Terry Pratchett, PYRAMIDS.
Picked it up on the spur of the moment at lunch yesterday, finished during lunch today. The opening is a boys’-own-adventure sequence that reads like Harry Potter Done Right(er), and the first half of the book stands with the best of Pratchett that I’ve read — you can tell Pratchett was enjoying the change of scenery.
But the apocalyptic finale feels an awful lot like the last 100ish pages of nearly every Pratchett novel I’ve read: basically the end of Return of the Jedi played for marvelous comedy. I loved it, like any sane person, but I’m reminded that, as with Wodehouse, once Pratchett’s plotwheels are in motion it’s all about comic energy and character. (This isn’t true of Reaper Man, in which the climax of the Death storyline is its most memorable part. Though on the other hand, I couldn’t tell you even now how the Windle Poons story ends…)
Thus far, most of the Discworld books I’ve read (this is the sixth in the last few months, the ninth(!) overall) have been perfectly formed. Unlike the Pythonesque Hitchhiker’s Guide books, which end with odd anticlimaxes, Pratchett’s novels never fail to do the reqwyrt, narratologically speaking. They’re structured like proper pulp stories. But I see what other readers warned me about: it’s important to break up your Discworld reading with other books, or the rhythms can start to seem too familiar.
Still, I got what I always get from Pratchett’s writing: a clever bit of plot, a bunch of belly laughs, characters I found myself falling in love with, and unexpected tears (which at this point aren’t so unexpected). As always, I’m so grateful for these books.