Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Review - Unseen Academicals

I've long been a fan of Pratchett's books. As such, I was rather surprised when I stopped by the bookstore and realized Unseen Academicals had been released and I'd missed it.

In general, I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about this one. If you're familiar with Pratchett's works, you'll know that many of his stories recycle characters and tend to fit into sub series within Discworld; There's several books that feature the Watch, the Witches, Death's "family" and more.

UA fit in the Wizards series. I rather like the Wizards. They're the main focus in the Science of Discworld series. And Rincewind is in their lot. I like him too.

But the premise for this one seemed... off. The Unseen University faculty was supposed to reform football (soccer to us Americans). Ankh-Morpork's resident Tyrant, Ventari, has had several characters reform various bits of the city in past books (deWorde fixed the newspapers in The Truth mocking Hurst, and Moist von Lipwig fixed the postal and banking system in Going Postal and Making Money respectively). Sadly, this "Ventari says go fix this" plot is getting rather worn I think.

Additionally, requiring the Wizards to refrain from using magic to recreate football took away, well.... their magic. Perhaps I just don't care enough about sports to get it.

Anyway, the other plot that got tied in was that of Mr. Nutt, a goblin hiding a supposedly terrible secret. I won't say what it is, but the secret fell rather flat and seemed to be poorly delivered. Regardless, Nutt was a very likable character and I hope he shows up in future books.

There was another subplot of "Jools" becoming a Dwarven fashion model, but it seemed so scarcely touched, I think it would have been better to leave out all together.

I wouldn't say it was his worst book, but certainly not one of the better ones. If you're not a serious Pratchett fan and don't get soccer/football, you may just want to skip this one.

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