Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #58: The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett

Number of pages: 317

The whole premise of the Discworld series revolves around the fact that the Discworld itself is supported by four giant elephants, who are standing on top of a giant turtle. This book introduces the legend of the Fifth Elephant, who originally supported the Discworld, but was somehow hurled off the turtle's back and then came crashing to the ground, creating all the continents.

The title is a nice play on "The Fifth Element", and this book has a very nice cover illustration, but the weird thing is that the book as almost nothing to do with the Fifth Elephant, except for a few mentions in the text.

The plot primarily satirises politics and international relations, as Commander Vimes is sent to Uberwald as an ambassador in the run up to a coronation; however, the City Watch do have to deal with the matter of the dwarves' "Scone of Stone" being stolen. The plot also involves Werewolves who end up pursuing Vimes across Uberwald, although this isn't until quite late in the book (I don't count this as a spoiler though as this is mentioned in the plot synopsis, perhaps because it makes the book sound more exciting than it is).

Terry Pratchett added a few extra storylines, one of which brings back Gaspode the talking dog; there is also a strike by members of the watch against the new Captain Colon, who is in temporary charge, and also a Vampire who is attempting to go "cold turkey".

Overall, I didn't think this was the best Discworld novel; it felt a bit too long and the plot seemed quite slow moving. Some of the plotlines in this story felt like they'd been done before, particularly with the references to an upcoming war involving the dwarves. It also featured an allusion to what is Bela Lugosi's most famous line that would have been good, if Pratchett hadn't put something similar in his previous book.

The book is pretty average; it definitely has its moments, but at the same time it doesn't feel like Terry Pratchett writing at his best.

Next book: The 32 Stops (Danny Dorling)
Tags: animals, book review, british, comedy, contemporary, crime fiction, dark fantasy, fantasy, politics, unimpressed, vampires, werewolves

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