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3.9 out of 5 stars34
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on August 24, 2001
If you've never heard of Terry Pratchett, you're clearly living on the wrong planet. So join the rest of us in Pratchett's Discworld and enjoy the antics of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, the Disc's best-known witches. Visit Ankh-Morpork's Opera House with them (accompanied by their lunatic guests). You'll marvel at the amazing scenes of chaos that Pratchett can conjure up, seemingly without trying. And no matter what the topic, Pratchett is able to satirize it and make you question your former opinions - and you'll howl with laughter as you do so. I've read quite a lot of Discworld books and there are not many that have not held a chuckle a page and a full belly laugh a chapter. Maskerade lives up to its author's reputation in full, satirizing opera, theatre production, the lot - and all with a smile on his face. If, after reading Maskerade, you are in any doubt that Terry Prachett is not the most creative and funniest contemporary author around, you've obviously got a funny bone missing somewhere. Although it is not his best work, Maskerade is still hilarious and well worthy of five stars.
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on March 2, 2001
Being a big fan of humorous fantasy, I've been in love with Terry Pratchett's Discworld almost from the moment I began reading it. I adore Nanny Ogg and Greebo, Granny Weatherwax (to a lesser extent), Rincewind, the Bursar, the Librarian, and Death above all. So it's really not much surprise that I loved this book.
I think, though, that not only does it stand out among comedic fantasy books as all Discworld novels do, but it also stands out among Discworld novels! For all that I don't know opera or Phantom, the jokes I did understand had me rolling, and the idea of Nanny Ogg writing a cookbook is so priceless that it would have earned the book four stars all on its own. Toss in the translation of an opera verse and the little notes of maniacal laughter, and you've got enough funny stuff to leave a person gasping for breath between snickers.
However, it's a valid point to say that this is a story that's probably much funnier if you have some passing knowledge of opera and Phantom; I had the feeling that I was missing out on chunks of it, and really, the plot with Agnes wasn't very riveting. I thought the jokes I did understand more than made up for it, but that's a question of personal taste. This is still one of the Discworld novels that requires the most background knowledge to make most of its hits; it seems full of in jokes, and if you're bugged by that sort of thing, you might want to try a different slice of the Discworld pie instead.
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Pratchett has an outstanding capacity to research a topic, then present his findings with peerless clarity and wit. This book presents so many aspects of theatre production, operatic lore and, amazingly, book publication they're nearly overwhelming. His prose and humour leave us breathless with mirth and astonishment. Still, one has to wonder what motivated the writing of Maskarade. It's a departure from previous Discworld efforts.
Magrat Garlick's married and out of the coven. This imbalance must be restored. Her potential replacement is a new Pratchett character, Agnes Nitt. Agnes, however, has a different career in mind. She wants to be a diva in the opera troupe in Ankh-Morpork. A lofty ambition, indeed. And a voice lofty enough to project throughout the hall - right up to the loft, in fact.
As always, the opera business is fraught with problems. Underpaid [and underfed] choir girls, prima donnas who consider their voice grander than its quality justifies, eccentric crew, and the ever present issue of money. Oh yes, and there's a ghost - with a reserved box seat.
If the Ankh-Morpork's opera team wasn't having enough to deal with, they are about to be confronted with the remnants of Lancre's witches' coven, Esme Weatherwax and Gytha Ogg. Nanny Ogg's become the Julia Childs of the Ramtops, but with variations on a particular theme. She's published a book about it, but Granny Weatherwax isn't convinced the payment justified. Esme Weatherwax as an author's agent is a formidable figure. As if this transformation wasn't enough, she also becomes a patron of opera.
Pratchett's gone slightly awry from his usual path with this book. He raises a host of pretty serious questions with the characters and the plot. It's still in the best of PTerry's style - his wit through the persona of Granny and Nanny Ogg has, if anything, improved. But there are some issues uncommon in Discworld books, and the reader is left more than just entertained. There's some post-laughter thinking required of the reader. Opera is, after all, serious business.
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on September 5, 2000
Wonderful. Superb. Splendid. Magnificent. Operatic -- well, maybe not the last one. Maskerade is a work of art -- a work of wit, no less. Terry Pratchett is once again a master of the written word. Any fan of Pterry, Discworld, opera, musical theatre (I esp. loved when Nanny Ogg found the musical scripts!), Phantom of the Opera, and in fact, pretty much anything else will love this book. Creative, witty, satirical, and side-splitting. I laughed the whole way through. My only regret is that the only recognisable characters were Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax (oh, and Greebo. And a cameo Death). Not that they're bad -- au contraire -- but the wizards of UU are also very funny. Also... what happened to the footnotes? I've always enjoyed them in the other Discworld books. But that's a brief flaw -- overall, Maskerade is a genius' masterpiece, proving Pterry's brilliance once again.
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on July 22, 2000
This is one of Terry Pratchett's best books with the lovable characters from the Discworld series. Back for another round of side-splitting comedy is Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax. Any true fan must read this book. You don't want to be left behind when you're friends are giving you advice from the 'Joye of Cooking'.
The dubious duo head off to Ankh-Morpork to collect on moneys that are owed to Nanny for her cook book with 'innuendos'. While there, they run into Agnes Nitt(which isn't hard considering her size), and embark on a wonderful adventure at the Ankh-Morpork Opera House that is a sure-fire spoof of the classic story, "The Phantom of the Opera".
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on February 14, 1999
Pratchett is one of the few authors who can reduce me to the undignified state of outright giggling, and he's done it again. He uses both old gags (The Lancre Coven and orang-utan Librarian) and new (OPERA!). Even though I kind of like opera, I found Pratchett's satire and wit quite funny. This book grabs you by the collar and swirls you through different characters lives and plots, leaving a burning desire to read more of this zany world. It may leave you, as it left me, with the wonder of how a prop horse can have a "humorous trapdoor," but I can still give you only one suggestion: Read Maskerade!!!!!
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on April 29, 2000
I haven't read all of Prachett's books (though I intend to), but this is by far my favorite! Before you read, decide what you would bring with you out of your house if it was on fire. Granny can tell quite a lot from a person by their answer! (Of course, she doesn't approve of psychology.) Nanny carries her suddenly vast wealth around in her 'knickers,' and Agnes Nitt (Perdita X. Dream) can sing lower than an elephant to higher than a dog's whistle. The three are witches, and they're going to stop the show without stopping the Opera and solve a murder mystery.
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on June 26, 1997
If you don't have time to read Maskerade in one sitting, then give a friend a crowbar to take it away from you.

I've never been disappointed by Pratchett (although Soul Music came close 'cause I don't listen to Music with Rocks in). But Opera is my speed and the inside jokes are hilarious. The satire of Opera, Operetta and Webber's musicals is cutting. This book is chock'full'o belly laughs even if you don't know opera.

Perhaps most exciting is a new Witch to accompany Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. I can't wait to see more of her.
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on May 3, 2001
If you are a Pratchett fan then I am wasting my time telling you what a genius Terry is... if you're not yet a Pratchett fan, you need to find your introduction book to the master of Fantasy Satire.
If you are a fan of Phantom of the Opera, this is your book. Pratchett celebrates and lampoons the world of theatre, all the while weaving a cunning mystery story liberally salted with humor and a ton of smiles...
A must have for any fan of the Wyrd Sisters.
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on April 9, 2000
This book was my first exposure to Discworld and I have since returned many times. This ultra funny parody of phantom had drowning in mirth with it's both obvious and subtle humor. It is advantageous to have seen the play first because it makes the parody all the more funnier, and understandable. Even with out seeing the play it is a good book to read. Serious die hard opera fans may be offedended
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