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Unseen Academicals: (Discworld Novel 37) Hardcover – Dec 25 2018
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• "Behind the fantasy Terry Pratchett looks at very real contemporary issues and scores many goals. This isn't just football, it's Discworld football. Or, to borrow another phrase, it's about life, the Universe, and everything." --The Times
• "Satirical, historical, fantastical and irresistible." --Daily Mail
• "The subject matter is football, with a dash of Romeo and Juliet... exactly what's needed to cheer us all up in the autumnal gloom. Terry has none of his ability to raise a laugh." --Daily Express
About the Author
TERRY PRATCHETT is the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he is the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he is the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages.
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The characters are all well defined and their actions make complete sense in the context of the world they're in. And if you've had the pleasure of meeting them before In other Discworld books, you'd 'get' them even more.
I would recommend this to any lover of fantasy books.
With Pratchett's tackling his country's passionate love affair with football (or soccer, if like me you live on the other side of the Atlantic), I believed that Unseen Academicals had the potential of being another terrific addition to the Discworld sequence. With his trademark witty humor and intelligent narrative, I felt that this would be another winner. And yet, sadly, Unseen Academical was, for me at least, one massive failure to launch.
Here's the blurb:
Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork - not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go going when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else. The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too). As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever. Because the thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football. Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!
The main problem was that Pratchett is all over the place with this one. And as a result, the novel fails to form a cohesive whole. The chuckles and the laughs are there, don't worry. But the various storylines don't come together very well. And for the first time in my life, portions of a Terry Pratchett book bored me out of my mind. I simply could not get into Unseen Academicals.
Some of the plotlines are hilarious, true. Everything that had to do with the Unseen University was a lot of fun to read. Alas, all the scenes regarding Juliet's burgeoning modelling career were on the lame side. The same could be said of the relationship between Mr. Nutt and Glenda the Night Kitchen cook. Mr. Nutt was an interesting character in his own right until the truth about his identity is revealed. Overall, these disparate storylines make for an uneven read.
At times it feels as though Pratchett lacked enough material for a complete novel, so he was forced to pad the plot with filler material. Given the fact that I was expecting another brilliant Pratchett offering, Unseen Academicals sometimes felt a bit uninspired.
Nonetheless, this novel will likely please some of the author's less demanding fans or those looking for light fantasy fare, but I doubt it will help win him new ones. If you have yet to sample Pratchett's comical and intelligent style, Unseen Academicals is not a good place to start.
Here's to hoping that the next Discworld book will be a return to form. . .
It does introduce some new and likable characters who give the feeling that a new generation is afoot in Ankh-Morpork, and bring back some older characters like Rincewind, ridicully and the Librarian but you probably won't feel inclined to read it over and over like Pratchett novels before.
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