Monday, September 26, 2011

Wyrd Sister by Terry Pratchett

This book is definitely Pratchett's homage to William Shakespeare.  Even while our three witches toil and trouble around their cauldron, Pratchett has filled this story with allusions to Shakespearean plays.  He even goes so far to have a traveling theater troupe complete with in-house playwright.  A theater is being constructed toward the end of the story that reminds me of the Globe and direct quotes from Shakespeare weave their way into the narrative.  I mean, "the play's the thing" here just as it was in Hamlet.  I love that among the actual plot of the book this whole second layer exists full of literary allusion to keep watch for.

But the actual's your typical medieval story with a murdered King (now a ghost), meddling witches, roving performers, and an heir hidden in order to keep him alive.  The difference though is the humor.  This typical story is infused with so much humor the plot really is immaterial.  The cast of characters is pretty traditional - there's even a court jester - but the stars of the show are our three witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat.  These complex ladies claim to never meddle in state affairs yet deftly manipulate time, space, and the strings of destiny for the entire kingdom of Lancre in order to bring the 'rightful' king to the throne.  Expanding any further on the plot or the colorful cast of characters would almost give too much away, so I think I'll leave it at that.

I always laugh out loud when I read Pratchett.  His wit and subtle humor and amazing control of the English language is a joy to read.  And the extra perk of the Discworld books is that you don't have to read them in order to enjoy them - you can pick up whichever one you like whenever the mood strikes you.  It's very nice to have such a stress-free series to read.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Into Temptation by Penny Vincenzi

I wish this wasn't a trilogy.  This is a family I could read about forever although they're getting too big to keep track of easily. 

Into the third generation of the Lytton family we go as our matriarch, Celia Lytton's grandchildren begin to grow up and start lives of their own.  Every bit as exciting and every big as much of a soap opera as the previous two books, No Angel and Something Dangerous, Into Temptation is slightly different only because there isn't a way going on to drive the action - everything happens to the family only with no global threat pushing them along.

Not that there are any dull moments to content with.  This book is by far the busiest because of all the characters we're now keeping track of.  Covering three full generations is a busy task - especially when characters keep getting married and having more children.  And, nobody is safe from the drama of scandalous affairs, clinical depression, theft, tragedy, passionate fights - they're all there, written in such a realistic way to put you right in the middle of the action.  There's really no much plot to share in specifics since I don't want to spoil anything and nothing should be stopping you from reading this third book if you've already enjoyed the first two.

I didn't want the trilogy to end.  Who doesn't love a good literary soap opera?  But, I love that I got to spend so much time enjoying these great, fully-formed, intricate characters and highly suggest you curl up with them too.