Thursday, May 07, 2009

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Reason for Reading: Herding Cats Challenge, Dewey's Reading Challenge

The sea has taken everything.

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne's sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. . . .

Internationally revered storyteller Terry Pratchett presents a breathtaking adventure of survival and discovery, and of the courage required to forge new beliefs.

Dear Dewey,

I really don't know if I should be writing this letter to you or to Ana. I FINALLY READ Nation, Nymeth! So, yeah, aren't you both proud of me! I was starting to worry that it was going to wind up going back to the library unread, but I knew that you both loved it, so I had to read it. It's interesting. Ana is a huge Pratchett fan, while you had only read one Discworld book. I don't know what I am. All I know is that I think Good Omens is one of the greatest things I have ever read and Terry Pratchett co-wrote it with Neil Gaiman. (See, Carl, sometimes I say nice things about Gaiman... You don't have to cover your ears!). I have read a couple other books by Pratchett, but he was always just on the list for the most part. I know that Ana loves him, though, like I said, and that has always made me want to read more from him! I am glad that I finally did!

You did a nice summary:
The story takes place in the mid to late nineteenth century on a tiny island which has been nearly destroyed by a tsunami. One survivor remains from the entire nation: Mau. But survivors from other islands and from a shipwreck wash up on the island and help Mau rebuild his home. One character, Ermintrude (who says her name is Daphne) has the biggest adjustment to make. She’s an English girl who was on board a ship that runs aground on the island. Unlike the other survivors, she has no shared language, history, culture, or even similar appearance to the others. But they all learn to communicate.
I do know one thing, I would hate to be called Ermintrude! What a horrible name! (Uh, no offense on the chance someone reads this blog and happens to have that name...)

I also really liked this paragraph of yours:
I was particularly pleased by the end. The endings of books often irritate me; they’re either wrapped up too tidily, beating the reader over the head with closure, or things are left dangling, or the end is cliched, trite, predictable. This ending surprised me, in a good way. I thought I had it all figured out, knew how things would turn out. But I was wrong, and I was delighted with what Pratchett did with his final chapters.
I have the same problem! Often I finish books that I loved, but the ending leaves me trying to figure out what I truly thought of the book. Pratchett appears to write good endings, though. The book I read after it, I still haven't decided what I think of the ending! Good thing it isn't a book I plan to review this week...

Anyway, just between you and me, and well, everyone that is going to be reading this... (Brace yourself, Ana). I didn't think I was going to like this book. I was not very drawn in with the beginning, and it was more a sort of book that grew on me gradually. I was about halfway through and I discovered that I was really enjoying it, but it was not something that happened right away. I am glad that while I have seen some reviews of this book, it has not been reviewed to death. That often changes my opinion. (I am worried that is going to happen when I finally read The Hunger Games, for example). If I was sick of seeing thoughts on it, I might not have read it at all. So, I am glad that I did!

I can see why both you and Ana enjoyed this book. This further proves to me that I really have to read more Pratchett! Actually, now I want to reread Good Omens. I wonder if that will be as good with a reread? I am sure that no one really cares, but I have reviewed like 7 books today! I am allowed to go off on a tangent! (Even though I am scheduling them, so it doesn't really look like I reviewed that many...)

I am going to stop rambling now.

Until next time...

To read Dewey's review of this book, click here.


  1. I haven't read this one yet, but I do look forward to it. I have totally enjoyed the Pratchett books I've read so far. My husband and daughter are both reading his work right now. He's so original and funny, isn't he?

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this when you didn't expect to. It's always fun when that happens. :-)

    I just started Good Omens today, and so far I'm loving it!

  3. Booklogged: He is very original and funny! I hope you enjoy this book when you get a chance to read it.

    Darla: How cool that you are reading Good Omens! I loved that book. :)

  4. Nation, is one of my favorite Pratchett books (and I've more than a few of them). If you want to try some more, then either the Tiffany Aching Trilogy or Maurice and his Amazing Rodents would be good choices.

  5. I haven't read enough Pratchett to have a favourite yet. :) I have Maurice and His Amazing Rodents out from the library right now, though! I hope to get it read before I have to return it. :)

  6. I haven't read all of your review because I have Nation on my tbr pile and plan to read it soon. Will come back when I have.

    Oooh! Try to read Maurice before you have to take it back. It is *so* good and very thought provoking. And Tiffany Aching is great if you haven't already read those!

  7. Cath: I will read Maurice! :)

  8. Another good Terry Pratchett review... when will I get off my lazy butt and read something by him? (Like, oh, Wee Free Men, which is on my OUAT III list... LOL.)

    Good review, Kailana.

  9. Melissa: I know! I own several books by him and hardly have read him. Slacker me! Thanks!

  10. I'm very happy to hear you enjoyed it :D Even if you didn't think you would at first :P I think Terry Pratchett's YA books are some of his best, and also the best possible starting point. So try the Tiffany Aching series at some point! She's one of my absolute favourite YA protagonists. You know, I've seen reviews of Flora Segunda that compare Flora to her. And though I can see where they're coming from, I like Tiffany even better.

    Maurice is another one of my favourites!

  11. Ana: I really do plan to try and read more Pratchett books. It's slack of me that I haven't really read that many as of yet!


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