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Pratchetts latest book fails to the reach truly dizzying heights he has been capable of.
As it stands it has to settle for merely being very good. Stephen Briggs is as brilliant as
always and certainly does his bit to ensure that the audio version compares well - or
perhaps even surpasses - the written work.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Have you read "Asterix and the Falling Sky"? Uderzo's drawings of Asterix and his friends are some of the best, but the story reaches a new low point. I am not sure if this is really the case with "Unseen Academicals" but it is really not one of Pratchett's best. There are individual episodes of brilliance in the book. You are also left with the feeling that this is supposed to be (partly al least) THE parody on the Harry Potter-series. Yet, it felt if the storyline lacked some of the Pratchett brilliance I have come to know and love.
Stephen Briggs, almost like always, does a superb job in the reading of the book. I think he brings the game of foot-the-ball sufficiently to life. If I have to choose between reading the book or listening to his interpretation, I would prefer his interpretative reading by far.
Like "Asterix and the Falling Sky" this book is definitely a must for Discworld die-hard fans. You are also guaranteed a chuckle or two, if you are not so familiar with the Discworld, but I have read and listened to better from Prachett's pen. Maybe, the Unseen University and its staff have become a just too familiar place and set of characters in the Discworld.
"I can't be doing with fantasy," said my dear 70 year old neighbour, shuddering with well-bred distaste at my suggestion that he'd enjoy Pratchett. But once I had nailed his ear to the MP3 he was soon as full of praise and awe as I am. And saw what is there under the delightful and funny surface.
WHy oh why are Pratchett's novels called "fantasy"? They are far more about our own down-to-earth Earth than most books that purport to hold a mirror up to nature. Of course this story is about football and is very funny indeed - but it is also about... friendship, racism, the nature of love, bullying, courage,the best kind of politics, the desperate need to find self-worth, pies...
Terry Pratchett just gets better and better. This novel is on a par with Night Watch and Going Postal. I can't praise them enough for their un-po-faced sharing of wisdom and optimism.
30 of 31 people found this review helpful
This story has grown on me -and though at first I thought it wasn't one of Pratchett's best, it improves on repeat listening and reading! Stephen Briggs is just one of the best readers EVER. He has very clear, distinct voices, so you know who is speaking. Even better than that, he has obviously thought really hard about conveying the personality of each character through their voice. He's terrific and really performs with energy and delight. This and Going Postal are probably my favourite Pratchetts read by Briggs. I wish he'd re-record the earlier Nigel Planer ones, which are ok, but he has a tendency to do about a quarter of his characters as thick sounding when it really isn't in character. Good fun
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Terry Pratchett brings to life another lineup of spectacular characters who inhabit a fascinating story. Well worth the read!
A typically Pratchett perspective on something blends the mundane (watching foot-the-ball is not for me) into something mythical. Stephen Briggs' narration is, as always, spot on.