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Terry Pratchett has a way with words Like the children s entertainer with the balloons, he can take a familiar phrase and with a few deft twists create some new plaything better than all the contents of your party bag To do that trick once or twice is good To sustain it throughout a whole book is remarkable To keep it fresh into the 39th volume of a series deserves a knighthood.Snuff is Sir Terry Pratchett s 50th novel That s a lot It s also the most recent foray into Discworld series, a literary phenomenon that has been ongoing for 28 years now Enough with the vital statistics though is it any good The story follows one of Discworld s best established characters, Commander Sam Vimes, out into fresh territory With wife and son on hand, Vimes experiences for the first time a holiday in the countryside The Ankh Morpork police force supply most of the characters for this tale from a well stocked inventory of favourites Lord Vetinari makes a welcome appearance at the open and close of the book, and with his hidden hand setting events in motion it can safely be assumed that Commander Vimes will not be idle in his country idyll.Along with a murder mystery we re presented with various angles on the topic of poo, an interesting introduction to the goblin race and their peculiarities, and some wide ranging social critique It s not unusual for Pratchett to hold the Discworld up as a mirror in which he can satirise everything from the iniquitous to innocuous in our own world In Snuff the critique is perhaps heavy handed, the sentiments goodhearted rather than funny We learn that oppressing minorities goblins is bad and that the class system along with the uneven distribution of wealth are neither big nor clever I know these things and would have preferred a little about how the goblins bottle a lifetime s supply of snot.The main weakness in Snuff however is simply that its hero is so familiar to us, so capable, sturdy, so grown and set into his character over many books, that the story lacks tension We know Commander Vimes will come through We don t truly believe harm will befall his family We expect the same man to walk out of the book as walked in These issues with the book on the grand scale do not however change the fact that Snuff is continuously entertaining, line by excellent line, with all Pratchett s genius on display in the small scale And his again he achieves the miracle of making you care about his creations In the midst of all the funnies he can suddenly turn on the pathos and within moments the fate of a malodorous snot bottling goblin will matter to you.Fans of the series will enjoy the romp with old Discworld friends and some feisty new additions Anyone who isn t a fan should get a hold of one of the many entry point books into this 39 novel masterwork by all means start with number 1 And unless you were born without funny bone you ll soon be roaming the Discworld with the rest of us My 4 rating is to some degree influenced by the following wind of this excellent series the added value carried from earlier books by many of these characters can t be ignored.Join my 3 emails a year newsletter Prizes FreeContent According To The Writer Of The Best Selling Crime Novel Ever To Have Been Published In The City Of Ankh Morpork, It Is A Truth Universally Acknowledged That A Policeman Taking A Holiday Would Barely Have Had Time To Open His Suitcase Before He Finds His First CorpseAnd Commander Sam Vimes Of The Ankh Morpork City Watch Is On Holiday In The Pleasant And Innocent Countryside, But Not For Him A Mere Body In The Wardrobe There Are Many, Many Bodies And An Ancient Crime Terrible Than MurderHe Is Out Of His Jurisdiction, Out Of His Depth, Out Of Bacon Sandwiches, And Occasionally Snookered And Out Of His Mind, But Never Out Of Guile Where There Is A Crime There Must Be A Finding, There Must Be A Chase And There Must Be A Punishment They Say That In The End All Sins Are ForgivenBut Not Quite All Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh Morpork City Watch and his wife Sybil take Young Sam and go on vacation to Sybil s ancestral lands in the country Fortunately for the Commander, crime soon rears its ugly head and he soon finds himself ensnared in a web of lies, smuggling, and murder Can Vimes get to the bottom of things before he finds himself at the bottom of the river known as Old Treachery I always forget how good Terry Pratchett is during the year or years between new books To the outsider, it would be easy to dismiss the Discworld books as silly fantasy novels While they are silly, the Discworld books always deal with real issues as well In this case, slavery and drugs Snuff raises questions of what it means to be sentient, human rights, and the evils of looking the other way when something bad happens Pratchett s writing reminds me of P.G Wodehouse s with each passing book I lost count of the clever lines I even noticed reference to Tombstone I don t think I m going to let you arrest me today , Deadwood, and Jane Austen.The characters are what drive the Discworld stories Good thing, because they could easily degenerate into mindless silliness otherwise Sam Vimes and his relationships with his family and the people of Ramkim were what made the story Vimes pep talks with Feenie about what it means to be a copper, his caring tolerance for his son s fascination with poo of all kinds, and his feelings toward the goblins showed why Pratchett is than just a fantasy writer.The plot itself was pretty good A goblin is murdered while Sam Vimes is on vacation and he starts pulling at threads to find out why, leading him to discover smuggling and corruption The disgusting religion of the goblins is explored and, by the end, society is changed Goblins haven t been touched upon very much in the Discworld series so far and I d say Pratchett did a great job developing them in Snuff.I can t pretend this book was perfect, though The last fifty pages dragged a bit That s about the only gripe I have, actually It s the best Discworld book in years and if Pratchett doesn t manage to write another City Watch book, it ll be a good way to end things. Enjoyed it immensely Not the best Discworld book I ve read But whinging about this not being the Best Pratchett Book Evar is sort of like complaining that the diamond ring you ve been given is only three quarters of a carat It s easily worth five stars I was often amused, occasionally teary eyed, and never bored. I reckoned that if I let them give me enough titles I d eventually get one I could live with.Samuel Vimes has lived to suffer the greatest possible indignity It is cruel, and unfair, and nobody seems to want to move a finger to help him He d tried to negotiate, and he d tried to order the men to intervene, to no avail Commander Vimes is going on holiday To the countryside For two weeks His 6 year old son instantly takes to the Shire, hell bent on enlarging his poo collection Vimes Sr however, is making enemies wherever he goes Not intentionally mind, but some things are just not done shaking the gardener s hand before that of the butler, talking to the maids, or discussing politics with the local nobs All he can do now is pray for a well placed crime to call him back to duty toot sweet , as the copper would say Soon enough, his wish is granted although he wasn t exactly expecting to be prime suspect.Luckily for our protagonist, the Shire s single policemen is in dire need of training, and thus Vimes is able to get off on a technicality But for how long This was one of the difficult novels for me, in terms of readability Having always been a relatively slow reader, I d need a good week to finish a 500 page long novel Adding Sur Pratchett s euphemistic language, trying hard to describe the obscure as obvious, did not help matters I could have taxed all kinds of things, but I have decided to tax something that you could eminently do without It s hardly addictive, is it Some people tend to think so There is a certain amount of grumbling, sir Vetinari did not look up from his paperwork Drumknott, he said Life is addictive If people complain overmuch, I think I will have to draw that fact to their attention Clearly, there is a thinly veiled threat here, distinctly emerging from the conversation but as for the nature of the offence I mean tax that is left up to the imagination of the reader Even now, after several oooh , I see and that s actually clever moments, I m not entirely certain that I got its nature right.Still I persevered, paid attention, and in the end I got an excellent treatise on kindness, legislation and the ethics of thereof Well, sir, I believe I must take you before the magistrates Vimes noted the little question mark Who is your boss, Feeney The aforesaid bench of magistrates, sir Your boss is the law, chief constable, and don t you forget it Score 3.55 5 starsOn the one hand, we have a difficult to follow writing style, several confusing euphemisms, and a story that does its best to accumulate new twists and turns on every page Not to mention, that the Carrot x Angua sandwich is hinting at angst to come, and this is the last book in the City Watch series sniff sniff On the other hand, extreme racism, law and ethics are incredibly relatable topics when it comes to the current socio political climate Decisions, decisionsIn the end, the tie breaker goes to the occasional comic relief, that ll leave you giggling for a good few minutes 4 rounded up stars it is You may be interested to know that the goblin name for Corporal Nobbs is Breaking Wind She did not appear to smile and Vimes said, Yes, very apt I ve always thought of Nobby as a draught extruder Other books featuring the Night Watch Review of the 1st book Guards Guards Review of the 2nd book Men at ArmsReview of the 3rd book Feet of ClayReview of the 4th book JingoReview of the 5th book The Fifth ElephantReview of the 6th book Night WatchReview of the 7th book Thud I m going out on a limb here and say that Sam Vimes is one of my favorite literary characters.And I don t just mean in the Discworld Terry Pratchett has created a great many wonderful players in his series, most notably Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Og.No, I m going all in Tolkien s Gandalf Harper Lee s Atticus Finch Sam Spade, Conan, Tarzan, Heinlein s Jubal Harshaw, Paul Atreides Sam Vimes is in this list Up on a literary character mountain top.Pratchett s 39th Discworld book And let s take a moment and give up some love for THIRTY NINE books in a series When Snuff was published in 2011, Sir Terry was not long for this world he would shake hands with DEATH in 2015 and maybe he was already feeling the first wintry tendrils of cold creeping in Yet he delivered another outstanding book and another one featuring this unique protagonist.Vimes demonstrates the hero that we all want to see and all want to be He s a hard working everyman who finds his wealth and station in life sometimes hard to take More at home walking a beat than in a posh setting, Vimes is a copper s copper And a loving husband, a good father and an inspirational leader to the Watch and to all of is reading He says what needs to be said, but when that does not work, he can kick ass too, and is actually a little fearful of what a badass he is.Pratchett describes how Vimes goes on a family holiday with little Sam and Lady Sybil And of course he solves crimes, gets caught up in a terrible conspiracy and works at saving the day and being a humble hero again.Meanwhile we also get to know about another Discworld race goblins Pratchett, ever the diversifying melter of the melting pot, reveals that this group of under appreciated folks have a lot of admirable qualities and deserve than they ve been given so far And Vimes is of course leading the charge for greater equality.Actually one of his serious works, this still made me smile frequently and I liked it immensely. This is my first Discworld novel and it may be my last Well, at least for a long while Previously I ve read Pratchett s Nation, which I really enjoyed This, however, just didn t do it for me It is overflowing with so much humour that I thought it was too obvious and, at times, redundant I did like the protagonist when I began reading, but towards the end I well and truly had had enough of him The protagonist is very annoyingI understand that the main crux of the character is the reason I found him frustrating He is, in essence, a workaholic There s nothing wrong with this, I m one too But, it bordered on ridiculous Perhaps that s the point I just found him a very frustrating, and quite frankly, as flat character There is nothing beyond him other than his job He is simply the commander of the city watch no matter wherever he goes or whoever he is with He goes on holiday, and he is still doing his job He finds a crime trail, after a game of fisticuffs, and follows it up No , no less Indeed, he peruses it with relentless enthusiasm that drives his wife mad But, he doesn t seem to get anywhere Well, at least for a long while The narration seems to wonder off along with the story I just wasn t sure where a lot of it was going I really struggled to get into his investigation, which I do think was because of Pratchett s writing that continuously seemed to venture away from the point Perhaps, again, that is the point of what he was doing But either way it made it really hard for me to follow the plot if this book A lot of it felt like perpetual ramblings Where is he going with this Pratchett goes on some awfully long winded tangents in the middle of his writing I found myself getting quite lost at some points, and I just couldn t see the relevance of certain points which felt, to me, like a random train of thought shoved into the writing This made it difficult for me to focus on the main plot of the story Perhaps its Pratchett s style that I don t get on with or perhaps it is this particular novel that overwhelmed me I really don t know, but the result of it is that I have no intention of picking up another book by this author in a long, long, time Suffice to say, I really didn t enjoy this book The lack of chapters also contributed to this This, of course, is only a minor thing but it did annoy me greatly I like to finish reading at the end of a chapter, and not in the middle of narrative I know this may sound silly, but I simple cannot stop reading in the middle of a length of story I had to read beyond what I normally would to find what I though was an adequate break within the story I real don t understand the authorial decision behind the lack of chapters To my mind it served no purpose, and discouraged me further Overall, this book was incredibly frustrating I didn t like aspects of Pratchett s writing or the structure of the book I do hope in the future, when I eventually pick up another Pratchett book, I don t have the same reaction because I really want to enjoy another one of his books A despondent two stars P.S If from my review you think I should try a particular Discworld book then, please, don t hesitate to recommend I did really want to enjoy this book but couldn t If there is a Discworld book you think I ll get on with, I will try it in time. I bought Snuff when it first came out in 2011, not realising then, like everyone else, that it was going to be the final City Watch book I sadly abandoned it long before the end anyway, sensing that it wasn t any good But, having recently read an excellent Discworld short story reminding me of my love for Terry Pratchett, as well as seasonal nostalgia new Discworld books used to be cannily published during the Christmas season , I decided to give Snuff another shot and this time force myself through At the very least I ll be completing the City Watch series Well, my initial impression of the novel was right Snuff ain t up to snuff Despite his protests, Commander Sam Vimes is forced to take a vacation His beloved wife, Lady Sybil Ramkin, drags him and their son, young Sam, to the Ramkin Estate in the countryside for a well earned family break But crime doesn t take a holiday and soon the Discworld s finest policeman is on the trail of a goblin murderer and, in the process, uncovers a vast and unsavoury conspiracy that goes all the way to the top One thing that bothered me when I first tried reading Snuff six years ago was how extremely verbose and cumbersome Pratchett s writing style had become It takes well over 100 pages for anything to happen Up til then all that had was Vimes and his family had left Ankh Morpork and gone to the countryside It takes even longer for the plot to emerge and when it did it was cliched and underwhelming I hated everything about the goblins They re basically a race of depressingly put upon victims, which is as fun to read as it sounds, an unending stream of one dimensional characters who re just there to be repeatedly fucked with and stoke Vimes righteous indignation The goblins culture was boring, everything about them was ridiculously sentimental and cloying, and they were just annoying as a whole Then again, all the new characters in Snuff were rubbish The hapless country copper Feeney was pointless and tiresome, Miss Beedle, the writer, added nothing to the proceedings, while every rich person was portrayed as a gormless twit There s a half hearted attempt at a Pride Prejudice parody that fell flat The villain, Stratford, is somehow even one dimensional than even the goblins there s another baddie literally called Captain Murderer , which shows you how little imagination and effort Pratchett put into these characters , but that on the nose kind of name should ve applied to Stratford He may as well have been called Mr I m A Bad Dude because he s that much of a caricature He does evil shit because he s an evil shit What I realised was that Pratchett really struggles, at least in this book, with the traditional mechanics of storytelling like a plot Because where the book feels like a chore to read are the plot heavy parts when he has to move things along, particularly the riverboat action sequence, which was utterly dull, and the absurdly talky fight scenes I also continued to not care about Vimes family like the infallible Sybil, who s drearily always right, and his irritating son, young Sam I really disliked in general how cutesy and safe Discworld got towards the end oh man, FUCK the Tiffany Aching YA books, fuck them all to hell , and the stuff with Vimes and young Sam were far too ball achingly saccharine for my taste And SO unfunny young Sam thinks poo is hilarious, repeat 12 million times, har de har har Technically Snuff is a City Watch book but it s basically all about Vimes Carrot, Angua, Nobby et al are given a handful of token pages and there s a completely half arsed subplot involving Colon and a goblin pot that s totally irrelevant Fred s in a coma and could die Oh, never mind, it resolved itself off page Well, why bother to start with then That said, there s a reason why Vimes gets all the focus he s one of Pratchett s finest creations The character holds a special place in my heart having seen him transform over the years from the opening pages of Guards Guards when we first met him as a down and out drunk waking up in the gutters of Ankh Morpork to the sober Duke he is now, having brought up the City Watch with him along the way It says a lot about how fully realised and compelling a character he is that the best parts of Snuff are simply Vimes riffing on whatever And there are definitely parts of the book I enjoyed Despite coming across as someone far too deeply in love with his own voice, Pratchett s still very witty and he s in his element when he isn t concerning himself with the plot and meandering off somewhere else instead Vimes conversing with his manservant Willikins was often entertaining than anything else going on, and, though Pratchett eschewed the tradition of having Death cameo in every Discworld book here, he still included a scene at the end between Vimes and Vetinari verbally jousting one last time, which was pure pleasure for me think those cliched cop movie scenes between the police chief and the loose cannon but far clever I will dearly miss those scenes, especially as Pratchett wrote the Patrician so, so beautifully with that perfect balance between lethally understated menace, benevolent power and razor sharp intelligence manifested in one remarkably unique mysterious and Machiavellian figure Sadly, Snuff is a weak last bow for Vimes and the City Watch to go out on which is a shame given how brilliant the earlier books were Perhaps it s appropriate that poo should feature so much in this one as the quality is disappointingly shit While I m glad to have finished off this series, it s a forgettable final adventure for Vimes that s not very funny, tediously overlong, and largely unentertaining snot enuff for this Discworld fan 4 Favourite Read of 2012Little crimes breed big crimes You smile at little crimes and then big crimes blow your head offThere was a PC game released back when a PC was still a relevant piece of computing technology going by the name of Discworld Noir, I only played it a little while before my machine gave up the ghost but I suspect that even a Discworld title called noir was not as dark at its heart as this novel.There s still an awful lot of humour to contend with but Sam Vimes is up against a darkness blacker than he s ever experienced before, both in terms of the case he stumbles upon on his vacation and the internal struggle of a good man trying not to do bad things The fact that he is a famous detective only serves to highlight the noir qualities at handsmoke twisting amongst the lights and turning the air a desolate blue, the colour of dead hopes and lost chancesI shall not tell you the plot, it s filled with bad things happening to mostly good people and Sam Vimes does what he does best with an ensemble cast that grows by the minute Young Sam is a growing boy and an essential part of any Sam Vimes story these days as is Lady Vimes of course and he meets his literary heroine in Miss Felicity Beedle whose book The World of Poo is now available for you and I to purchase Goblins are the newest race of creature to be introduced to the Disc and provide a few new entertaining characters who I m sure we ll be meeting again soon.My favourite however has to be Wilikins, the gentleman s gentleman, if ironing a shirt was a competition he d no doubt ensure he won even if it required him to get up the previous morning and break the other participants fingers one by one He s such a great character echoing the brilliant Kyril Bonfiglioli creation Jockstrap, that I think he deserves his own book, perhaps in the style of the Vimes in his youth story Night Watch This is the best and most enjoyable Discworld book in quite some time, I think perhaps you have to go back to Thud before you come across anything quite like it in terms of completeness of vision, storytelling and literary heart, I don t think it s a coincidence that it too was a Sam Vimes book I said it about Nation and the same is true here, if this book had been written by somebody else, not synonymous with the fantasy genre, awards would be raining down upon the author Infact Pratchett has committed a double sin in writing in two of those dirty genres at the same time, crime and fantasy are not considered good sources of intelligent writing and I ll be the first to admit that both genres are filled with absolute acres of shit that you must wade through to find the real gems, but like the greats that have come before him people like Georges Simenon, Jim Thompson and David Goodis on their good days he is ignored as a talented writer of literature that dissects what it means to be human.A triumph of a novel and a return to form after the disappointment of Unseen Academicals. Okay it s Pratchett, so the fact that it s good is a given.And yet I think Pratchett has overmined the seam of oppressed species shows that they are as human as you or I.And I thought so when I read Unseen Academicals so to see him retread this ground again is a little disappointing There is also some very clunky writing and a lot of characterization that seems very at odds with previous books I found it hard not to read without thinking constantly about Pratchett s illness and wondering how much it was effecting his writing.None of this is to say that Snuff was anything but an enjoyable read and if the best of Discworld has already been written I m still happy to read the lesser additions.