Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review: The Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett

The Hogfather, by Terry PratchettThe Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett, was the first of the Discworld novels that I read. It was this book that fused me (seemingly irreversibly) to the character of Death and his granddaughter, Susan. The Hogfather made me fall head-over-heels in love with the Discworld and with Terry Pratchett's always humorous and sometimes poignant characters.

I'm far from having read all of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, but I have read several of his books. Re-reading The Hogfather this past Christmas (2009) made it very clear to me that beginning with this book was a mistake: I missed a great deal of the humor and "tone" of the Discworld novels. That being said, it is also one of my favorites among Pratchett's Discworld series. So much so, in fact, that I try to read it every November/December!

The Hogfather impressed me largely because at the time that I first read this book, I was a lover of horror fiction (and only horror fiction). As a child I devoured Stephen King novels (and had them confiscated by well-meaning teachers) and for this reason I developed a deep and abiding passion for anything that genuinely scared me.

In several places The Hogfather literally made me shiver. The book is laced throughout with philosophical truths that make the reader want to look more deeply into the history of religious culture throughout the world (but particularly in Europe).

The Hogfather explores several different and varied concepts of belief and the way that belief functions. The book is philosophical, often (very) frightening, and as always with Pratchett, incredibly entertaining.

In this book you will be reintroduced to such characters as Susan (Death's Granddaughter), Death, and the Wizards of the Unseen University. You will get to know Teatime, a frightening member of the Assassin's Guild (with a capital A thank you very much!). You will meet the "oh god" of hangovers and the verruca gnome.

The Hogfather will take you on a journey literally to the ends of the Discworld as Susan struggles to save The Hogfather (the Discworld's version of Father Christmas) from an "untimely" end at the hands of a band of assassins. You will be enchanted, entertained, and pulled through an intellectual and philosophical obstacle course.

Discworld purists have heard (and read) all of this before. Those who are new to the Discworld will enjoy this book, but may miss some of the "inside" jokes or references to other characters.

In my opinion, The Hogfather is one of Pratchett's best!

You can get your copy of The Hogfather on Amazon.

The Hogfather, by Terry Pratchet: 4 Star Reviewed and Rated

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