I have a motto for every reader out there and that is “if in doubt, pick up a Terry Pratchett book”
The greatest advantage of Terry Pratchett’s discworld series is that they can be read in any order. Not to mention that the Discworld is a colourful place filled to the brim with all of the mythological and fairytale creatures that we hear about. Only in this world, there is a certain twist to them. It is full of vampires, werewolves, golems, humans, witches, wizards and even Death himself (or itself). Many vampires, like Sally in this book, wear black ribbons as a sign from abstinence from human blood, while many werewolves, such as Angua, choose to pay farmers to set their chickens free so that they can chase them and let some steam off; a good alternative to tearing a human apart. His books tend to focus on some of these mystical species.
Dwarves and Trolls; this is what this book is essentially about. Set in the mystical cosmopolitan city of Ankh-Morpork, it is about the mystery murder of a Dwarf leader and the rising tensions between the Dwarfs and the Trolls, who historically hate each other.
And the commander of the Police force, or city watch as they are called, called Samuel Vimes is left to take care of all of it. It is up to him to solve the mystery before a violent Troll-Dwarf war occurs. As he races with his team to find the truth, maintain peace and order, as well as raising his child, it all culminates in yet another shocking discovery.
Now it all sounds serious and political, and in a sense there are serious messages within it. The historical aspect of the conflict between the Dwarves and Trolls reminded me of the real world irrational hate between ethnicities, one of the notorious ones being the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda which ended in a horrific genocide. But of course, it is not so one sided and dull, as Pratchett uses a combination of humour and real world parallels which are quite charming. The one thing I remember from the book clearly was a GooseBerry, a device obviously named after the Blackberry, that is owned by Samuel Vimes. It is also very much like a Blackberry in its functions; setting alarms, events, telling the time and carrying out mathematical calculations, except that it is not a simple machine, but a box that contains a mystic imp that speaks. Much more exciting than a machine with a screen.
That said, one major set back for me was a lack of chapters. The book seems to jump all over the place, leaving a lot to your imagination (I personally like that, but some readers may want to see the author’s descriptive skills) which gives it a sense of chaos. This is of course most likely intentionally planned by the author, but I would love to see more descriptive elements regarding the city of Ankh-Morpork itself. He does this in the earlier novels of Discworld, describing the smell, sounds, structure, and touch of the place.
One book is not enough to explore the world of Discworld, so once you finish this, then you will want to read every other Discworld book out there.