Review: Witches Abroad – Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad – GoodReads link

Having completed War & Peace last Saturday (hallelujah) I decided this week I would wind down from such an epic and return to some lighter reading to recover. For this, I returned to one of my now favourite authors to do so.

Anyone who follows my blog will know that I have a slight obsession with Pratchett and can quite easily prattle along quite happily about his books. Apologies in advance guys – I can’t usually help myself, although I will try!

Pratchett is known for using his books as a means of challenging certain ideologies or misconceptions faced in the real world, and this book is no exception. He focuses this book on stories and inevitability, or fate as you may wish to call it. I loved this as it focused on fairy tales, (predominantly Cinderella – with a twist of course) but other fairy tales also featured along the way, including Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood etc.

Whilst traveling to Genua in order for Magrat to become the godmother of Emberella to STOP her marrying the prince (get it… cinders, embers…) they stumble across a multitude of tales and inevitably get themselves caught up in them. Granny Weatherwax is the kind of character that cannot prevent herself interfering… she’s how I’d imagine a mother-in-law from hell to be; always sticking her nose in, telling you what you are doing wrong and being immovably stubborn and adamant that she has never made a mistake. Obviously. Thank the lord I don’t have in-laws – especially ones like that!

Unlike the previous Discworld books featuring the witches, I felt this book enabled the reader to get to know one of the three witches, Gytha Ogg a lot better. In the previous two books Gytha somewhat sits in the background not contributing much but she really comes into her own in this tale – let’s just say the rather “childish” topic is counteracted with a lot of twists and adult humour. Not only is she a witch; she loves and can hold her liquor (particularly rum and banana daiquiri’s) and has a very promiscuous past of which we are regularly reminded. Equally she is only human (as such) because she regularly writes home to her illiterate son, Jason. (Across the whole series the Discworld inhabitants are a little slow on the uptake of general common sense, intelligence, and the ability to spell, which also makes me laugh). Writing to your illiterate son is a perfectly logical thing to do…

During my last years of school I studied Performing Arts and for one assessment we had to create a performance aimed at children; we focused on the topic of fairy tales. In hindsight I really wish I’d read this book sooner as there are some fantastic ideas we could have … *cough cough* borrowed… Not that we ever did such a thing. Ever. Much.

This is the first book of Pratchett’s that had such an adult humour content and I’m glad it did as I think it needed it really to keep the story going for a wider audience. It was a fantastic, laugh-out-loud light read and was just what I needed.

For anyone considering Pratchett’s books, you don’t have to read the whole series. His books do actually stand alone so you would never have to read the entire forty something book long series. I’m just choosing to… because I can.

I have already started “Lords of the North” by Bernard Cornwell as my next read, albeit slowly – I’ve been busy the past couple of evenings doing some proofreading and I spent yesterday in the garden (note: not mine) breaking my back to help tidy it. Now summer is here, what are sunny bank holiday’s for if not that?! Needless to say, today has been a very chilled day in comparison so I’ve gotten loads of work done.

How do you guys spend your bank holidays? What books are on your reading lists? I’d love to hear from you. Until my next review, ciao for now!

 

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