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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2003
From the first few pages of 'The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents', it was clear to me that this book was filled to the brim with wit and charm. Just the very premise is intriguing from the start, and I found myself laughing out loud at several moments throughout the reading of this book. Unfortunately, the book fails to explore of its possibilities, and when I had finished, I felt dissatisfied.
Set in Discworld, which anyone who has ever read a book by Terry Pratchett will be familiar with, a strangely clever tomcat by the name of Maurice moves from town-to-town along with his similarly educated rats, and, as the book often describes him, a Stupid-looking kid named Kieth.
What takes place on their arrival in each town is a scam durative to the familiar tale of the Pied Piper. The rats run loose through the town, being so utterly nasty, that the mayor of the town is only too willing to pay Kieth to lure them out of town with his music. Maurice takes the money, with the promise to split it later, and they continue to the next town--the perfect scam... that is, until they reach the town of Bad Blintz.
The Rats communicate with each other often throughout the book (they are, argueably, the main characters), and often bring up the 'ethics' of the scam they are helping Maurice pull-off--an unfortunate result of their newly aqquired knowledge. This prepared me for a possible revolt--possibly the Rats rising against Maurice and trying to thwart his scam before he can continue. Sadly, Mr. Pratchett avoids the difficult route, and ends the book with a rather long, drawn-out, somewhat anticlimatic ending. In the meantime, the book is filled with several subplots, none of which do the book any good.
'Amazing Maurice' has only its wit and charm to stand on--without it, it really isn't as amazing as you'd expect.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2003
This was a really cute story. Basically, a bunch of rats, snacking on wizardly refuse, attain sentience. They also hook up with a sentient cat. They can all speak, learn, and chat with each other, and at the Cat's devious notion, dupe a "stupid looking kid" to play the role of a rat-piper, moving from city to city where the rats act up, the Piper comes in and clears the rats out, and they all get paid.

This time, however, they've stumbled into a town where there's something really evil going on, and all the wisecracking cats, tapdancing rats, and stupid-looking kids in the world might just be in over their heads.

Well written, with a bit of whimsy in nearly every chapter, this was my introduction to the Discworld series, and I dare say I'll be back. The wonderful observations from the rats point of view are fantastic (there's a great part where one of the rats is asked something along the lines of: "Do you know what animal swarms into a place, breeds terribly, spoils everything they can't use and wastes everything they can until there's nothing left?" and the rat says, "Sure. Humans.")

The story gets a bit dark in places for a young reader, though a teen would probably get a laugh. And the mythology lover in me adores the play on the Pied Piper of Hamelin - like Orson Scott Card's "Enchantment" did for Sleeping Beauty, Pratchett did here for the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

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on January 20, 2002
Maybe I'm getting TP jaded, but his earlier works are funnier. This was very good, but pretty much to the point. Need to keep that blend of humor and drama.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2002
Once upon a time there were rats who ate a little too much from rubbish heap behind the Wizards' university. They were Changed, and learned to think, to talk and, later on, to develop a conscience. They named themselves after things they saw in the rubbish, perhaps a little before they knew what the words meant. Pratchett is a good enough writer that rats like Dangerous Beans, Peaches, Darktan, Hamnpork and Donut Enter are a lot more vivid and believable than 9/10ths of what passes for literature today.
Maurice is a cat, and he is also Changed, although he really doesn't like to talk about how it happened. But he's always careful now to ask his food if it can talk before her eats it. He's the brains behind the scam.
Together with the stupid-looking kid who plays the flute - his name is really Keith - the rats and Maurice work the pied piper scam. For a modest fee, Keith can get rid of the sudden plague of rats that afflicts a town. And what with rats widdling in the flour and tap-dancing on the kitchen counter - there's always someone who wants to be in theater - the town is always grateful when Keith successfully pipes the rats away.
Until they arrive at the town of Bad Blintz. The traps are worse, the poisons more lethal and the rat catchers more ingenious than anywhere else. And there is something really evil living lower down, under the rat tunnels. Something that hates. Something that takes you over.
Pratchett has called this a children's book, but it would be more accurate to say it was based on a children's book. It's really about myths and the role of myths, and what it means to be "human." As just one example, the rats drag along with them a collection of children's fairy tales, remarkably like Peter Rabbit, and think it's a reference book for humans. The Pied Piper of Hamlin, of course, is itself a fairy tale. With (or perhaps despite) the "help" of Malicia, the Mayor's daughter and the granddaughter and grand niece of the Sisters Grim, the rats, Maurice and the stupid-looking kid must learn the hard way that if you aren't making up your own story, then you're just a character in someone else's.
Fun and thought-provoking, if somewhat different than the usual Pratchett novel. Recommended.
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on November 12, 2001
The first story for young readers set in the Discworld, is something... well different. Mixing different tales like the pied piper, The Fantastic Five, Scooby Doo and puss in boots, Maurice and the rats (oh and the stupid kid and the girl) run rampant. If you enjoyed the nomes series, then you'll love this. If you like the Discworld... well this one will be a nice addition to the quickly expanding Discworld set.
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