Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Published in 1989
Awards: 1989 BSFA winner
Challenges: Pick and Mix
Rating: 8/10

My daughter is only three months old and she's already read her first Discworld novel...or at least listened to it. We decided last month that we wanted to create a family tradition of reading out loud before bedtime and, not wanting to have this hanging out there as something we wanted to do but might never start, we decided to start early. This way she won't ever remember a time when there wasn't bedtime reading. She loves it as far as we can tell. She spends time smiling at whichever parent isn't reading and then falls asleep toward the end. So this book has been read 10 pages at a time, night after night, which required patience when we wanted to keep reading but needed badly to go to bed.

Pyramids is the 7th book in Terry Pratchett's fantastically popular Discworld series, though the numbering is mostly arbitrary since this book is a standalone that requires no prior knowledge of Discworld or its stories. It follows the adventures of Teppic or, as the high priest Dios repeatedly recites, "His Greatness the King Pteppicymon XXVIII, Lord of the Heavens, Charioteer of the Wagon of the Sun, Steersman of the Barque of the Sun, Guardian of the Secret Knowledge, Lord of the Horizon, Keeper of the Way, the Flail of Mercy, the High Born One, the Never Dying King" who is called back from his training as an assassin in Ankh-Morpork to rule Djelibeybi. Along the way we meet the many contradictory gods of Djelibeybi, all of Teppic's ancestors, and the greatest mathematician on the disc, You Bastard, a camel.

Pratchett has a flair for puns both immediate and extended. He jokes about philosophy, modern society's fascination with ancient Egypt, religion, and sexism, all with such levity that it's hard to disagree that all of these things are to some degree absurd.

The entire book was hilarious. I can't wait to read the next Discworld novel. General consensus is that they only get better from here and, I'm sure, when she's old enough, I'll get to read this one again when my daughter can actually understand it.

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