.

As a standalone book, I would give this 1 or 2 stars. I gave 3 because it at least is Discworld. Just not as you know it...
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on 7 December 2016
I read Steve Gardiners review & thought "wow" for me he's nailed it.. so pretty much this review is as I laid out in reply to steves review & nigh on what I was going to write anyway! ..he says it far more succinctly, & where we dream, conjour envisage characters depictions whilst reading isn't necessarily what or how you perceive... (I for instance watched but disliked the sky movies discworld, ..it was too "normal" ...just my opinion having a world of pratchett stretching years in my head).

I've been looking at it along Steve Gardiner's review lines for a long while knowing that Terry was deteriorating but still able to write a "good un" (book) ..but that Ankh-morpork, Terry, & myself were evolving also, ...once you are familial with a character you wish to follow them through ,because you have an affinity with them, I'd prefer therefore to read a lesser pratchett story than never know what i'd missed, because, whilst the opening pages of the book are hard work compared to earlier set ups, as ever I can't say I didn't enjoy it when i've finished, ..i'm also "converting from physical books to kindle copies (no robotic narration for those times when you just cant read for yourself) ..boo! ..so I also realising i'm unused to the set up & "feel"of this format, ..which is unsettling to my concentration by result.

To think that not all of terry's works are as stellar as his earlier output is not a slur on the author, it is our point of engagement & progression with Ankh morpork & all within, ..i'm 30 years older now than when I first encountered terry at a games workshop convention in London & got into his books... hit or miss I'm grateful for every book he wrote in some way or other, ..witches books ..hmm my "personal" low point, but i've always enjoyed a moist von lipwig book, ..he was strange to start with, but another circle within the chronology. ;)

But I would not recommend a newcomer to Discworld or a younger reader starts with it, ...discworld & the books, + your love of it all come via story progression & evolution.

As with any Discworld book you'll likely finish it & have another perspective of the place, ...I can't get fred dibnah out of my head when reading this, & no I haven't finished it, I am slogging through the 1st hundred pages & other reviews have inspired me to stick with it, ..my last kindle pratchett book (my first ever non paper discworld tome) was also tough going, & that was about sam vimes ..a character I know & love, & now share with my daughter (12) who grew up with "where's my cow" & her foray along the "Guards Guards" point so she'd have a character she already understood to see her through any story bumps along the way!
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on 19 July 2015
It took a little while to get into it but was very enjoyable and worthwhile nonetheless. Longtime fans will have noted the change of pace, which set in during Unseen Academicals and became deeply obvious in Snuff. This novel isn't as fast paced as the early books but not quite as gloomy as Snuff. Lots of my favourite characters, with (at least) brief mentions of nearly all the main factions. It's a bit like a mix of Thud and Going Postal - Moist has a starring role and Vimes has a good chunk of the action too. One long anticipated revelation is confirmed. Others are left to the imagination, as always, and will forever remain therein. RIP, Sir Terry. x
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on 10 April 2017
As with all Pratchett novels well developed and interesting characters (some drawn loosely from 'real' history) combines with a convoluted plot and his wry wit to keep the reader entertained from start to finish. It is a book that you will be reluctant to put down and sad to finish - not least as it is one of his last. The many fans of Sir Terry will miss him terribly.
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on 28 June 2017
Purchased as a present for a friend. Already have all of the disk world books in hardback. So sad that there will be no more Disk World books. Terry's genius creates strong, fun characters in a world where anything can happen, for example a condemned fraudster can end up running the post office, central bank, mint and even the railways.
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on 11 April 2017
Another great story of derring-do written in Pratchet's inimitable style – stuffed with ideas and insights while entertaining and amusing . This ticks so many boxes.
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on 15 July 2015
Ok, so not my favourite of his, but Sir Terry lives on through his work, and my goodness what a wonderful thing it is to escape to his world for a bit. I only wish I could "unread" all of his Discworld novels just to have the pleasure of reading them for the first time again... Something extremely special has left this world, but there are tiny sparks left behind, and whenever we visit Discworld even the most sceptical could believe in a life beyond death...
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on 18 July 2017
Great book classic pratchett but with a very warm story beneath about a guy who loves and builds trains - proper scream trains. As usual there is sculdugery about with all sorts of beings. Excellent in every sense.
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on 24 July 2017
I havnt read it yet hence the 4 star rating but when I do I bet it will be the usual mix of excellent writing and humorous twist I have come to know from the discworld series and no doubt will give it a 5 then
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