Hello wonderful people! How are your reading going? It seems like I am back on track and I am really looking forward to May, because with Wyrd and Wonder I am looking forward to a lot of fantasy books! And to start big today I am here to talk about a book that I have read in April and that I have loved. It was a re-reading, but I read it for the first time a lifetime ago, so it was almost like reading it for the first time. And it’s a Pratchett book, and his books have this peculiar thing for which you can re-read them all the times you want, and it would always be like the first time because they all are so rich, full of different levels of reading and interpretations that it’s never enough! But it’s really hard to talk about them because how can you enclose so much in a simple review??? But I am feeling brave, so I would try it out and see what it would come out of it! Are you ready?
Me nope, I’m scared!
Title: Feet of Clay
Author: Terry Pratchett
Series: Discworld #19; City Watch #3
‘Sorry?’ said Carrot. If it’s just a thing, how can it commit murder? A sword is a thing’ – he drew his own sword; it made an almost silken sound – ‘and of course you can’t blame a sword if someone thrust it at you, sir.’
For members of the City Watch, life consists of troubling times, linked together by periods of torpid inactivity. Now is one such troubling time. People are being murdered, but there’s no trace of anything alive having been at the crime scene. Is there ever a circumstance in which you can blame the weapon not the murderer? Such philosophical questions are not the usual domain of the city’s police, but they’re going to have to start learning fast..
As I was saying before, writing a review for a Pratchett book is all but easy. You can find so much in those books: characters, worlds, brilliant thoughts, and amazing quotable sentences that are humorous, witty, pure genius and real 100%. And something more. So how can you make justice to something like that? Well, that’s easy… you can’t. But you can try because the reading was an amazing adventure. It was all you can ask from a book and more. So you just have to try because you have to share it with the other bookworms, you have to!
Once upon a time my favorite series inside the series of Discworld was the one about Death, but growing older
no comment here, please! and no snickering! my reading tastes changed (I haven’t understood yet if they changed a lot or just a little bit, but that’s not the point) and now my favorite series is the one about the City Watch. It’s not that I don’t like Death’s one, I enjoy it and I think it’s brilliant as ever, but this one about the City Watch is more dear to my heart. I feel like you can find everything in the books of this series, and I am really meaning anything:
- a fantasy novel? ✅
- a mystery novel? ✅
- a satirical novel? ✅
- a cultural and sociological essay? ✅
- thoughts on the literature? ✅
- plot twists? ✅
- a compelling story? ✅
- amazing and realistic characters? ✅
- really good worldbuilding? ✅
- witty dialogues? ✅
- adorable English humor? ✅
- surprisingly witty and amazing quotable sentences? ✅
- feelings? ✅
I think you get the gist, right? Isn’t it a lot to have in just one tiny book? And yet Pratchett delivered it to us, and he did it again and again. I am often grateful to the authors because they make us readers feeling things, live a million of different lives, dream a million dreams and thought a million of different thoughts. And the most amazing things is that some of them, the one we love the most, offer us different perspectives on things, news point of views, new worlds for us to explore and inhabit for a bit, and new friends. It’s like magic, only better, isn’t it? And Pratchett is the king, in this respect. He’s always great delivering us all of those amazing things, but he’s at his best with the City Watch series.
And do you know which one is the best part? No? Well… me neither. I can’t just choose what was best in this book. We have the best characters ever: Vimes and Lord Vetinari are two of my favorite characters evereverever, and here we have just so many scenes with them, in which both of them are at their most unadulterated self, so much so that it was almost painful (and I know it sounds strange and ominous but… it’s the best I can do, sorry!). And then we have Carrot, Detritus, Angua, Nobby and so many others!
And here is Vimes for you all:
Vimes sighed. He was an honest man. He’d always felt that was one of the bigger defects in his personality.
I found this sentence, in his brevity, to summ it up perfectly Vimes as a character, and as a person, because you cannot consider him just someone from a book. Once you have learned to know him, you would think about him as a friend.
And I have a couple of things more to say about the characters here, so bear with me for a moment more:
1) Vimes and Vetinari relationship is the most Machiavellian and sweet (yep, at the same time, and yep, it seems like such a thing is possible) relationship ever. Those two together are cute, in a sense. And I think that one of them simply cannot exist without the other:
“May I make an observation, my lord?”
“Of course you may”, said Vetinari, watching Vimes walking thorugh the palace gates.
“The thought occurs, sir, that if Commander Vimes did not exist you would have had to invent him.”
“You know, Drumknott, I rather think I did.”
2) Pratchett’s characters are the archetype of all the characters we find in novels. Vimes is the policemen/detective “ancestor” of all the detective we can find in thriller and mystery books, for example. Carrot is the “ancestor” of all the heroes with the shiny armor and the feeling of what is right and what is good in this world. Vetinari is the “ancestor” of a long series of shady characters who keep the reins of their little kingdom in all kind of different books. And so on, so on. I know it’s not right or possible, but they all have a sort of “archetypical” quality to them that you just have to take into account. And I loved it!
And then we have the story. I won’t say much about it, because I want you to discover it for yourselves, but I can say that it’s a fantasy book, no doubt about it, but it’s also a great mystery novel. We have a mystery involving golem (and how cool is that? Golem!) and Vetinari’s attempted murder, so our good people of the City Watch have their hands quite full. And we follow them with their investigations, and we have also a lot going on in the personal life of our characters: we have Angua’s matter of the heart, Cheery’s problems with identity, Nobby’s new revelations about his family and so on. So, you see, we really have a lot going on. And even if I won’t say that this book is fast-paced, I will say that it’s not slow-paced. It has just the right rhythm to it.
But that’s not all. I promise I’ll try to be brief here, so bear with me for a little while. Fantasy and mystery story aside, we have also an acute reflection (or, better more than one… a lot!) on life, human nature, and literature, all strung together. I loved his insights because they are brilliant. Nope, sorry, they are pure unadulterated genius! And I loved, maybe even more, that he shows us as human nature, philosophy, literature, sociology and all that are, in the end, interconnected because, in the end, it’s all deeply human. I hope this quote would show better what I am trying to say here (and I have to warn you… you would recognize a jab to a really dear character but you would smile or laugh
I laughed out loud. And I was on a train… nonetheless):
Samuel Vimes dreamed about Clues.
He had a jaundiced view of Clues. He instinctively distrusted them. They got in the way.
And he distrusted the kind of person who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, “Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times”, and then unroll a lot of superlicious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen and in fact got sea-sick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!
The real world was far too real to leave neat little hints. It was full of too many things. It wasn’t by eliminating the impossible that you got at the truth, however improbable; it was by the much harder process of eliminating the possibilities.
My poor copy of this book is full of stickers to mark the pages and underlines with amazing thoughts and sentences so I could go on and quote bits of this amazing book for quite some times, but I think I can stop here, at least for now!
I hope to have done a decent job with this review because I really want to shout out loud for all to hear how amazing was this book!
Have you read this book? Or others in the same series? Do you know Terry Pratchett? Let me know!