The Thirty Day Book Challenge: Day Eleven

“Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.”

Terry Pratchett

All right, I missed a day. I’m sorry. So now it will be a Thirty-One Day Book Challenge.

Day Eleven: A Book You Hated

One of the very, very few books I’ve actively hated recently is in fact Terry Pratchett’s I Shall Wear Midnight, which was, in my opinion, the most complete and utter debacle ever to hit Discworld-land.

Please bear in mind that I am writing as a devoted fan of Sir Terry’s: I have a whole bookshelf at the Book Repository devoted to Discworld and Assorted Works, I own the films on DVD, I am ridiculously excited for the upcoming adaptation of Unseen Academicals and I always rush out and buy the latest Discworld novel literally as soon as I hear about it.

But, somehow, all that just makes the travesty that was I Shall Wear Midnight worse.

I Shall Wear Midnight is the last book in the Tiffany Aching YA mini-series, in which an ancient witch-hating spirit spreads ill-feeling among the towns of the Disc.

In Pratchett’s hands this could have been visionary. Instead, it was disjointed, oddly mispaced, with amazingly clunky dialogue and general unfunny-ness. I have literally never been so disappointed by a book before. Yes, we meet favourite characters from other novels – I’m mainly thinking of the awesome Captain Carrot here, oh, and Esk as well – but, and here’s the crucial point, they don’t sound like themselves. This is Carrot? Really? I don’t think I would have recognised him if it hadn’t been waved in my face.

But the Discworld juggernaut rolls on, so it really doesn’t matter what I think. With that kind of fanbase, people are still going to buy his books. I’m still going to buy his books, come to that. Who needs marketing when you’ve got fifty really good books at your back?

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