As Predicted, Good Omens was More Than Just “Good”

Well this was a thoroughly enjoyable read… about the apocalypse. Yup- you read that right. This a comedy about the end of the world. The likes of which only the combined genius of Pratchett and Gaiman could have come up with. Melding their equally sharp wits and sense of humour, they created one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a long while. And obviously, it’s packed full with lots and lots of laugh out loud moments!

Brilliantly written, chock full of hilarious and colourful characters and with a great story to book- it’s no wonder this became a cult classic. Happily, there’s a great story as well. In an elegant fashion, we move from the beginning of the universe, right up until the point when it’s doomed to end. As you might expect, it’s an incredibly complex story, with a lot of layers, and the absolute worst thing you could do as a reviewer for such an ineffably multifaceted work is lose one’s notes… which is exactly what I’ve gone and done. Either that or I was too distracted by the book to write anything down, cos it’s just that good 😉

So, I’m working on the fly here, which is a little tricky when we’re talking about such EPIC scale things like god, global catastrophes and intriguing philosophies. Because of course this is more than just surface-level entertainment. As I’ve come to expect from these two powerhouses, this is a fascinating approach on the nature of good and evil, the shades of grey in between and whether angels can indeed dance on the head of a pin.

Ultimately, this small book packs a punch and is one I’ll more than happily reread (maybe next time I’ll manage to take notes 😉). Fortunately though, the fun didn’t stop there, because I managed to catch the adaptation on Prime!

Now, you’ve probably heard about the (patently absurd) scandal around this, which spectacularly backfired, so you might have already heard more sane people rising to the show’s defence and raving about how good it is!

Visually stunning and with a lot of great performances- especially from Tenant and Sheen (no surprises there)- this managed to both fully reflect the qualities of the book, whilst not being the exact same thing. There were changes- as expected- but nothing that was detrimental to the original. Some parts were streamlined and there were brilliant additions (I’ll get to in a moment), but most importantly, this captured the spirit of the original.

Speaking of parts not in the book (told you I’d get there), the opening to episode three, which explored Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship in full was beautifully done. While taking up half the episode’s run time, it was so seamlessly integrated that I almost felt like I must have read it. What I liked best about it, however, was how it felt like a tribute to Pratchett and Gaiman’s friendship- and it felt all the more poignant for that. In fact, the whole backstory of how this show ended up being made makes me pretty emotional.

So, let’s hop skip and a jump to that final showdown before I tear up again! And gosh, it was done well. While a little different to the book, I did love the show’s twist ending and it certainly did its job of keeping me on my toes.

Gotta give these both 5 bananas- meaning ten in total- after all there’s no need to be stingy since they saved us from the end times…

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Have you read or watched this? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

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My Pratchett Journey- So Far… A Love Story

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I’m absolutely giddy for today’s post! Because today, on the day of love, I’m going to tell you the story of how I fell head over heels with Pratchett books. Believe it or not, I wasn’t always the giant orange monkey you see now. In fact, once upon a time when I was a wee uni student, two of my closest friends (hi if you’re reading!) were astounded to find that I was a barely familiar with the Discworld. Sure, I’d heard of Pratchett (who hasn’t?)- I even had vague but pleasant memories of The Wee Free Men from when I was younger- yet I’d never launched fully immersed myself in the wackiness of Pratchett’s universe. That, of course, was a mistake 😉

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it”

mort nice editionBecause I knew, the second I started reading Mort that I was reading something special. And, incidentally, so did the rest of my train carriage, where I sat for four hours, smothering laughter through my hand. I instantly fell in love with the humour. I mean, even years on, I still find myself randomly cracking up over the Great A’Tuin- a giant turtle hurtling through space with four elephants resting on its back which support the Discworld… Seriously, I just finished that sentence and I’m laughing again!  Really the jokes and wit *never* gets old.

“Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.”

“Apes had it worked out. No ape would philosophize, “The mountain is, and is not.” They would think, “The banana is. I will eat the banana. There is no banana. I want another banana.”

“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods. They have not forgotten this”

hogfatherSoon I’d leapt into the rest of the series- in fact the Death series ran away with me- I couldn’t stop with that one. I absolutely loved the quirks and eccentricities of the entire world- not least of the characters! I still chuckle over the fact that Death enjoys a good curry- that is so quintessentially English and I love it!! (chicken tikka masala is the national dish after all). Plus, oh my goodness, the stories are so unconventional! If you’re looking for a different Christmas story, you won’t get anything better than the Hogfather.

“Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom”

witches abroadAnd actually that leads me onto the pure genius of the ideas. Not only is Hogfather a lovingly satirical take on the way we all act around Christmas, but it also gets right into the heart of the love of stories. Actually, this is a running theme with Pratchett- and is especially noticeable in the witch’s plots, such as the play with fairy tales in Witches Abroad and the *double double toil and trouble* Shakespearean mischief of Lords and Ladies. It’s this complexity and depth which makes the series *so awesome*.

“HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.”

going postalAs you know, I absolutely *love* satire, and this is such witty and intelligent fare. And on such varied topics as well! Sometimes it’s simply about some good fantasy tropes like dragons in Guards, Guards. Sometimes it’s on a much larger scale, like questions around war, in Jingo. And sometimes books like Going Postal are just about that weird British obsession with the post office dammit- incidentally this is one of my favourites and the only one I’ve reviewed.

“What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.” 

guards-guardsAnd yet there’s more to it than all that. Over the years, I’ve fallen in love time and again with so many bonkers, wacky and fun characters from the series! If they were simply flat archetypes for satirical fodder, they wouldn’t be half as endearing as they are. But no! They are so much deeper than that. Death, the anthropomorphic personification of death, doesn’t just exist as a vehicle for the plot- NO!– he actually comes to learn about and sympathise with humanity. Vimes, the slightly world weary copper, who manages to upstage everyone with his unbending sense of right and wrong. Granny “I can’t be having with that kind of thing” Weatherwax, who takes common sense to a whole new level. Vetinari is the kind of despotic politician I can admire (thank you Sir P for giving me the opportunity to utter such odd sentences). Then there’s other favourites like the Death of Rats, Susan and Moist. And lastly, but certainly not least…

“Ook.”

unseen academicalsThe Librarian- who inspired me to create this blog! For those of you who don’t know, the Librarian is one of my favourite Discworld characters. My monkey owes its existence to the great big monkey in the sky… or something (*ahem* that sounded more poetic in my head…) Say hello to my little friend!

“If you try to to take my bananas from me, I will reclaim them from your cold dead hands.”

shepherd's crownAnd so we’re coming to the end of my journey so far… And the fact that I can say “so far” is something else that I’m happy about. Because, as I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I’m not done yet- and that only makes me more excited!! I have heard so many wonderful things about books I haven’t got to- not least the Shepherd’s Crown– and I’ve got to say I can’t wait!

So have you read Pratchett? Are you inspired to pick any up now? Let me know in the comments!

Going Postal For, Well, Going Postal

going postalOk so I’ve vaguely hinted at British politics last week… But now it’s time to talk about what’s really important to Brits: the Post Office.

Now us Brits have a weird thing about the Post Office. Thatcher used to say how barmy we’d all go if it was privatised (sneaky bloody Cameron snuck it through though). Anyway, I digress.

In this biting satire, Pratchett explores just why the Post Office is such an amazing, important institution! (a statement which should of course be sealed with a loving kiss 😉 )

Everything from the premise to the characters is just perfect. I loved the name Moist Von Lipwig in particular and I adored how good ol’ Vetinari’s characterised in this one.

But best of all, this one was packed full of some of the Pratchett’s best, pithiest, wittiest quotes:

“I commend my soul to any god that can find it.”

“See a pin and pick it up, and, all day long, you’ll have a pin.” 

“Steal five dollars and you’re a common thief. Steal thousands and you’re either the government or a hero”

I usually have a hard time reviewing Pratchett, cos, well it’s Pratchett and I feel the *pressure*, but this one just called to me. Definitely one of my favourites:

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Well, have you read this one? If not, what are you waiting for?!

6 Book Recommendations From 6 Months of Reading Non-Stop!

Happy Friday!!! (Anyone else feel like doing a happy dance now that the weekend is here?) After my Mid-Year Book Tag post last week, I realised there are a fair number of books I’ve enjoyed this year that I haven’t reviewed or mentioned on my blog yet. Now, some of those I still plan to review (*hides face with shame at how disorganised I am*) but for those I know I won’t go into depth about, I feel like it would be unfair to the books if I don’t give them a proper mention. Especially since I gave all of these books 4* or more. So here are 6 book recommendations for the 6 months of the year that have now been and gone!

'Me_Before_You'1- Me Before You– I finished this wittily written, tightly wound wonder of a book really recently. This book hits you right in the gut and is sure to either make you cry or wondering what is wrong with your tearducts if you don’t. I really recommend giving it a go.

 

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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feet of clay2- Feet of Clay– let’s be honest, I don’t review or mention Terry Pratchett books often enough- and that is a terrible shame on me! But rest assured- I still love Pratchett and I’m looking to rectify that huge fault of mine by mentioning it right now. And just for the record- this one was up there as one of the best Pratchett books I’ve ever read! (so far!)

 

Rating 4½/5 bananas

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black maria3- Black Maria– here’s another author that I don’t mention off enough. I *adore* Diana Wynn Jones and I feel like I don’t mention often enough. I love the Chrestomanci series and so I’ve been reading more of that, but I particularly enjoyed this standalone!

 

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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witch's daughter4- The Witch’s Daughter– I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastical take on historical fiction- and that’s coming from someone that doesn’t often like historical fiction. I can’t say it’s an especially challenging or trying read, but it was fun, quick and worth picking up. I’m definitely gonna continue with this series.

 

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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five people you meet in heaven5- The Five People You Meet In Heaven– here’s another one I can happily recommend. Surprisingly for the subject matter, this is a very light read and didn’t give me too much trouble in the emotional department. That being said, it was well written and managed to be highly enjoyable and life affirming. Give it a try and let me know what you think- I’d be interested to see your reaction to it!

 

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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darkest part of the forest6- The Darkest Part of the Forest– I’m going to finish off with this rather splendid standalone. This is an exquisitely woven, dark take on modern fairy tales! It is only the second book I’ve read by Holly Black, but I have to say, I’ve come away satisfied every time. I love her unique storytelling style and I find I really connect with her characters. After this one, I’m very keen to read more of her work.

 

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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And that’s everything for now- have you read these books? Did you enjoy them? Do you fancy picking any of them up? Let me know in the comments!

A Monkey Themed Giveaway!

So last week something massive happened…. something I can’t even explain…. I reached 500 followers!

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I am literally speechless! Thank you so much for being such awesome bananaholic, monkey brains and following this blog as I ramble on about books! I can’t tell you how ecstatic, excited and extraordinarily wonderstruck it makes me to have you all on board!

To celebrate I have decided to run a giveaway, where I will be giving away this gorgeous edition of Mort- the first Discworld book I ever read and the start of my long term Pratchett fanaticism.

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Isn’t it so pretty? Obviously I’m trying to lure a few of you over to the darkside of Pratchett fandom with this delicious eye candy… but honestly even I’m getting book envy looking at this cos my copy isn’t nearly as nice! So if you’re burning to get your hands on this exquisite book, you can enter with rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run until midnight on the 11th of June (GMT London local time) and I’ll announce the winner shortly after. It is open to anyone who lives in a country where bookdepository can deliver to 🙂

As I am going away with work next week this will probably be the last time I post for a while (*sobs*). Until then- ttfn! And good luck!