Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Book 41 of 2014: Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett

When I went away to my cousin's wedding I picked two paperbacks to take away with me. Knowing that I was going away for a wedding, would be travelling back overnight (so reading on that leg of the journey would be unlikely) and would have my Kindle with me, should I need any more reading material.

Well, the two books I took were Johnny and the Dead (the second in Terry Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell series) and Johnny and the Bomb. Being the genius that I am, I read them out of order, meaning I came to Johnny and the Dead after I'd read the book after it. That's just the way I roll sometimes.

This book sees our hero, Johnny Maxwell, learn that the local cemetery is going to be dug up to make room for office blocks. Unfortunately for Johnny, while walking through the graveyard one day, he discovers that the deceased are not pleased to learn that eternal rest does not mean eternal at all. And they want his help to stop that from happening!

I managed to get through this one a lot quicker than the previous (or technically, next) one. I think that not having to travel four hundred miles probably had something to do with it. I managed to get through it in about three sittings. It's almost short enough to read in one day (if it was a Saturday and you were having a nice long book bath in the middle of the afternoon).

This one is a classic Terry Pratchett in terms of the humour. There were lots of funny bits which I couldn't help but laugh out loud at and occasionally share with Mr Click. I'm quite glad I didn't read this one while I was travelling because I doubt whether my fellow travellers would be interested in what I was reading. Though I have to admit, if I was on a bus and a random person started reading extracts of a Terry Pratchett book, I would quite enjoy it.

The amount of quotable material in this book meant that it was hard to narrow down the ones I wanted to copy into my book journal. There was also the classic Terry Pratchett quote problem which is where the joke or funny bit builds up over a page or more. You might be laugh on page 31 but the reason you're laughing is because of something that's been going on since page 29!

I don't really feel like I missed out on anything by reading this series out of order. The one thing that I did miss was the introduction of Mrs Tachyon, who is a major player in the third and final book of the series. It was a bit of a brief mention though so I don't think that spoiled my enjoyment of either the second or third book.

I was expecting to see Kirsty in this book though, and she doesn't make an appearance. This surprised me because she played such a big part in the first one that I just assumed she would crop up here. I did kind of miss her because I liked her character and the way she and Johnny interacted.

I wish there were more books in this series because three is just too short. I'd definitely recommend them to anyone wanting to get a handle on Terry Pratchett's writing style, or perhaps younger readers who aren't ready for the Discworld books yet.

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