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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(4 star).Show all reviews
on March 6, 2001
"Pyramids" is an odd entry in the Discworld franchise. It is neither a knock-you-down laugh riot, nor an existential meandering. It has great dollops of both, though, and sometimes the two sides clash confusingly in the middle. Other times, they fit together perfectly, like the large blocks that when stacked together make up a pyramid.
There are some classic Pratchett moments here. Funny stuff. Like when a doctor (medicine being a new artform on the Discworld) declares a man's temperature so hot you could fry an egg on his forehead. Then, predicting the complicated medical jargon we all know and love, he pompously declares that the man is suffering from 'Pyrocerebrum ouerf culinaire'. A great and ridiculous moment. Even better is the scene near the middle of the book, where our hero, Teppic, encounters the legendary Sphinx, and ends up debunking the logic behind its famous riddle. It is a great scene, hardly integral to the plot, but wonderful to chomp on while it's playing.
As for that plot, well, Terry tries some complicated set pieces, and usually manages to pull them off with minimal explanation. He lets the reader figure out the merits of the Assassin's Guild, what it means to inhume a client, the concept of "flaring" off a pyramid, camel mathematics, and "quantum" architecture. Needless to say, none of these concepts are very useful in our world, but all make perfect sense on the Discworld.
I was somewhat disappointed that he returned to some tried and true devices. The ghost of the dead king, used so well in "Wyrd Sisters", here comes off as a tired rehash (although the king's afterlife companions turn out to be an interesting bunch). Also, the smart-mouth female sidekick has been done to death by this point. And our hero seems to be just an amalgamation of every Discworld hero so far, from Rincewind to Twoflower to Mort to Rincewind (again). Although Death returns, for a very brief but memorable appearance.
All told not the greatest entry in the series. Terry aims the bar quite high, which I commend him for, but he manages to knock it down more times than not.
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on May 2, 2000
It is obvious from reading other reviews that readers of Terry Pratchett each have their own particular favourites, and these can vary wildly. `Pyramids' was the first of his books that I read and even though I have now read most of them it remains, in my opinion, one of the best. What did I like about it? Well, the concept of a king who was actually trained to be an assassin (rather than one who took on the role to get there) was a good start. A kingdom called Djelibeybi (you have to say it aloud) that remarkably resembles Egypt, but skewed in the way that only Pratchett's Discworld series can, was also clever. Add to that swipes at pyramidology, the way some of religions followers abuse the power they get from it, and a teenage hero concerned about all the normal things that teenagers are concerned about, and you get a funny book. Perhaps my favourite bit is that camels are the smartest creatures on the disc (maybe you have to have met some camels to really understand that). If you are a fan of Terry Pratchett, there is a fair chance you will like this book. If you've never read him before, buy `Pyramids' and prepare to laugh.
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on April 17, 2002
First of all, I loved this novel. Teppic is a great guy who grows up as we read. The very name of Teppic's country, Djelibeybi, made me giggle, and the final exam in the Assassins' School had me at the edge of my chair until Teppic -- whew! -- makes the right decision. It's fun to look for the sources of Pratchett's plots (and satires). Did anyone else notice the similarities between this one and the first two of the Gormenghast trilogy? Not just Daddy's becoming a bird, but the dark ambience, Teppic's strange rivals and relatives, and the liberating finale. This book isn't my absolute favorite of Pratchett's (those accolades are reserved for the Watch novels and REAPER MAN), but it's a far cut above the Rincewind tales -- and better than the Gormenghast novels, since it examines all problems, including the hilarious ones, that trouble the inheritor of vast inbred territories.
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Must say I'm enjoying the journey through Terry Pratchett's witty, weird mind. An almost entirely new cast of characters in this installment of Discworld, very human, ordinary folk who are thrown into extraordinary situations. The result is a funny, madcap spoof of ancient Egypt, legendary assassins, new age occult beliefs and pseudo-sciences, and, well, pyramid power. I swear I heard Baldric (Tony Robertson of Black Adder fame)in there from time to time.

Despite the madcap, unpredictable quality of Pratchett's books, there is a sharply intelligent mind there and if you're not paying attention whole strings of references zoom by, never to be caught.
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on August 12, 2001
Teppic, only legitimate son of the king of an impoverished kingdom, is sent to an assassins' school for his training. Students who fail disappear. When called back to take the throne, he finds himself contending with the chief priest. Mysterious pyramids, a runaway handmaiden, an educated camel, and a friend from school all add to the complications leading to an interesting climax. There are some digressions in the story, easy to skim over, and it skips from character to character and is written with some flashbacks necessary to explain the plot. Overall, it is an interesting story.
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on May 2, 2002
This was the first of the Discworld series that I read, it was recommended to me by a friend and was her favorite of the series. I did like the book, but I found it a little hard to understand, but I think that if I would have read the Discworld books in order, I would understand it more. So when I get the time, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books!!!
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