Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (1996)
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Humour
★★☆☆☆ 2 ½
Where is the big jolly fat man? Why is Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho? The darkest night of the year is getting a lot darker…
Susan the gothic governess has got to sort it out by morning, otherwise there won’t be a morning. Ever again…
The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too).
As they say: You’d better watch out…
This was my first Pratchett book, a festive read for the festive period. I went into this expecting weirdness, with death as a main character what more could I have hoped for? I have heard many people say Death is their favourite Discworld character and now I know why. Instead of a morbid and miserable antagonist I was met with a rather innocent, kind and humorous protagonist in Death.
Plot for this book? Who knows. It really was all over the place and this wasn’t helped by the lack of chapters, it made it very hard to break up the reading because usually I had to stop in the middle of some weird scene. I found it easy to get lost in the discworld, something that I suppose would happen less with the more Pratchett I read. Structurally this book was heavily dialogue based, which I enjoyed, it increased the pace of the more boring parts of the story.
The general premise of Death replacing the Hogfather (the Discworld equivalent of Father Christmas) was an entertaining one and I liked him visiting people in shopping centres and his desperation to give them all exactly what they wanted. There was a startling sense of realism as Death’s servant Albert explains that not everyone can get what they wanted as a gift, or there would be a misalignment in the class system. Ah how the real world creeps into fiction.
I also rather enjoyed the University professors who kept imaging up Gods, fairies and all sorts. It was quite interesting waiting to see what they would think up next and there was no limit to Pratchett’s creativity in thinking up these strange creatures.
I am glad I have now read a Pratchett book and will probably read more in the future, but for now I am going to stick to books that are slightly more down to earth and easier to follow in these hectic winter months.