Book #23: Snuff (2012)

author: Terry Pratchett
language: English
length: 406 virtual pages
finished on: 7 November 2012

I started reading this book on my kindle after finishing “Gulliver’s Travels”, very enthusiastically, since it was a lot more engaging than that. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm died down a bit and in the end it took about four months to finish the book – I started reading it in the summer, after all. Like other recent Pratchett works, such as “I Shall Wear Midnight” (which I read and reviewed about a year ago), it’s become very repetitive in its writing and humour style. But it was at least miles better than that, too.

As a return to old favourite characters, mainly focussing on Sam Vimes, it was very welcome. But perhaps the book focussed too much on him and not enough on other Watch characters and the like – the basic plot is that he goes on holiday to his estate, leaving the city behind. Again, it’s been so long since I’ve read a book with him in it, so there were a few things that come up near the beginning of the book, such as the fact that he has a child (a charming and perfect young boy obsessed with poo), or that he’s been half-possessed by some sort of demon.

The plot concerns the goblins of Discworld, who have only been briefly mentioned before, but here get a fuller fleshing-out. Like many other books in the series, it deals with the fantasy racism applied to the goblins, who are not regarded as human. Discworld has already covered that ground with dwarves and trolls quite early on, though, so I didn’t see what in particular this book added, except for just another fantasy race to keep track of.

Compared to other Discworld novels, one other thing I did notice was that it was very risqué. Swear words are used once or twice, and a running gag involves a ship called the Wonderful Fanny, which gives many characters the giggles. I’m not sure how I liked this. I think it just seemed almost too upfront for Pratchett’s work.

Again, I’m going to be quite curt with this review and just say now that I did enjoy it, but it’s just not as good as some of the earlier books. As I say, it did take me four months to finish it, again, although I suspect that part of that is simply not finding the time to read, but if it had been more interesting, I would have made the excuse to do so. As it stands, it was OK, but it doesn’t stand in the Discworld hall of fame for me. I am glad that Pratchett is still writing, though. And I do quite want to read the latest book, Dodger, which is not Discworld, but is set instead in Victorian London (which leads me to ponder the fact that I always saw Ankh-Morpork as a cypher of Victorian London, and wonder if it will be majorly different from Discworld books, but I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve read it).


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