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Review: The Shepherd’s Crown

The Shepherd's Crown (Discworld, #41; Tiffany Aching, #5)The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Shepherd’s Crown is Terry Pratchett’s last book, and it’s a fitting one for that, though I doubt he realized at the time that this was the final chapter. It is part of the Discworld series, though at first it was so, well, normal-ish that I wasn’t sure. It’s also part of the Tiffany Aching storyline, but as I hadn’t actually read any of those, I can’t speak to the quality on that level.
The Shepherd’s Crown follows young witch Tiffany after Discworld foundational character Granny Weatherwax dies, leaving Tiffany to inherit all of the resources and responsibilities (mostly responsibilities) of the leader of the witches. And there is quite a lot to do, because Granny’s passing also weakened the barriers between the elven world and our own, and the elves take it as an opportunity to attack.
It’s a nice story, funny but insightful in the typical Discworld way, but it also feels like a tying together, a wrapping up. Much as Tiffany must learn to grown and find her own place after the loss of Granny Weatherwax, we readers must learn to live in a world where there will be no more Discworld novels. Though I’m confident that the editiorial team behind Pratchett did their best to produce a polished work, I could sense in the story where things started going missing. It’s true that there is a complete narrative arc, a beginning, middle, and end, but it feels a bit sketched out toward the end (though the conclusion seems right on the nose).
That’s the sad part of this book, to me. In addition to knowing the author was racing against time to get it done, we can sense the holes in this book. Holes that will never be filled.

Go back and read the rest of the books, and think fondly.

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Review: Pyramids

Pyramids (Discworld, #7)Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In Djelibeybi, not much has changed…in thousands of years. But all it takes is one king with wild ideas about such nonsense as “indoor plumbing” and “mattresses”–and one seriously large pyramid–for the kingdom to get forced into the modern day.
This story jumps around a bit, but generally follows Teppic, the prince of Djelibeybi (which is totally-not-Egypt). What with the kingdom being rather in debt, someone has to earn a living, so he goes of to Ankh-Morpork to learn an honest living as an assassin. Meanwhile, his father has a bit of an existential crisis about being the god-king responsible for sunrises…without knowing how he does it every day. His realization that gravity does indeed apply to him sets Teppic on a path back home to discover his own godhood and to begin the wrestling of his country into time with the rest of the world. There is then a lot of quantum mechanics and fooling around with far-too-large pyramidal magics, and then there’s a mess that not even Dios, high priest for as long as anyone can remember, knows how to handle.
This story was a lot of fun, as all Pratchett books are, but it didn’t quite captivate me as some of his others. It was a good time filler but nothing exemplary. It jumped between main characters more often, or rather, seemed to, and so it was a little hard to follow at first. Of course, everything came together and made perfect sense in the end, right down to the silly naming of the two royal embalmers. Pratchett, as always, had a plan.

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