It is the late great Sir Terry Pratchett’s birthday today and what better way to remember the magical author than to look back on some of his most fantastical novels (chosen in my humble opinion).
Terry Pratchett was born on 28th April 1948 in Buckinghamshire, England. His literary talent was noticed at a very early age, having his first book published at the young age of thirteen. During his colourful life, he wrote over seventy books… SEVENTY! I love this author with all of my heart and whilst only choosing 10 of his books does his rare talent injustice, it’s at least a good place to start!
I never had to search library’s and bookshops to stumble upon the witty world-creator, but his work always found me, on numerous occasions throughout my life, as if by magic!
Here are my ten favourite Terry Pratchett Novels…
1. The Colour of Magic – #1 Discworld Series
The Discworld series includes a total of 41 books beginning with The Colour of Magic. Every book within Discworld is outstanding and I will always recommend them to everyone, regardless of whether or not you regularly read fantasy. So, what better place to start than with the very first novel in the series?
The Colour of Magic is a collection of four stories set within Discworld. The stories follow the adventures of an incompetant wizard named Rincewind as he tries to protect a tourist named Twoflower. Throughout the stories, they are faced with various struggles from criminals to dragons and as always, Pratchett’s magical flare shines through the pages.
2. Mort – #4 Discworld Series
Mort is the second book in Discworld and the first book in the series to focus on the reoccurring character, Death. In the novel, Mort is a young boy who is disheartened after seemingly failing at anything he puts his hand to. Death approaches Mort offering him the position as his apprentice and Mort accepts, believing Death to be an ordinary undertaker and seeing it as an opportunity to make something of himself.
Death teaches Mort his work and later, trusts him to take care of everything whilst he goes away for a holiday to experience what it is like to be human. The story follows Mort’s journey as he embarks on the journey of Death, but like most of Terry Pratchett’s work, it remains magically humorous.
3. Reaper Man – #11 Discworld
Reaper Man is the second of the Discworld books with Death as a character. During Reaper Man, Death develops a personality and it is believed that he can no longer perform his duty correctly. He is sent to live like everyone else, however, what happens in a world without Death? Paranormal happenings begin to increase and get out of control. A new Death needed to be found but what will become of the old Death since he is no longer needed?
4. Soul Music – #16 Discworld Series
Soul Music is possibly my all time favourite Terry Pratchett Novel. The story surrounds protagonist Imp Y Celyn who moves to Ankh-Morprk with dreams of becoming a musician. He meets some interesting characters along the way, one of which who is closely linked with Death. The story is all about music and the power that it holds, which for a music lover is an obvious must-read!
Llamedos spelled backwards reads, “sod ’em all”, a tribute to Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood.
5. The Wee Free Men – #30 Discworld Series
-The book that found me at the back of the school-bus-
My high school was miles away from my home and the bus journey would take almost two hours. I was in my first year and I didn’t have too many friends at school but there was one girl who was five years older than me and always incredibly kind to me. She had long blonde hair which passed her waist and didn’t speak a word to anyone else on the bus, except me. She saw that the crowds of loud students on the bus made me uncomfortable and she invited me to sit with her at the back of the bus where she would quietly read by the window. The very first time she invited me to sit with her, she handed me “The Wee Free Men” by Terry Pratchett and said, “I have just finished reading this. You will love it.” She was right. I spent every bus journey for a whole year sat in a peaceful bubble at the back of the schoolbus reading with the girl who barely spoke. That was my favourite schoolyear and my first introduction to Terry Pratchett.
The Wee Free Men is #30 within Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series which includes books for all ages and walks of life. Whilst The Wee Free Men may be for a young audience, it is one of my favourite works of his, regardless. The story follows a young witch named Tiffany Aching, who alongside a clan called the Nac Mac Feegle (little blue men a.k.a. the Wee Free Men) embark on a mission of heroism and magic. After her brother was kidnapped by the Evil Faerie Queen, Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle’s must find a way to save him, her family and her home.
6. Going Postal #33 Discworld Series
I have noticed that explaining a Terry Pratchett novel to someone who does not often read fantasy is received with a look of confusion. Going Postal is certainly one of Pratchett’s books which have received a look of “are you mad?”, despite it being one of my favourite reads and popular enough to have a film based on it. This novel is truly hilarious.
Going Postal is #33 of Discworld and like many within the series, is set in the premiere city of Ankh-Morpork. The story focusses on a con artist and fraud named Moist Von Lipwig, who was going to be hanged for his crimes, however, he was saved at the last minute and presented with a choice, either he helps restore the city’s rundown Postal Service or he falls to his death. Moist accepts the position of postmaster and the adventures that follow include everything from the mysterious, the magic, the genius and the romantic.
7. Wintersmith – #35 Discworld Series
When I first began to work in pubs as a teenager, there was a lovely old man who used to come in every other day for his afternoon pint of ale. He was an avid-reader and would always tell me of books that he had been reading, recommending more than I could ever keep up with. One book that he would mention time and time again was Wintersmith and in his eyes, I was the living and breathing version of Tiffany Aching.
Wintersmith follows the good young witch Tiffany Aching as she leaps into the Dark Dance, the crossing over of Summer into Winter. Nobody is supposed to enter the Dark Dance but Tiffany was drawn to it. She then faces the Wintersmith, who mistakes her for the Summer Lady and falls in love with her. Tiffany must find the real Summer Lady, however, this proves to be much more difficult that it sounds…
Terry Pratchett is well known for his use of humour throughout his novels, however, whilst Nation does have some funny moments, comedy is not its main element. Nation is much darker than a lot of Pratchett’s other novels but that is the reason why I love it.
The Island of Nation is hit by a terrible and tragic tsunami, killing everyone who resides there. Only a boy named Mau who lived on the island and a girl from a nearby ship, named Ermintrude survive. Nation focusses on Mau’s mission to rebuild his island and prove that he needs no Gods to do so.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Terry Pratchett were to write a Charles Dicken’s story?
Throughout Dodger, Terry Pratchett includes a number of historical figures and Victorian references, however, Pratchett was clear that the book is “historical fantasy”, not “historical fiction” due to the magical embellishments he included.
Dodger focusses on a man names Jack Dodger, a homeless man living in Victorian London as he goes from rags to riches. He finds himself in a number of situations that require acts of heroism and every time, Dodger stepped up to the challenge. His heroic acts cause him to become a hugely popular which inevitably puts himself and his love at risk. Dodger now has to save the one he loves the most.
10. The Long Earth Series – a Collaboration with Stephen Baxter
– The book that found me in the ‘classic romance’ section of the bookshop –
It was a hot summer day and I sought shade in my local bookshop. After perusing the ‘classic romance’ aisle for around half an hour, an unfamiliar voice from the back of the bookshop uttered, “You’re not going to find what you are looking for there.” I walked in the direction that the voice came from and saw an elderly man sitting on a chair surrounded by stacks and shelves of books. He was not the shop owner, nor had I ever seen him in there before… he looked up at me and said, “What kind of books do you usually read?”… This developed into a full-blown conversation lasting over an hour, we discussed our favourite authors and novels and he finally handed me a book called The Long Earth telling me, “This is your next read.” It was my next read and it was the start of my love for The Long Earth Series. I have never seen the man again in the bookshop…
The Long Earth is the first novel in a collaborative science fiction series by authors Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. It consists of 5 novels: The Long Earth, The Long War, The Long Mars, The Long Utopia, The Long Cosmos. The series consists of parallel worlds, similar to Earth which can be reached using a device called a “Stepper”. The alternate Earths are completely free from human interference, which all changes as the series develops and humankind expand into these new worlds.
© Rachael Bee and Raggie Writes, 2018 – 2020. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rachael Bee and Raggie Writes with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.