Friday, September 25, 1998

Review: "The Last Continent" by Terry Pratchett

I'm not sure if perhaps I'm getting a little bored with Pratchett, or if it was the malaise I was in when I was trying to read this book, but whatever the reason, I just didn't enjoy it as much as I usually enjoy Pratchett.

I'd been anticipating the return of Rincewind, one of my favorites, for a long time, and maybe I was expecting a little too much.

In this volume, Rincewind finds himself stranded on a continent much like our own Australia (Despite Pratchett's protests to the contrary, it is based on the land down under). It's pretty much a standard "goofy character dealing with strange people and customs" story after that.

Sure, I had a chuckle here and there, but for the most part, the humor in this book seemed a little silly. I know, I know, Terry Pratchett has always been a little silly, but in a good way. This book is silly in a Jerry Lewis kind of way, and that's not so good.

I'm ready for Pratchett to write something that makes me laugh like "Guards, Guards" or "Reaper Man" or "Sourcery" or countless others, but with the exception of the holiday novel "Hogfather," which I loved, his recent efforts have been pretty disappointing. Overall, I think this is probably the weakest volume of the Discworld series so far. Hardcore fans will love it, but those with only a passing interest in Pratchett should probably pick up one of his older books instead.

Tuesday, September 22, 1998

Review: "Bag of Bones" by Stephen King

I have a love/hate relationship with Stephen King. Either I really like his work, or I really hate it. While I count books like It, The Stand and the Dark Tower series among some of my favorites, others like Cujo and Christine hold no interest at all for me.

Bag of Bones thankfully falls into the former category. It's a bit of a new direction for King. While it's a dark piece with plenty of ghosts, the supernatural element really doesn't take center stage until the very end of the book. Until that point it's basically the story of a writer trying to find himself after his wife's death, and his attempt to help a young girl and her child.

Instead of harrassing his characters with the supernatural around every corner, King shows us that the ghosts are not always the real monsters.

I would have to rate this book among King's most well-written, and it has renewed my interest in him after a few groaners like Gerald's Game.

Even if you've been turned off of King in recent years, I think this one might be worth checking out.