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My least favourite Discworld novel
on December 13, 2005
I adore Terry Pratchett's novels, especially the Discworld series. I think he's one of the best living writers and I admire his deft touch at weaving together humour and philosophy, dialogue and action. And, although there are a number of Discworld novels I think are weaker than his best (Jingo, Fifth Elephant, Thud!), I still enjoy rereading them because of the author's extraordinary skill.
Monstrous Regiment is the one Pratchett book I cannot bring myself to reread. It's just not very good.
I don't care about any of the characters in this one. This is partly because Pratchett is so clearly on a soapbox the entire time that very little humour is allowed to come through. The single "twist" is repeated so many times that it quickly loses any ability to surprise or instruct. By the end of the book I was praying, "Please, Mr. Pratchett, you can't possibly do it again ..." But he did. The only character I enjoyed was Jackrum, but when the all-too-predictable twist was applied to this character as well as everyone else, I continued reading only because I couldn't imagine not finishing a Pratchett novel. The final twist made me throw the book down in disgust.
When Pratchett gets preachy, his normally deft touch gets leaden and the humour flees. The only "darker" book of his that really works for me is Night Watch, which is quite stunning.
I suggest that you read just about anything else by Pratchett, rather than this one. It was so bad it made me not read anything by him for quite a while, and I've only just caught up with Thud! (disappointingly heavy-handed), Getting Postal (excellent -- among his best) and Making Money (pretty good).