Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Book 9 of 2012: The Last Hero

Once again, I've skipped a book. Book 8 of 2012 is another of the book tree books, so I'll recap and review that once the 'tree' has finished so as not to spoil the surprse for anyone who is going to be reading it in the next few months.
Book 9 was the 27th in the series of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books: The Last Hero. I did get a copy of this signed when I met Terry Pratchett many years ago. The copy I read this time around actually has a few more pictures in it than the previous copy I'd seen.
"The place where the story happened was a world on the back of four elephants perched on the shell of a giant turtle. That's the advantage of space. It's big enough to hold practically anything, and so, eventually, it does."
Page 5
Although I'd flicked through it before to look at the pictures, I've never actually sat and read it before. I'd actually hoped to read it sooner in the month, but the one thing that goes against it is that it's hardly a portable book. I couldn't fit it in my bag, so I couldn't take it to work to read in my breaks.

Then again, it wouldn't be anywhere near as beautiful in a small copy and it did make for a brilliantly quick read. I started reading it in the afternoon on a Saturday and finished it the following morning. I probably would have finished it sooner if it was just a straightforward short story/novella, but the pictures need to be looked at.

"'It killed Old Vincent the Ripper,' said Boy Willie. 'He choked to death on a concubine.
There was no sound but the hiss of snow in the fire and a number of people thinking fast.
'I think you mean cucumber,' said the bard."
Page 55
I honestly wish that every Discworld book could be illustrated in this way. Paul Kidby does a fantastic job of capturing the images of Discworld. They are so detailed and almost realistic. There are a couple that I would love to get framed and pin up because they are just that good, I'd love to look at them all the time.

I mean, seriously:
"'We ought to release the fire boats first, sir,' said Carrot.
'Silly me, yes,' said Leonard. 'I'd forget my own head if it wasn't held on with bones and skin and things!"
Page 99
I also love the little parodies of space travel. It's the classic Discworld sense of humour which I love. There were so many quotes that it made it really hard (once again) to pick just a handful of favourites. Thankfully it was shorter than most of the stories, so I didn't have quite as much choice.
"On the Kite, the situation was being 'workshopped'. This is the means by which people who don't know anything get together to pool their ignorance."
Page 122
The main story is of course the story of the band of heroes (who are all rather elderly, but they don't see why that should be a problem) who are planning to 'return' the fire to the gods, but there's also the substory of Vetinari's plan to stop it happening which involves a foray into space travel. It's the perfect story for illustration, as much as I wish that all of the series could be illustrated (I know, it would cost a fortune to do them all) it needs to give the illustrator plenty of material to work with and a longer book would probably offer a bit too much.
"'Poor chap. It's affecting his mind,' Carrot leaned forward. 'We ought to get him home as soon as possible. What's the usual direction? "second star to the left and straight on 'til morning"?'
'I think that may very probably be the stupidest piece of astronavigation ever suggested,' said Rincewind."
Page 173

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