Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Short Review: Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Unseen Academicals is the latest in Terry Pratchetts extensive (37 in total) Discworld series. I have just finished reading it and thought I'd post a few of my thoughts here. I've read a few of the other books in the series and have found them all thoroughly enjoyable. Indeed, reading a few of the preceding books greatly enhances the appreciation of which ever of the individual stories you happen to be reading since character development is often spread across several tomes and constant reference and in-jokes are made for the pleasure of the loyal readers.
That said, this book stands fairly well on its own since there is nothing of vital importance which is left out. Those with political minds will be kept stimulated by frequent reference, parody, emulation and metaphor of real life affairs, whist those of a more scientific or literary bent will appreciate the allusions to both scientific concepts and literary works. The use of language is very entertaining and unique in style, as anyone who has read other work by this author will doubtless expect.
The story is developed at a reasonable pace, some woud say a bit slowly, but the above mentioned parody and references justify the volume of writing well for me. The only criticism I'd make is that it leaves me wanting more on some plot lines and characters where I'd be willing to sacrifice detail in other places for it. But maybe its meant to leave you wanting more?
To summarise the story in one sentence: A group of fairly hapless wizards are forced by a concatination of circumstance to enter a violent and firecley tribal game of football, aided by a unique and dangerous individual with a mysterious past.

I'd give it 8/10 and recommend it to anyone who likes the genera or Terry Pratchetts writing style.

It's available in hardback everywhere and also on CD (make sure you get the unabridged version).

If anyone has read it then please add your comments, but avoid any spoilers.


Pat said...

Start at Book One and read the lot, unless you want to miss out on one of the greatest works of literature produced in the English language. His children's books are brilliant, too, even for adults. The Nation just being one star amongst his constellations.

Anonymous Bloger said...

Hi Pat,
You are right, and I'm in the precess of reading back through the discworld books I've missed out and keep seeing more and more to them.
I read Truckers and Diggers a few years back too and there is plenty there to entertain adults as well as children.

Hamilcar Barca said...

i just finished Unseen Academicals, and i liked it. not as hilariously funny as some of his earlier works, but well-written. i liked how he intertwined the two main storylines.