Snuff by Terry Pratchett
I've been a fan of Sir Terry Pratchett since my late teens, but of all his books the Sam Vimes titles have always been my favourite. I love the stories about the Watch, of Sam’s rise from gutter alcoholic in a dying Night Watch to His Grace the Duke, Commander of a blooming City Watch, hero of Koom Valley and proud father to Sam junior. But I've put off reading Snuff. I knew the chances were high of this being the LAST EVER Sam Vimes story, not just because of the author’s medical condition, but for the fact that the character is ageing. Sooner or later he isn't going to outrun or outfight the bad guy, and I'm going to lose one of my all-time favourite literary characters forever.
But I bit the bullet. And it had changed.
Sam Vimes is ordered off on holiday, taking Lady Sybil and young Sam to the Ramkin estates. Out of the city, Sam is out of his depth in what amounts to alien territory, but even there his copper instincts kick in. Once again, Sam is faced with a crime, and another case of speciesism that he just can’t ignore. Still partially possessed by the Summoning Dark and with his nose for trouble, Sam won’t let the downtrodden be... well, trodden on. Even though goblins are considered the lowest of the low.
For me, the first half of the book was off-key. I can’t really put my finger on why. Maybe I’d preconceived ideas that it would be different, and because I’d failed to finish Nation last year - the first Pratchett book that’s ever happened to me with – I was worried that it wouldn't be the Discworld I’d become used to. The small sections focusing on the Anhk-Morpork Watch seemed out of place and jarring, almost to the point where I started skipping them - they didn't seem very relevant. But about midway through the story settled down and I felt I was in familiar Vimes territory, even if the character might not agree. I particularly liked Pratchett's portrayal of an author - the infamous Miss Beadle - of whom young Sam was a big admirer. However, I found the villain, despite the inference he was the same kind of head-case as Carcer in Nightwatch, just didn't come across as evil enough. There are a couple of cool twists around him though, but no spoilers from me.
For those who believe in justice and karma, this is an excellent book and a perfect match to the previous Watch books. For Terry Pratchett fans, a must have. For me, I couldn't help but feel choked up at the end. Not because the story itself has a sad ending, but because I've had to say goodbye to a character I’ve loved so much for years and will probably never meet again.
Pippa Jay, 8.5/10
I feel that I could very well leave this review to my Twitter post:
Finished reading Terry Pratchett's new book, Snuff. Utterly brilliant. We need a new rating system dedicated to him.
If I could, then I would, but Lee would get cranky and, really, I’ll take any opportunity I can get to extoll the virtues of Sir Terry Pratchett.
I had Snuff finished in just over a day from when it arrived. I took it slowly, because you don’t want to rush good things like Terry Pratchett. While there is an almost infinite amount of re-readability to Pratchett’s works, the first time is always special, and you want to savour it.
Yes, I promise, I’m still talking about books.
Pratchett once again delves into the world of His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes. Without a doubt, Vimes is my favourite character, and when I originally heard that the next book would be a Vimes book I was pretty excited.
But I was a little wary because the blurb pretty much told us he wouldn’t be hanging around Ankh-Morpork, as he would be on holiday with his wife, Sybil, and his son, Young Sam.
But I should never have worried, as Pratchett has once again provided us with a book that, in all honesty, leaves me unable to rate it very well. At this point, I can pretty much only rate Pratchett books against other Pratchett books.
Pratchett writes in a way that you just know he’s made sure every word and sentence is perfect, but without that stuffiness that comes from allowing a writer to continually edit his own work in the hope that he’ll make it perfect (ie, Patrick Rothfuss, George Lucas).
The underlying political and moral alignment of Pratchett is very obvious, but it never comes across as preachy. The lessons learned and the insights gained are ones that we can either take on board, or we already have.
I won’t re-tread ground in trying to summarise the book, when the blurb says all you need and doesn’t spoil anything;
"According to the writer of the best-selling crime novel ever to have been published in the city of Ankh-Morpork, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse.
And Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe, but many, many bodies and an ancient crime more terrible than murder.
He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, occasionally snookered and occasionally out of his mind, but not out of guile. Where there is a crime there must be a finding, there must be a chase and there must be a punishment.
They say that in the end all sins are forgiven. But not quite all..."
If you’ve never picked up a Pratchett book, then why wait? Pick this up now! You will not regret it!
Unrateable (or, if you must, 10/10).
Joshua S Hill, 10/10
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Have you read Snuff?
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Snuff reader reviews
Karen from England
Couldn't agree more... Terry Pratchett is, quite honestly, in a different league to most fantasy writers, in that he can make you both laugh and think at the same time, and leaves you with something special after the book is finished - the feeling that your life, or at least that part of it you spend in your own head, has been enriched beyond measure. Deserves more than a 10, but if that's as far as the ratings go, then 10 it duly is.
9.7/10 from 2 reviews
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