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What We’re Reading: Raising Steam

Post by Lauren Kage
Posted April 28, 2014 in NoveList Bookshelf

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Raising Steam

by Terry Pratchett

What is it about?
It is steam-engine time in Ankh-Morpork, Pratchett's enduringly enchanting fantasy metropolis. The king of the Golden River (that is, A-M's own Harry King, provider of necessary municipal services) looks for a more dignified legacy to invest in at just the moment Dick Simnel perfects his prototype Iron Girder. Their business relationship is completed by the guidance of former con-artist and current head of both Bank and Post Office, Moist von Lipwig. Together they install a world-changing technology in the routines of the city and the hearts of its populace, facing Luddite fundamentalists conspiring towards a coup d'etat in just the place they need the railway to reach.

Why I like it:
Pratchett's signature has always been wordplay-driven humor and absurdity supporting heavy social satire.  Raising Steam is as chortle-inducing and as contemplative as previous Discworld novels.  

Interesting tidbit: 
Raising Steam is the fortieth book in the Discworld series and the first to include a reference map.

"I'd recommend this book to…"
Unlike the majority of early Discworld novels, those unfamiliar with recent books in the series (particularly Thud, Snuff, and Going Postal) might have difficulty boarding the train.  Nevertheless, Pratchett's appealing style and vigorous plotting should engage older teens and adults alike who enjoy fantasy and tongue-in-cheek humor.  Railway enthusiasts, too, might feel stoked by a warm glow in reading this unabashed tribute.

Memorable quote:

"New things, new ideas arrived and strutted their stuff and were vilified by some and then lo! that which had been a monster was suddenly totally important to the world."

Recommended by Lauren Kage, Cataloger at NoveList.