Please note : This review includes a couple of spoilers.
… brilliant cast and astute humanity
I wanted to add a couple of things to the many reviews of Terry’s elegiac last Discworld novel. What stands out for me always in his books is his brilliant cast and his astute humanity.
Lord and Ladies, his reinterpretation of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, is one of my very favourite DiscWorld novels and so I was delighted by the Elves’ return. I love his reversal of this race with their unprincipled, vicious glamour so akin to modern celebrity culture; and his parallel championing of the strong minded honest folk: midwives, shepherds, blacksmiths over the weaker kings and queens.
After focussing for so long on strong women in his latter books, it is also lovely to be introduced to Geoffrey, the apprentice witch with his unique calm-weaving ability; and Mr Sideways and the magic of the man-shed.
As Antonia Byatt mentioned in her Guardian review :“Something I came to love about Pratchett was his inability to go on disliking either a character or a race.” It was fascinating to watch Tiffany carefully teaching Nightshade, ex-Queen of the Elves, why is matters to be kind and thoughtful; and I was delighted, though not entirely surprised, by the sudden bravery of the irritating Letice Earwig.
I was also going to point out Terry’s art of not saying too much about some of the characters, for example: You, the enigmatic white cat, which adds to the reading pleasure. However I have since learnt that there is a story behind Granny Weatherwax’s familiar. Back in August 2015, Neil Gaiman’s revealed a plot layer that was never included because time ran out. Click here for a link to this article if you are interested … which I suggest you read after reading the book.