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I have pictured Sir Terry Prachett very much in the same stage of his career as Albert Uderzo after his previous two discworld novels. It seemed that some of the puns got better, but the storyline shoddier. It is with pleasure that I can announce that I am COMPLETELY WRONG!
Moist von Lipwig - the rascal from ‘Going Postal’ and ‘Making Money’ is back… with a HUF and a PUFF! In ‘Raising Steam’ Lord Vetinari - the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork - calls in the help of the scoundrel of scoundrels to work miracles thus ensuring that the new invention - the steam locomotive - becomes the new buzz around the Discworld.
For die-hard Discworld fans, the basic story is very much the same as that of “The Truth.” A new invention comes along, there is a threat to the invention, the obstacle is eliminated and everybody lives happily ever after with the invention changing the city or the Discworld. (With Überwald in the picture, you might say that it is “The Truth” but bitten by a black ribbon vampire.)
In this story you will meet the dear sir Harry King the king of pooh (without an ‘h’) leaving his toilet humour behind and becoming a Railway Baron. Obviously the blackboard monitor, commander of the watch, Sir Samuel Vimes has to use his talents for getting the criminals to talk. But the biggest difference is that this time Ankh-Morpork’s bureaucracy are not the enemy. It is throwing in its weight behind the steam kettle and getting its hands dirty.
In the end the Discworld has once again changed… but is it for the better?
What I like about this book is the way Terry Prachett’s uses the ‘lore’ of the Discworld to create a fun-filled adventure. He brings together a lot of Discworld strains. However, if you have never read (or listened to) any Discworld novels, you will still be able to enjoy it.
Stephen Briggs - as always - performs the story terrifically. (This is definitely more than just reciting a book aloud.) Once again he brings the Discworld and its people to life.
For those who love the Discworld, especially when Sir Terry Pratchett is at his best, this book is a return to the good old ways (but with a new jacket). It is so good I think it will make an excellent gift to someone dear to you. If you are a new comer to the Discworld you could start here and later enjoy the rest. It comes highly recommended.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Visiting the Discworld and its denizens is always a treat. Stephen Briggs paint wonderful pictures with his voice by giving every character a unique dialect or accent. I enjoyed this rendition so much that I have listened to it at least 10 times.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
If you're thinking of reading this book, you're almost certainly already a Terry Pratchett fan. (If you're not, don't even think of starting with this one - start with "Guards! Guards!", "Going Postal" or "Mort").
Raising Steam is a crossover of the Watch Sequence (Guards Guards, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay etc) and the Industrial Revolution Sequence (Moving Pictures, Going Postal, Making Money). Whilst most of the watch have only cameo roles, the book is closely tied to recent events in the Discworld, so don't skip ahead if you haven't read The Fifth Elephant, Thud!, and Making Money.
I felt the book didn't have the roller-coaster-to-the-end feel of the better Discworld novels. I'm not giving any of the plot away to say that the story builds towards a train journey from Ankh-Morpork to Uberveld against Dwarvish Grag opposition. This journey takes up a fairly long portion of the book, and just isn't that exciting. Amidst the ineffective Grag attacks it is interrupted by fairly pointless and anvilicious scenes with Gnome cobblers and child saboteurs. The end of the journey, when it eventually chugs into sight, brings no surprises. It's more disappointing than exciting to have dramatic revelations of details that have already been heavily foreshadowed.
This isn't a bad book, it just has nothing new or special to recommend it above the other Discworld novels. If you've got several unread Pratchetts and are trying to decide which one to enjoy next, go for a different one. If you've read everything Discworld has to offer, and are wondering whether to continue, it's a good listen. In particular it moves the Discworld technology and race-relations forward, so Raising Steam will be necessary to make sense of future books.
The novel contains cameos from the Wizards, most of the Watch, the reporters, and of course, Death.
I miss Nigel Planer as the voice of Discworld, but Stephen Briggs has read all of the more recent Discworld books and does a splendid job.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
To begin, I should admit I'm an enormous fan of all of Sir Terry's work and in particular the Discworld novels. That said, this is amongst the best. The Discworld franchise has gone from strength to strength with the last fifteen or so novels in particularly raising the game substantially. 'Raising Steam' is like a Pratchett bumper-pack filled with an astonishing array of fan-favourite characters, yet it doesn't feel as though they've been forced in for the sake of fan approval. The novel flows beautifully and is extremely fast-paced, perhaps even more so than ever before.
Amongst other things we're treated to another Lipwig 'how is he going to get out of this one?' moment with as satisfying solution as the one in 'Going Postal' as well as a good dose of classic Sam Vimes. There are also some fresh characters to meet too!
Stephen Briggs' performance is, as ever, flawlessly engaging and entertaining.
Really, I don't want to give too much away. So suffice to say that Discworld fans will not be disappointed, though those who are new to the franchise should probably read/listen to some of the earlier novels first as the experience of 'Raising Steam' is greatly enriched if you're already familiar with the Ankh-Morpork movers and shakers.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful
Well voiced rendition of an excellent pratchett book. highly recommended for those who like great comedy
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
As usual, I love reading/listening to Terry Pratchett. As someone who is a Railway worker, I believe he got the comraderie, the terror and the euphoria when something actually goes right. Stephen Briggs does an amazing rendition of the book, bringing the characters to life.