Monthly Archives: January 2014

Review: Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett


2,5 stars out of 5.

Effing finally!

God, this book was hard work!

But, please: If this was the very first Terry Pratchett book you’ve ever read, please don’t give up! He CAN write, and brilliantly so. I don’t know what went wrong with “Raising Steam”, but try “Thud!” (auf Deutsch “Klonk!”) or “Jingo” (auf Deutsch “Fliegende Fetzen”) and you’ll see he’s a wonderful writer.

That said…

I’ve won “Raising Steam” on an LR. I tried for that LR because I had read “Going Postal”, liked it a lot and wanted to know what’s become of Moist, Adora Belle and everyone else. I mean, it was Terry Pratchett and I liked the characters already. What could go wrong?

I don’t even know where to start.

Like I said, I have no idea what happened, but this is by far the most boring Terry Pratchett book I’ve ever read.

It takes ages for the story to develop, then it’s moving veeeeery slowly. Whenever it takes up the slightest bit of steam (pun intended), it’s thwarted yet again by descriptions of building trains, making steam, how to lay tracks and/or things like “there’s-an-older-lady-who-should-totally-write-books-about-her-journeys-on-the-train”.

I don’t love trains, but I really think even Dr. Sheldon Cooper would’ve found that taxing.

There are pages of landscape- and/or village-descriptions, there are so many “extras” introduced, only to be never mentioned again, many already established characters pop up to do or say something completely irrelevant, there are seemingly endless – and imo pointless – monologues (especially from Dick Simnel and Vetinari), which sounded more and more like the same monologue during the course of the book, only dressed in slightly different words.

Some of the (very) important characters are off. I’m not sure about Moist (though he also tended more to wax poetically about completely unimportant things than he did in “Going Postal” imo), but WTF Vetinari? And Vimes? He was ALMOST himself, but not, and that was off-throwing. At least for me.

The storyline I would’ve loved to hear way more about – the conflict between the grags and the Low King – was practically a subplot; and though that might actually be fitting for a dwarf 😉 I think it would’ve done the book a world of good, if that had been the main plot.

I really loved to see the Low King dealing with everything – in about the last fourth of the book. THAT was when it began to feel like the Terry Pratchett books I’ve read before. There were wonderful speeches, great and witty dialogues, schemes, life-changing solutions… Everything came together, and it was awesome to watch.

Still. A fourth does not a whole book make, and… Well, I’ve made it a policy to round up if I’m giving half a star, so 3 stars it is, though it really is no more than 2,5 stars. And only because the book made good a LOT during the last 100 or so pages. The first ¾ were really hard work for me, and if I hadn’t had to read that for an LR, I don’t think I would’ve made it to that last quarter.

But yes, I’m looking forward to the next Terry Pratchett book. Nobody’s perfect, and I’m sure the next one will be a great read again.