Thursday, September 4, 2008
Book Review- Nation by Terry Pratchett
Nation by Terry Pratchett will be released on Sept. 30, 2008 from HarperTeen Books.
The sea has taken everything. Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave. Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne's sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. . .
In this newest YA novel from admired fantasy author Terry Pratchett, he steps out of his usual setting of Discworld and writes a story that takes place in our own world, though sometime in the mid-1800s, from what I can gather through my reading of it. But like other Pratchett novels, it is written in third person omniscient and goes between several characters, though mostly through Mau and Daphne. Although this may seem like a simple re-telling of the flood story in a more recent time period, it is a lot more than that- this book questions beliefs, class and ethnic differences, and many more. Pratchett knows how to make his readers think while reading his novels, and does a great job at it. Hopefully, that hasn't scared people off yet because along with the thinking and the questioning, there's also the humor. Pratchett's novels are filled with humor, though not usually the slapstick kind (of course, an occasional slapstick scene is put in because those are funny too). His humor is more subtle and is something I enjoy while reading his books- the wit doesn't overpower anything else, nor does it feel forced to make the story lighter despite all the tragedy happening around it. It is put in effortlessly and is weaved throughout, keeping it commonplace and not out of place in any way. There's also some fantastic action scenes in this book, more notably toward the middle and end, and all of these together make this book a highly recommended read.
One sidenote though, for people who are already Pratchett lovers- If you like his footnotes, don't look here for them because they are very few (only 5 in the whole book and 4 of them are used by page 90).
And if, once you're finished with this book or waiting for it to get into your hands, you want more Pratchett, I'd definitely recommend his book Lords and Ladies as well as Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman. Both of these are books I re-read often and that's saying something because I re-read very few books.