LORDS AND LADIES
- Terry Pratchett -
As per the author's note - this book builds off of a previous Discworld 'witches' book (Witches Abroad). I believe if you can pick up on the small carry over of Magrat being tentatively engaged to King Verence you have no worries about being lost, other than the usual feelings of being lost when you immerse yourself in Pratchett's Discworld.
The whole love and marriage theme continued through this novel, extending its claws into all of the witches. Nanny Ogg, no surprise (as evidenced by her four or five previous husbands). BUT, even Granny fell prey to love, even if it was just for a few brief moments. And, although it may sound like a cuddly, soft, lovey-dovey tale, it was in fact one of the crudest books to date - b/c along with marriage comes the wedding night!
I swear, if I read another variant of the naive bride and groom's wedding night...I'll...most likely laugh. However, on top of that (forgive the pun) there are jokes about the unicorn (and the size of his horn), the long man hill, books on marital...er, martial arts, and the culturally insignificant stick and bucket dance (not to be performed in the company of the fairer sex).
Pratchett managed to tie these varied subjects (along with string theory) in with the plot of grinning elves attempting to take over the world. After reading this book you will never look at elves the same again. What's behind that constant grin anyway?
Granny and the girls, along with help from some Wizards (and the Librarian) do end up wiping the smirk off the face of the elves in a very exciting finish. Every then lives happily ever after, or so it seems.
I was actually a bit surprised by the depth of character development in this book. There was the usual one liners and non-sequitur conversations that are light and funny, but, there was also a lot of background brought up about the witches younger life. I especially found Granny's love life history, her decision to become a witch, and her true feeling about Magrat, very revealing and interesting. To me, it really gave her character a lot more depth that was missing from previous books. This character building does mean that every line is not a funny, not some cute play on words, or a pun filled paradox, like most of the other Discworld books have been. However, it did seem a bit more rewarding to read this, number 14, than many of the others before it.
My one complain is not about the writing, but, about technology. I read an ebook format which removed the footnotes from the bottom of the page and filed them away in the back. I guess the idea is that you can push on the footnote number and hyperlink your way back to the footnote. Great idea. Who wants to read the footnotes in a book anyway? Well, I do! Especially in these books! They add an extra layer of humour and sometimes it is the funniest thing on a page! The problem - the hyperlinking doodad did not work on my reader, therefore, I couldn't conveniently read any of the footnotes (until I was finished the book if you want to be technical). On top of that, the battery ran out, it froze, the screen had a layer of jam on it from my kid's sticky fingers playing with 'Daddy's Toy' which they know not to touch, and the formatting of the breaks made reading conversations hard...and this is the future of books? I love technology.