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

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Book #52: The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett

Number of pages: 337

This is the final Discworld book, and was also unfinished at the time when Terry Pratchett died in 2015, which is presumably why it is a bit shorter than most of the recent books in the series, and it felt like there were a few unresolved plot threads, and maybe a couple of minor plot points that I did not entirely follow. As I found out from the afterword, Terry Pratchett realised he didn't have long to live so made sure that the ending of the book was intact before he wrote a lot of the other bits.

I've seen this one called one of the worst Discworld novels, but I enjoyed this and thought it was a lot better than the penultimate book, Raising Steam, the events of which are occasionally referenced in this one. It also feels like a fitting end for the Discworld novel, and has a sense of being a swansong, including one moment that I had spoiled for me.

[Spoiler (click to open)]

In chapter 2, Granny Weatherwax, one of my favourite discworld characters dies; I had expected her death to come at the end, but it was good that Terry Pratchett gave her a fitting send off. It sets many of the main plots in motion, including the fact that Tiffany is required to replace her as the "Hag o' hags" as the Nac Mac Feegle call her.

I noticed that the pace of the book was a bit slower than usual, mostly because of the book's early events, but it seemed to work quite well here. The main plot was effectively a sequel to one of the older books, Lords and Ladies as the elves decided to use recent events as an excuse to invade, only this time the elf queen ended up being overthrown by one of her own people and cast out in one of the early chapters.

The story also involved a boy called Geoffrey, who wanted to become a witch, so a bit like a gender reveral of the first Granny Weatherwax novel, Equal Rites.

Like with the previous Tiffany Aching book, I noticed that this was more serious in tone than many of the other titles, with the subject matter becoming quite dark at times; one of the early chapters had Geoffrey being beaten by his father before he finally decided to stand up for himself, and there was another moment where Tiffany ended up brutally killing three elves. There was some of the characteristic Discworld humour, but it was less frequent than most of the older titles.

Towards the end, it occurred to me that the plot, which gradually built up towards a final battle with the elves, felt a bit like George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, although this might have not been intentional. I also noticed Terry Pratchett managed a few brief references to other things, like Dad's Army and even Margaret Thatcher.

The climax did feel a bit rushed, but as mentioned before, I would put that down to the fact that the book ended up unfinished, but overall I was glad that I took the trouble to read all of Discworld titles.

Next book: Alan Partridge: Nomad (Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons and Steve Coogan)
Tags: book review, british, contemporary, dark fantasy, fantasy, fiction, grief, humor, witchcraft, young adult

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