Moist von Lipwig is once again set upon by the seemingly omniscient Vetinari to be the lovable face of the new Railway service, devised by a young lad with a flat cap and a sliding rule and funded by the Diamond King of Trolls, with his wife on hand to provide the interiors.
The Goblins are back, as well. Having been set free by Vimes in Snuff
, they are now working the Clacks and, suddenly, are also tinkering with steam...
But the dwarfs aren't happy about Goblins being given "citizen status" and the older dwarfs known as Grags, who are clinging on to tradition, are starting fires and have revolution on the mind...
If you're new to Discworld I'd say don't read this one first. Skip the first few, as well, and head for something in the middle like Lords and Ladies
. This one started slow and very contrary to the latest previous Discworld novels, the main part of the plot didn't come in until quite late in the book. Whilst the fundamental humour of Pratchett and Discworld was there, it felt a little disjointed and that's only because Pratchett is suffering with an illness. Whilst this is putting many people off, it only makes me feel a stronger link to the man. He's continuing with his work in the face of adversity and that makes him great. Sure, his writing is off slightly, but when it comes down to it, do we really only
enjoy the writing of books?
Of course, I love it because it had goblins, too. I enjoy the way he's portrayed them: he hasn't gone for the airy-fairy of Shakespeare and the Victorian Period, and he certainly hasn't gone for the rather dim-witted and blood-lusting goblins of Tolkien. He's taken them and made them his own, and actually, since his folklore has always been very true to the roots as opposed to the popular, they are extremely accurate and better representations of a lower class of species that is inevitably critised and detested because of their strange habits and looks. It's another Discworld that is commenting on real-world societies and issues in a very blunt manner, and everything in this book rings true with anything that you see when you look out your window.
I also really enjoyed the way he poked fun at The Railway Children: a classic tale but Moist von Lipwig added to the equation made it far more delightful.