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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thief of Time

Thief of Time
(A Discworld Novel)
by Terry Pratchett

(3/5 stars)

When it comes to some airplane/beach reading, Terry Pratchett's Discworld books are definitely not a bad choice if you're a sci-fi/fantasy fan. They're light, not too long, and funny in that British kind of way. They'll make you think a little bit, but not too much to make your head hurt. The mixture of comedy, action, and a little romance is just right for when you want an enjoyable book that isn't too heavy and overbearing.

That said, "Thief of Time" is the fourth of Pratchett's Discworld novels I've read and it didn't really make much of an impact on me. It killed a couple hours at the airport, on the plane, and later on a train but that was really about it. Mostly, this felt the same as the other Discworld books I'd read where some seemingly innocuous thing created by some fringe character threatens to destroy the universe until a ragtag bunch of non-heroes band together to stop it.

In this case, Jeremy Clockson is an orphan adopted by the Clockmaker's Guild who is obsessive about making accurate clocks. A strange but beautiful woman named Lady LeJean comes into his shop one day with the challenge to make the Ultimate Clock. Jeremy takes this on with the help of his rented Igor and some inspiration from his dreams for a glass clock.

Unbeknownst to Jeremy, this has already been done before and the fallout required the mysterious History Monks to patch Time back together into something resembling a plausible reality. Sweeper Lu Tse was the one who nearly stopped the last clock and vows to stop it this time with the help of his new assistant Lobsang Ludd. Meanwhile, Death realizes the universe will end on Wednesday and is preparing for the Apocalypse by rounding up the other three Horsemen: Pestilence, Famine, and War in a style reminiscent of the "Blues Brothers." In the meantime he tasks his "granddaughter" Susan to look into what will bring an end to life as we know it.

All these different plot threads come together fairly well in the end as all our non-heroes battle the bureaucratic Auditors for the fate of the universe. Still, as I said, even though I've only read four of these it felt like I'd read most of this before with only the specifics changed. I suppose when you write as many of these as Pratchett has it's easy to fall into a formula, albeit an enjoyable formula.

As I said at the beginning though, if you want some light reading that is a little more substantial and enjoyable than the latest Nicholas Sparks or James Patterson rag, Pratchett is your man. It just probably doesn't matter WHICH one you read.

That is all.

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