Pyramids (Discworld Novel 7)

by Terry Pratchett | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: 0552134619 Global Overview for this book
Registered by erinacea of Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on 1/14/2015
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by erinacea from Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Another book I read as part of Mark Reads Discworld. Like Wyrd Sisters, I had not read this book before and decided to read along and have fun attempting to predict key plot points.

As Discworld goes, this book was entertaining but remained far below my expectations. The main characters remain somewhat flat (heh!) and pale (some would say whitewashed, even), and the plot is all over the place. In fact, I'm having trouble summing it up without recounting the story:

The young pharaoh Teppic has to hold his own against a priesthood obsessed with tradition. Meanwhile, the Great Pyramid erected in honour of his deceased father brings with it a power that could change the country of Djelibeybi forever.

The most interesting character is actually the antagonist, Dios the high priest and éminence grise. Other notable character include a bunch of Ephebian (== Greek) philosophers/logicians that keep overshooting the mark, Ptraci the handmaiden, lots of mummies, and the greatest mathematician in the world.

I don't know what else to say so I'll just quote myself:

The book started out great (Spoilers! highlight with mouse to read) with Teppic's exciting Assassins' exam and the interspersed flashbacks, and it ended on a high note with these brilliant twists (Ptraci coming into her own as powerful and respected queen, Dios having been there all along because of the Great Pyramid), but inbetween there were a lot of times where it just dragged on and on. This might have been particularly noticeable to me as, like Wyrd Sisters, I actually read the whole thing out loud, and my impression is likely to have suffered from the ungracious comparison against the previous book.

That's not to say there weren't some good bits inbetween (the doppelgangs!) but for me, a lot of the intermediary passages felt a bit dull.

I really enjoyed Ptraci's development, and of course Dios is the most interesting antagonist we've met so far. I didn't much care for You Bastard or the other priests besides Dios. Teppic falls somewhere in the middle.

After the initial excitement, I was underwhelmed by the Ephebians, who mainly existed for a brief parody of Greek history. For the entire novel I was hoping for the turtle on the cover to play a bigger role. I had misinterpreted the first section's reference to tortoises to mean that one of them was a philosopher, and was disappointed to learn that (as far as the book is concerned) he wasn't.

It appears I'm a bit creeped out by mummies and the embalming process, but I did like Pteppicymon XXVII. More spoilers, again highlight to read: Both he and Dios are some sort of tragic characters: Pteppicymon in that for a large part of the book he wants to change things and can't. (Even though he already hated pyramids when he was alive, it appears that he was unable to do anything about it in the face of Dios and Tradition.) Dios in that he is stuck in an eternal loop of repeating his life. To paraphrase Koomi, he wanted things to stay the same. But probably not like this.

Here's my ranking of the Discworld books covered so far:

1. Wyrd Sisters
2. Mort
3. Sourcery
4. Equal Rites
5. The Light Fantastic
6. Pyramids
7. The Colour of Magic

Next up: Guards! Guards!

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