Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett


Is Discworld ready for educated rats?

Set in the Discworld, a brand new and marvellously eccentric fantasy tale for young readers.

Maurice, an amazing cat, who has survived four years on the toughest streets in the whole of the Discworld, reckons that rats are dumb. Clever, OK, but dumb. Maurice, however, is smart -- smart enough to recognize that there’s a new kind of rat around; rats that have been eating wizards’ rubbish and can now talk. And Maurice is also smart enough to get a pretty amazing idea when he spots a kid playing the flute. Now he has his very own Pied Piper to go with his “plague of rats”. And Maurice’s money-bags are getting fuller and fuller. That is, until the group reaches the far flung village of Bad Blintz.


Dear Debi,

I blame this book and me reading it all on you! Don't worry, though, it was a good thing. For someone that likes fantasy as much as I do, Terry Pratchett is a big hole in my reading. I read a couple books by him a few years ago, and then I entered a dry spell until this year. This the second book I have read by him in 2009; the first being Nation, which I happily blame on Ana (Nymeth). Unfortunately, this was a second time is the charm read. The first time I started it I read a couple chapters and then got drawn in by other books. It took it having to go back to the library and being nonrenewable for me to sit down and read it the other night.

The first thing that I really enjoyed about this book was that while it was a Discworld novel, it was still a standalone. That big gaping hole means that I have only read a couple Discworld novels, so I am still a newbie on what that all means. This book was a good reintroduction without having to have read all the books that came before it. In a world where everything is trilogies and series, it is nice to read a book that you can consider on its own. You can read more books set in Discworld, but you don't have to right away. It's a whole lot less pressure, don't you think?

The best thing about this book was Maurice. It was like revisiting with my childhood. As an adult, I am more of a dog person than a cat person, but in my single digit years I was obsessed with books about cats. I had piles of them. The second-hand bookstore in my hometown would put aside books that she thought I would like. This love affair would exist for about a year, and then I moved on to horses. Maurice was a great trip down memory lane. He is such a fun character! He is totally a cat, no matter how 'amazing' he thinks he is, but he is trying to break away from it. The book is a bit about how you shouldn't be ashamed of who you are just because some aspects of your life have changed. That's a big lesson for a cat. I wish my mother's cat would have some life-changing moments. Sadly, I think she will always rule my mother's house and annoy me when I have to kitty-sit.

Anyway, I digress. The story also had some rodents, a young boy, and a town girl. The girl was fantastic. I could relate to her so much! Remember that trip down memory lane, well it extended to her, too. She was almost like me when I was her age. My parents were not getting along and would wind up divorcing, like most of the world, so it was better to live in my books sometimes than in the 'real world'. She is a bit exasperating in how everything is a story to her. I am not sure I was quite so noticable, but who doesn't want to leave their own world behind once in a while. I think that is probably why I started reading fantasy, if anyone was ever wondering! So, even though she could be a bit annoying at times, which was pointed out by both cat and humans, she was a fun character. I also liked the rats. There was a lot of great personality present in this microcosm of society. Ever wonder what talking rats would be like? I guess you will have to read this book to find out!

I should also add that this book is essentially a retelling of the Pied Piper fairy tale. A young boy plays his music and starts a town on a path that will make them their fortune. It isn't exactly playing them off a cliff or anything, but it is used to change a way of thinking. There is also historical fiction mixed in with the story because rats really were the cause of plagues back in history. Pratchett includes some truth in his fantasy world.

So, Debi, thanks for making me check this book out from the library! Not only was it a fun read, but writing you a letter was funner than a regular post.

5 comments:

  1. This was my very first Discworld book, and just a couple weeks back at that. I really liked it!

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  2. Aren't Pratchett's imagination and storytelling skills amazing?!

    I love how the discworld books are set up so you can read them as stand alones.

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  3. Well, I'm happy to take the blame since I loved this book so much. But honestly, you could extend the blame for this one right onto Ana, too, as she's pretty much solely responsible for me reading it.

    I'm so glad you mentioned Malicia...I thought she was such a unique character. Yes, a tad annoying, but in such a fun, fun way.

    (You cracked me up with the comments on your mom's kitty!)

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  4. This is one of the few Pratchett books I haven't read yet. I didn't know it was set in the Discworld. Oh and Cats will always rule, we think we have them as pets but it's actually the other way around!

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  5. Hooray, you enjoyed it :D

    And lol, this bit cracked me up: "I wish my mother's cat would have some life-changing moments" :D

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