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Wyrd Sisters: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett

Wyrd Sisters is one of Terry Pratchett’s earlier Discworld novels, focusing on his cast of witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick. The three, at Magrat’s prodding, have formed something of a coven, and meet every so often to do what Magrat considers are witchy things (like chanting over a cauldron).

Witches in the Discworld universe are generally solitary (except for when they are apprentices to a more experienced witch), and shirk structure, unlike the wizards at Unseen University. Overall, Pratchett’s witches tend to lead quiet lives and don’t have a designated leader.

Among them, Granny Weatherwax was “the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have.” She’s also disinclined to admit when she’s wrong, bears a grudge like a cat (although she hates cats), and has a habit for shelling peas at inopportune times. Nanny, on the other hand, has had five husbands, more children than she can count, and an inclination for getting hammered and singing inappropriate songs about hedgehogs and wizards’ staffs. Magrat, plain and unworldly, wants only to be a proper witch, with all the occult accoutrement that comes with it, whether her fellow witches like it or not.

If it weren’t for events outside of their control, Granny, Nanny, and Magrat would likely have continued along quietly, with the occasional arguments about whose turn it was to make the tea. When they find themselves unwittingly responsible for Lancre’s infant heir to the throne, Granny realizes that fate has aimed its beady eye at them. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Author: Terry Pratchett, Fantasy

 

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Wee-Views: The Ring of Solomon and The Merlin Conspiracy

The to-read pile continues to grow (and I have yet to pick up this book club’s selection, A Discovery of Witches, probably because some of the reviews make me feel slightly frightened) and I have an ever growing pile of books that need to be reviewed. So I make some headway and so I feel at least slightly accomplished, I’m writing Wee-Views of some of these books. I’m going to skip all the plot summaries (you can read those on Amazon.com or any other online book site) and cut right to my opinions. I’ll also rate these on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being exceptionally good). Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Old Kingdom Trilogy by Garth Nix

I stumbled upon The Old Kingdom Trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen) by accident one day while browsing Amazon and wondering where I would satisfy by Diana Wynne Jones yen. What I found was a bit different, but no less satisfying.

Reading these books is like jumping into the deep end of the pool feet first and hoping you’ll swim. The author doesn’t draw you in gently–you’re immediately immersed in the Old Kingdom’s alternate universe and have to patch together your knowledge of this world’s magical system. I found myself scratching my head often throughout Sabriel, the first book, wondering about the differences between Charter Magic and Free Magic, but eventually found myself slowly figuring it out as I became drawn into Nix’s world. The sequels, Lirael and Abhorsen, spell out the magical systems in more explicit detail, particularly the birth of the Old Kingdom, but Nix isn’t the type of author to lead his readers by the hand. Still, if you read carefully, the Old Kingdom Trilogy is a rich and rewarding experience. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2010 in Author: Garth Nix, Fantasy, Young Adult

 

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Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones

Year of the Griffin is the sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm, and takes place 8 years after Mr. Chesney’s tours have ended. Wizard Derk’s youngest daughter, Elda, is now at the Wizard’s University and finding her talons full of magical mayhem. The university itself is in dire financial straits. Now that the tours have stopped, along with Mr. Chesney’s payments, the university has considerably less money than it is used to, and turns to its students’ parents for aid. Unfortunately, these aren’t typical students with proud parents, and a number are on the run from their families. When the letters reach their homes, the students find themselves battling trained assassins and pirates, to say nothing of ineffable grading curves, incompetent professors, inedible refectory food, heartbreak, and renegade griffins. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones is one of my very favorite authors, so this review of Dark Lord of Derkholm (which now officially one of my favorite DWJ books) will be somewhat biased (although I haven’t loved everything I’ve read by her, but I’ve never hated anything either). What I love best about her work is her uncanny ability to transport her readers to a different, fully-realized world. Not only does she take you there, but you want to curl up and take up residence—DWJ’s stories are never truly over. Even after you turn the page, you suspect that there is much more to the story, and you want to linger there long after she’s concluded her tale. To me, that’s what separates good stories from great ones. She also populates her stories with great characters—flawed, but memorable and sympathetic. There’s no sense in having a wonderfully detailed world, if the reader hates everyone that lives there. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones

Enchanted Glass, like all of Diana Wynne Jones’ novels, concerns the collision between the ordinary and the extraordinary, life and death. In fact, the novel opens with a death—that of Jocelyn Brandon, a wizard, who leaves his home and field-of-care (set in the fictional town of Mel Tump) to his grandson, Andrew Hope. Andrew, a history professor, finds himself in the care of two tyrants—his housekeeper, Mrs. Stock, and the gardener, Mr. Stock (the two are not related). Andrew happily goes about setting up his new home, while irking his employees. He is so single-minded about his quest to write a book about history—a new view of history—that he does not attend to his property’s magical nature or the fact that someone has been leeching his magic. As Mr. and Mrs. Stock plot to force Andrew to heed his magical duty, Aidan Cain, a twelve-year-old orphan, arrives at Andrew’s doorstep on the run from mysterious (and dangerous) stalkers. Aidan’s grandmother has just died and had once instructed him to see Jocelyn should anything happen to her. With Aidan’s arrival, Andrew begins to feel stirrings in his memory of the many lessons his grandfather gave him—lessons that will prove useful in defeating the dark powers chasing Aidan and leeching off his lands. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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