Sunday, 23 October 2005

Book Review: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Terry Pratchett)

So it was that after I'd finished Thud!, I decided to read ANOTHER Pratchett book, and at the same time, finally finish another long overdue read - The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, which I'd borrowed from Daphne a few months back but never got around to reading.

And now, as part of my Hopefully Weekly Book Review Series, here is the review!

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Title: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
Author: Terry Pratchett

Synopsis:
Imagine a million clever rats. Rats that don't run. Rats that fight...

Maurice, a scruffy tomcat with an eye for the main chance, has the perfect fiddle going. He has a stupid-looking kid for a piper, and he has his very own plague of rats - rats who are strangely educated, so Maurice can no longer think of them as 'lunch'. And everyone knows the stories about rats and pipers - and is giving him lots of money...

Until they try the trick in the far-flung town of Bad Blintz, and the nice little con suddenly goes down the drain. Someone there is playing a different tune. A dark, shadowy tune. Something very, very bad is waiting in the cellars. The rats must learn a new word. Evil.

It's not a game any more. It's definitely a rat-eat-rat world down there. In fact, that might only be the start...

What I Liked:
  • It's damn funny
  • Lots of good moments - happy ones, sad ones, funny ones, and very memorable ones
  • Very well-paced. Not too fast, not too slow either
  • The really exciting battle bits were really exciting to read
  • A talking con-cat (gee, that sounds obscene)? BRILLIANT!
  • The names of all the Rats are HILARIOUS. Sardines? Dangerous Beans? Nourishing? Hamnpork? GENIUS!
  • You can really get attached to the characters, and you want more of them.

What I Didn't Like
  • That it had to end
  • The ending WAS a little anti-climatic, IMHO
  • Am not sure if kids would actually get all that religious and socio-political stuff
My Thoughts:

This is Pratchett's first book for a younger audience, and he pulled it of quite well (considering he won an award for best kids book with this one, I'd say he did quite well with it, I must say). It's not as kiddy-friendly as his subsequent efforts, I must say, but it's got all the elements for a memorable bedtime story - great characters, good moral story, and lots of excitement.

Since I read the Tiffany Aching books before I read this, I have to say that I wasn't as impressed with Amazing Maurice as I was with the TA ones. But don't get me wrong. This is still a brilliant read - it's funny, it's well-paced, it was exciting, there were lots of nice touches, happy moments, sad moments, and after finishing it, you'll wish for more of the same.

It's one of his better-paced and well-rounded Discworld books, and it's a damn good read (I finished it in two days flat). I for one would love to read more about Dangerous Beans, Nourishing, Peaches and gang. And Maurice himself, of course.

On to the next Pratchett book! Wait. I'm out of Pratchett books. Drat.

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