Another Review at MyShelf.Com


by Terry Pratchett

      Taking a break from his usual Discworld series, here is Pratchett on top form showing other writers of "crossover" novels how it should be done.† Mau lives on an island in the South Pacific, on a parallel earth in the early 19th century.† Now he is no longer a boy. After having spent time on the Boysí Island, he is rowing home to a feast that will welcome him back as a man.† But a tsunami has struck, leaving Mau the only survivor with the grim task of burying the dead in the Dark Water.† Just as his despair is greatest, he realises that he is no longer alone, for a vast ship has been wrecked on the island, its only occupants a strange pale girl and a talking parrot.

If you enjoy reading about the parallel 19th centuries as portrayed by writers like Joan Aiken and Stephen Hunt, you will love this.† No, it isnít anything like either of these writers apart from in the idea of its setting, and you can expect that along with some good laughs there will be some wise words.† It is what Mr Pratchett does best, after all.† Here he paints a vivid picture of a way of life destroyed by nature, but where the right sort of person can triumph over the odds and forge a new way of life.† It is a story about what it takes to be a good leader, and how to beat the system when beating is exactly what it needs.† The portrayal of this familiar and yet different version of the early 19th century is sketched in bit by bit and emerges to show a well-realised world that I hope he decides to show us more of.† There is even a thoughtful and realistic ending, and, whereas I read a lot of books with excellent beginnings, I donít read many that end as well as this does. So it is good all the way through, like a stick of rock candy.† Apart from the fact that it is neither sickly sweet nor bad for your health of course—the book equivalent of quite the opposite.

One of the standout books of 2008, look for it on my Top Ten.† Hugely enjoyable!

The Book

Doubleday (Random House Childrenís Books)
11 September 2008
0385613709 / 9780385613705
Juvenile / Adult Fantasy [Early 19th century / Polynesian Island in a Parallel Universe]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008