This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.
Yes, I am certainly going to talk about a Discworld book again. Everyone who doesn’t want to kill me yet still with me? Right, here we go and hold on to your hats and also your judgement, because you may just want to kill me after you start reading if you’re not there yet.
The book that I consider overrated that I have chosen to talk about is Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. First I gush about this series, and then I choose another of this number to criticise? Yes. There are many, many books that I think are overrated. The Twilight-series is one of them. So is The Earthsea Quartet. So is Eragon. But I have a very specific reason for choosing Small Gods.
I don’t think it is a bad book. There are certainly some laugh-out-loud funny moments in there. I just love the description on the back:
In the beginning was the word. And the word was “Hey, you!” For Brutha the novice is the Chosen One. He wants peace and justice and brotherly love. He also wants the Inquisition to stop torturing him now, please…
There are several scenes where the Pratchett wit is at its very best. Though I was confused and lagging sometimes as I read the book, I still don’t think it is bad. Someone on Goodreads once commented on one of the Discworld-novels and said that there are no bad Discworld books. I fully agree with this person, and I would appropriate George Orwell’s quote to say this: all Discworld books are equally good, except that some are better than others. Small Gods is one of those I think are less good than others. Yet…
It was one of only two Pratchett books to reach the NPR top 100 fantasy and sci-fi list. The other one was Going Postal, which happens to be one of my favourites. I think that there are better Pratchett books that should have got on that list, not Small Gods. That is why I think it is overrated and I am probably being completely unfair towards this book at the moment.
When the NPR list (which I and many others consider to be very authoritative) came out, someone commented on this exact same issue that I experienced. It may have been on Twitter. This person mentioned that “problem” that there are only 2 out of 39 Discworld-novels on there, whilst Sir Terry Pratchett is one of today’s most popular writers with hundreds upon thousands of fans. So why did all these fans not vote for his books to get them on the list? Why did two such different novels of his reach the Top 100? They were low down on the list as well. This commentator thought they had the answer. It is because out of 39 novels and counting, so many different people have their different favourites, no one can exactly decide which novel to stand behind as fans and vote for. Therefore, so many widely different votes are cast that the power is diluted and none of the books end up with any achievements.
Maybe I am just annoyed that none of my favourite City Watch-books reached the famous list. Maybe this is just sour grapes that Small Gods did reach the list, which is why I started to think it was overrated. I honestly did not like it nearly as much as some of the others. Going Postal, Thud!, Carpe Jugulum and others I absolutely devoured. But not this one. Perhaps it is that classic case of the underdog getting the bone, because everyone’s attention is devoted to the big and popular, however in the end the underdog gets the votes, not because everyone likes it so much, but because they are fighting too much over the others that they end up voting for something that they do not particularly like, but do not particularly dislike either. That is the way that I feel about Small Gods anyway. (That was a quote that I stole from Pratchett himself and then adapted, by the way.)
Perhaps it is because Small Gods is almost standalone that I did not like it much. Perhaps it is because I did not read all the books that go ahead of it and then I had a gap in my knowledge to confuse me. I do like the interlocking nature of the other Discworld-novels, even though you can read them apart and out of order. I did read most of them apart and out of chronology. It is quite possible. Small Gods also parodies religion, which I generally do not have a problem with, because we have to be able to laugh at ourselves and obviously, I did find it funny, but it wasn’t there. Search me why. 😛
Aaaaaand… tomorrow’s post is about a book that I thought I wouldn’t like but ended up loving.