Thud! (Terry Pratchett)

Thud! is the seventh of the Discworld novels about the City Watch by Terry Pratchett [reviews of the others here].

The anniversary of the legendary Battle of Koom Valley is approaching, where famously the dwarves ambushed the trolls and the trolls ambushed the dwarves and things in Ankh-Morpork are brewing since it’s the place where dwarves and trolls live closest together. When a dwarf is found dead, with a troll club nearby, Sam Vimes suddenly has his hands full, trying to avert a racial disaster.

As in all Pratchett books, there were some really awesome bits. But put altogether, Thud! was quite a let-down after Night Watch. It was the first time, I think, that I was not surprised by a Pratchett plot and the whole vampire vs. werewolf thingy got a little tired.

There were bits in this book I genuinely loved. Sam Vimes as a father, reading Where’s My Cow? was awesome. Sam Vimes in general is just a great character and it was amazing to see his character development in the course of these 7, 8 books.

But there were things that annoyed the hell out of me. Most of all the relationship of Angua and Sally. Angua suddenly being jealous just doesn’t seem to fit her character and it just plays into the old “women can’t work together without bitch fights ensuing” thing. I know why Pratchett did it, since the theme of the book is racial tension and their relationship nicely mirrors the relationship of dwarves and trolls.

But, apart from the gender aspect of the whole thing, there’s also the fact that werewolves are traditionally the oppressed and vampires the oppressors and Pratchett misses the opportunity to look at that dynamic more deeply. Just seems like a missed chance.

What can I say? After Night Watch, which was incredibly good, I just expected Thud! to shine and to really top it. And it didn’t. Maybe if I’d read it before Night Watch, I would have liked it better. As it was, I didn’t like it a whole lot.

Anyway, let’s have some quotes!

“What we could do is die valiantly. I’ve seen men die valiantly. There’s no future in it.”

Coffee was only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your slightly older self.

“I think I’m looking at this wrong. It’s not my cow. It’s a sheep with a pitch fork. Unfortunately, it goes quack.”

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