Auto boutiques-francophones Simple and secure cloud storage Personal Care Cook All-New Kindle Paperwhite Music Deals Store Fall Tools

Customer Reviews

86
4.7 out of 5 stars
Small Gods
Format: Audio CassetteChange
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on July 31, 2015
...as if they were real.
A fun adventure in a world where gods are real, and derive their power from the belief of, well, believers.
This is a great primer for young readers on the notions of tribal gods. I enjoyed it thoroughly too.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2014
I liked the philosophy explaining the origin and maintenance of gods, even though it is an old trope. The book was like a comic book without pictures--probably OK for teenagers.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In this installment of Discworld, Pratchett explores religion and bigotry, and with a fairly weighted hand. One might even say with a 20lb sledgehammer. His usual wry and farcical sense of humour was lost under the weight of his indictment of organized religion and racial ignorance, and I couldn't help but feel he used the story as his own personal lectern from which to broadcast, and that frankly he just tried too hard with this one. All of that is perfectly understandable and within an author's right. In fact, I quite agree with Pratchett's condemnation. It's just that I couldn't help but feel he might have chosen a different vehicle; but then humour is such a personal and weird category.

Worth reading? Sure. But not one of the better crafted stories of the series, in my opinion.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
In Small Gods, the thirteenth novel of the Discworld, Terry Pratchett gets philosophical, religious, and existential on us, delivering a remarkably insightful look at man and his relationship (or lack thereof) with the gods. There are gods everywhere on the Discworld - you can't swing a simian librarian without hitting one - except, of course, only a few people can see them. Each small god lies in wait, desperately seeking to make someone believe in him; on the Discworld, gods need people more than people need gods, for belief is the food of the gods.

The story takes us far away from the environs of Ankh-Morpork to Omnia, a land on the Klatchian coast ruled by the priesthood of the Church of Om. It's an arid, harsh world where the Quisition works tirelessly to beat the sin out of individuals deemed to be suspicious (and almost no one is safe, for the priests regard the very existence of suspicion as proof of guilt). You would think that the Great God Om would bask in the glory and power of all that faith being demanded of the people, but ritual has replaced substance in Omnia; the people may worship Om, but they don't really believe in him anymore. For the past three years, the Great God Om has been stuck in the body of a one-eyed tortoise and has only now been able to find one man with the true flame of faith burning inside him. Unfortunately for Om, that one believer is Brutha, a novitiate in the Church whom, all would agree, is just a little bit slow on the uptake and is just about the last person Om would have chosen to become his new Prophet. Brutha does have a perfect memory, but all that memory crammed into his mind leaves little room left over for actual thought. In a way he fits right in, though, as the Church does all it can to discourage individual thought, because that kind of thing just leads to trouble.

Naturally, Brutha has a hard time accepting a tortoise as the Great God Om, and Om doesn't have the power to do anything but curl ineffectual oaths and curses at things that bother him. Om is actually a pretty surly little god, but spending three years as a tortoise, having to worry about falcons swooping down on you and then dropping you from a great height, tends to bring out the worst in gods. Brutha is increasingly disturbed to learn that Om never really gave his followers any instruction whatsoever; all of the holy books he knows by heart suddenly come into question, and that's hard on a true believer.

As the novel progresses, Brutha finds himself accompanying Deacon Vorbis, head of the Quisition, to the land of Ephebe where philosophers cover the landscape like locusts, argue violently among themselves, and generally live in barrels. One such philosopher is Didactylos, whose philosophy can basically be boiled down to the words "It's a funny old world." He now becomes the unifying part of an underground movement that insists, despite the tenets of the Church, that "the Turtle moves," that turtle being, of course, the Great A'Tuin. As so often happens, religious dispute breeds war, and the future of Omnia - not to mention the future of the Great God Om - lies in the palms of Brutha. There is only one thing you can be sure of in such a precarious situation: somewhere nearby, Cut-Me-On-Hand-Off Dhblah will be there selling all sorts of wossnames - onna stick.

Pratchett's razor-sharp wit cuts especially deep into religion, society, and the body politic in this novel. To some degree, organized religion is being satirized in these pages, but it's a healthy and honest sort of criticism; more than anything else, Small Gods is an ingeniously subtle philosophical examination of the meaning of life in an uncertain world. Pratchett offers one explanation as to how and why gods die, and there is more than enough weighty material in these pages to give us pause in between fits of laughter.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2005
-- sooner or later.
Pratchett has done the unthinkable - kept a series (and a humor series at that) alive and fresh well into its second dozen. This book started that second dozen.
It's about Brutha, a minor novitiate even among novitiates who are all minor. He's doing what he does best, hoeing the beans, when his god arises before him in physical manifestation:
A turtle. Slow. Partial to lettuce. Not fond of being turned over or dropped. Not much for conversation when it gets cold out. And, as near as Om can tell, the god of Brutha only. No one else seems to be paying much attention when the god calls down plagues, or at least some really nasty rashes.
In Prathcett's hands, this small start yields a very worthy bit of amusement. No, there's really no point to what Pratchett writes (well, that's what he wants you to think). Brutha crosses his world, overturns empires as easily as he overturns weeds in the bean-patch, and dies happy. Everyone dies, and Brutha has seen lots of the other ways - this really is a happy ending.
For all of its shallow jests, this book has rewards for the serious reader. Brutha wins in the end by be slow, thick, and mind-bogglingly even-handed. Om finally comes out of his shell and really makes his entry, even among the more exclusive clubs of the gods. Everyone gets what they deserve in the end, no matter what you thought they deserved. By the way: observe Om, the lowly turtle, and the place of the turtle in Discworld cosmology.
Pratchett fans: watch Vorbis. Yes, the character dies, but that doesn't mean much in Discworld. He may reincarnate as Vetinari, or maybe as Vetinari's evil identical twin. Death is there, all caps, but really quite a congenial chap - says "Thank you" when you pass him the bottle, sort of thing. The librarian is there, working hard in librarian heroics. Lu Tze is there, makin sure that history turns out the way it's supposed to, not that he has a lot to work with.
Every series has its ups and downs. This is a serious up for Discworld. Enjoy!
//wiredweird
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2002
"Small Gods" is a book set in the Discworld universe. It is a stand-alone book and not part of any other series (i.e. the City Watch, Death, Wyrd Sisters). It's also a very good book, though it's nowhere near my favourite. The back cover calls it a great comedy, but I didn't find it all that funny. It was good, makes very insightful comments on religion and how it is set up. There are some great moments in the book as well. Most of these consist of indirect comments on our world that just pop up and hit you in the face with their accuracy. But again, it's not that funny.
It is set in the land of Omnia, a heavily religious land, or at least it seems to the outside. They are very intolerant of other religions, going so far as to torture heretics for their beliefs. In reality, though, there is no real belief there. It has become a power structure instead of a true religion. Om, the god that they worship, has come to visit. Unfortunately, while he intended to come down as something noble (like a swan), he appeared as a tortoise. To make things worse, he traveled the Disc for three years without realizing he was Om. This happened because nobody truly believes in him any more, and gods derive their power from belief.
There is one person who does believe in him very deeply, though, and that's Brutha. Because of this, Om has to use him to try and get his followers back. Brutha is a very simple man; he can't read and write, and he enjoys puttering around in the temple garden. He's a very unlikely choice for a chosen one. Unfortunately, he's the only choice Om has. One thing Brutha does have is a fantastic memory. He can remember everything he sees, even if he doesn't know what it means. This ability very often comes in handy, whether it has to do with the library or getting out of a maze. Om finds that a simple man isn't always the most easily controlled, though.
The story is a very interesting comment on religious practices. It covers everything from organized religion to the creationism/evolution debate. The people of Omnia don't believe that the world is flat, on the backs of four elephants that are standing on a Great Turtle. No religion is singled out for ridicule, though, as most of the comments are made about religious structure in general. The belief that a god's power is based on how many people believe in him is very interesting. Neil Gaiman uses the same idea in his American Gods book.
The characters are all well done. Brutha is an unlikely prophet, but as events happen to him and he grows into the role (no matter how reluctantly), you believe the transition. Vorbis, the exquisitor (as opposed to the inquisitor), is suitably sadistic. He's the one main character that you could say is slightly two dimensional because you don't know why he is what he is. He's not as devout as he seems, and he does enjoy his work, but that's pretty much all we know.
Om is a great character, though. He's suitably sarcastic. He uses Brutha for his own ends. He tries to keep Brutha in the dark about how the belief system works, and why he has appeared to Brutha. He's arrogant (shown especially when he visits the other gods). He also has many of the best lines.
The main problem with this book, though, is that the comedy just doesn't seem to be there. Sure, after reading the annotations, some of the bits seem funnier. Maybe I just wasn't getting the jokes as much. Some of the exchanges between Brutha and Om are priceless. The philosophers of Ephebe make their return from Pyramids, and they are hilarious. I always enjoy them. But there's not enough of it. Perhaps this one just went over my head. One of the things that is really missing is the funny footnotes. In the previous books I've read, there are footnotes on almost every third or fourth page. They were great! However, this one only has a few of them. I would call this book more "amusing" then "funny."
Still, the book is well worth reading, and I would suggest you pick it up for the philosophical insights and the writing. There are some funny moments as well, just not as many. And if you already like Pratchett, this is certainly a good one to continue with.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on January 5, 2002
Small Gods was perhaps the best book Terry Pratchett has ever written. It was a bit more serious than most of his other books, which was partly why I liked it. The book was refreshing to read, simply because I had never read anything with so much to say that managed to say is so clearly, while still maintaining a light-hearted attitude.
One thing I enjoyed about Small Gods was that it kept my attention the whole way through. The plot was fantastic with many interesting little twists and turns that made me want to keep reading. It was basically about a god who gets reincarnated as a turtle. He figures out that his believers beleive in his church because they are afraid of it, but nothim. It was very well-written and told the story flawlessly. Quite aside from that, it had me falling out of my chair from laughing on several occasions. Needless to say, I enjoyed it.
The book also had great characters. It was easy to relate to them because they acted like regular people, but without becoming stereotype nonentities who just lead their boring lives. There were all different types of personalities with all their different opinions and emotions, but the narration stayed neutral the whole time. One thing that's important in any story is a good villain and this one had it. His name is Vorbis and he's the head of what I assume is the Discworld parallel of the Inquisition. I hated him throughout the whole book. He was a cynic and a sadist, but Pratchett does us the enormous service of never dehumanizing him the whole time. He had motives for what he did, even though they were twisted, and at the end we pity him more than hate him.
It wasn't just fluff. It's very easy to classify all books with humor in them as fluff, but you can't do that with this one. It had an idea behind it throughout the whole book and even somewhat of a moral. This was that people should never ever be treated as things. Pratchett applies this to every character and not just the villain. One thing that I appreciated was the fact that Pratchett maintained a clear head throughout the whole thing. He tried to be inoffensive, but not too hard. There is a fine line between inoffensive and politically correct, and Pratchett didn't cross it. Overall, I thought it was because it made me think.
In conclusion, I give Small Gods two thumbs up and five stars because it deserved it. I felt better for reading it and highly recommend it to everyone who hasn't.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on January 5, 2002
Small Gods was perhaps the best book Terry Pratchett has ever written. It was a bit more serious than most of his other books, which was partly why I liked it. The book was refreshing to read, simply because I had never read anything with so much to say that managed to say is so clearly, while still maintaining a light-hearted attitude.
One thing I enjoyed about Small Gods was that it kept my attention the whole way through. The plot was fantastic with many interesting little twists and turns that made me want to keep reading. It was basically about a god who gets reincarnated as a turtle. He figures out that his believers beleive in his church because they are afraid of it, but nothim. It was very well-written and told the story flawlessly. Quite aside from that, it had me falling out of my chair from laughing on several occasions. Needless to say, I enjoyed it.
The book also had great characters. It was easy to relate to them because they acted like regular people, but without becoming stereotype nonentities who just lead their boring lives. There were all different types of personalities with all their different opinions and emotions, but the narration stayed neutral the whole time. One thing that's important in any story is a good villain and this one had it. His name is Vorbis and he's the head of what I assume is the Discworld parallel of the Inquisition. I hated him throughout the whole book. He was a cynic and a sadist, but Pratchett does us the enormous service of never dehumanizing him the whole time. He had motives for what he did, even though they were twisted, and at the end we pity him more than hate him.
It wasn't just fluff. It's very easy to classify all books with humor in them as fluff, but you can't do that with this one. It had an idea behind it throughout the whole book and even somewhat of a moral. This was that people should never ever be treated as things. Pratchett applies this to every character and not just the villain. One thing that I appreciated was the fact that Pratchett maintained a clear head throughout the whole thing. He tried to be inoffensive, but not too hard. There is a fine line between inoffensive and politically correct, and Pratchett didn't cross it. Overall, I thought it was because it made me think.
In conclusion, I give Small Gods two thumbs up and five stars because it deserved it. I felt better for reading it and highly recommend it to everyone who hasn't.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on December 31, 2001
I've read quite a few of the Pratchett books, mostly at the insistence of my 13 year old son who loves these novels. This ranks right up there among my favorites, and is intriguing for the allusions to so many of the world's religions. The author is clearly well read, and catching these little references produced many aha! moments, I confess that I even lugged home a compendium on world religion to dig out the paralells and little obscure references - and there is alot more to this book than meets the eye. Well, but in the end, I find myself in complete sympathy with the conclusion, and thus a truly satisfying narrative from start to finish. I should add that this approach to reading this book drove my son absolutely crazy, and in fact taken only at face value, no references or allusions the book is still a great read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on November 6, 2001
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. One of my friends suggested I not read this one yet, because she knew my habit of giving up on a book when bored with it. But being me, I read it anyway.
It was excellent. The way Pratchett describes how gods and goddesses come into power and shrivel into a mere ghost of their previous forms by basis of belief is superb. This is one of those books that entertain you all the way through, but soon you find yourself really thinking about what the content means or what it COULD mean.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Mort
Mort by Terry Pratchett (Paperback - April 1 1989)
CDN$ 11.69

Moving Pictures
Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett (Paperback - Dec 23 1998)
CDN$ 11.39

Guards! Guards!
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (Paperback - Dec 23 1998)
CDN$ 11.95