There is no doubt about it, whether you enjoy his books or not, Terry Pratchett is a master of storytelling. His ability to use a single sentence or word to paint an image in the reader’s mind is incredible. In a genre full of exposition and detailed description he is able to convey, with ease, vivid and lively locations and diverse and quirky characters using phrases that in themselves tell you nothing about their physical appearance.
‘The Truth’, discworld’s 25th novel, is no different. Characters dance from the pages and within moments of being introduced to them you feel as though you know exactly where they have come from, what they had for breakfast, and what they like to do on their weekends. Ankh-Morpork continues to evolve into a squalid, yet loveable cesspool of civilisation that reminds us of everything that the real world and the Fantasy genre have to offer.
Something I find when I read a discworld novel is that from the first page I have a warm feeling and thoroughly enjoy Pratchett’s introductions. However a fault, if I can find any in his writing, is that I tend to find my interest diminishing the further I read. A friend once said to me, “I feel like when I read one of his books that he got a really good idea, began writing and then realised he had to finish it somehow, almost as an afterthought.” Occasionally I have to agree.
‘The Truth’ deals with the arrival of newspapers and journalism to Ankh-Morpork and for the most part the characters are not too different from ones that have appeared in previous books. In many ways I was reminded of “Going Postal”, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The main character, William is likeable enough and the rest of the cast (dwarves, vampires and talking dogs), all add a certain charm. The villains in the book are also well presented and a great take off of the ‘brawns and brains’ crime outfit.
The book’s strength is in its evolution of the newspaper. As things come together and William begins to get papers into the streets, you find yourself wanting to read more and see what happens next. The sub plot of the attempted replacement of the Patrician, I found to be less interesting, though vital to the story. That being said, as ever Lord Vetinari stands out as a brilliant character, and when he is involved in the dialogue I cannot get enough.
Without spoiling anything, I felt the end of the story was average on the whole. Though not by any means poorly plotted or written. I think I was merely expecting the tale to go in a different direction. I did though really enjoy “The Truth” and find myself smiling whenever I read one of the discworld novels.
As with most of Pratchett’s novels I would recommend this to my friends. I would however recommend it after most of the others that I have read. Therefore my final rating reflects not poor quality, but a comparison to his other great works. If you are seeking a smile and a wonderful mockery of the modern newspaper give it a go. If you are looking for your first discworld novel, then start with ‘The Colour of Magic’ first.