Sam Vimes needs a break. Or at least that’s what his wife Lady Sybil is convinced of. And since she’s very persuasive and has Lord Vetinari’s support, Sam Vimes finds himself carted off to the country with Sybil, their son Young Sam and their butler Wilikins. But despite the tranquility of the Sybil’s country mansion it doesn’t take very long for Vimes’ police instincts to kick in: he is convinced that there is something going on there and he is sure to find out what it is.
It’s been a while that I read a Discworld novel and I don’t know if it was too long, but in any case, Snuff didn’t work all that well for me, unfortunately. It does have its strengths (and Sam Vimes), but yeah, I would have liked to like it more.
There were a few things about Snuff that bothered me. There were all of those husband and wife jokes that are just so heteronormative and partly very old-fashioned. And that despite the fact that the Discworld novels I read have always had a feminist core, or at least have shown honest attempts at feminism. That particular brand of feminism here not only relies on heteronormativity too much, but also does mostly without women – female characters are few and far between.
And then the entire goblin liberation that completely sidelines goblins and their part in their own revolution to focus on the humans instead. If we were talking about race in the sense of skin color etc. instead of fantasy races, I would have called it a white savior story.
Plus, the book relies on one of the worst tropes in the crime genre, the “good guy spares bad guy’s life and then bad guy dies for some other reason” trope that leaves the good guy morally intact and still doles out the death penalty to bad guys. I hate it. It’s a clear case of having your cake and eating it, too and it sucks.
Apart from that, I just didn’t think that Snuff was as funny as other Discworld novels. That being said, though, it is a very nice read that makes time fly by. And Sam is still an amazing character who I love very much (I also like Sam Jr. a lot). Plus, there are some really excellent observations throughout the book; observatons on pretty much everything, but a lot of the best ones have to do with power in some shape or another.
So it definitely wasn’t not a worty read. But om the end I expected and hoped for more than what it had to offer.
Summarizing: Not the strongest Pratchett, but if you like Sam Vimes, don’t skip it.