Full of Pratchett’s trademark wit and humor, Raising Steam is a tour de force of comedic fantasy and proves that despite recent health issues and uncertainty about his future as a novelist, Terry Pratchett is still a wordsmith and storyteller at the top of his game.
Steam power has come to Discworld and caught in the middle of it all is the irascible (but oh-so-lovable) Moist von Lipwig, the golden-tongued swindler and conman. As if running the Royal Mint, Royal Bank and Post Office of Ankh-Morpork wasn’t enough, Moist is quickly thrown to the wolves after being named (err… forced) by Lord Venitari to the role of civil representative for the new railway system as it spreads its tendrils through Discworld, maneuvering between mountains of trouble (literal, figurative and, well, always enormous) at every turn.
Moist von Lipwig, who should be recognizable to Discworld fans for his appearance in some of Pratchett’s most loved novels, returns to the Ankh-Morpork’s spotlight after being handed the responsibility of handling the next great invention on Discworld: the steam engine. As expected, hilarity and much fuss ensues, leaving Moist to navigate the politics and fast-moving (no pun intended) world of steam-powered locomotion. Add to this a civil war among the dwarfs, who are none-too-fond of the new-fangled railway, and you’ve got a story that’s chockfull of amusing misadventures, hair raising escapes and, as Pratchett fans will expect, a few genuinely tender and perceptive moments, too.
By setting a civil war alongside the invention of the steam engine, Pratchett examines how societies deal with the rapid and uncontrollable pace at which the world changes around them. Change is in the air in Ankh-Morpork, and not all of its citizens are happy about it. As the city simultaneously celebrates an invention that is single-handedly changing the world, and deals with a violent civil war, Pratchett throws Moist and his companions right into the mix, and thematically explores many issues that concern our modern society, including terrorism, the nature of progress, and the stress of a society that moves faster and faster every day.
Raising Steam is fun and funny, touching, silly, action-packed and full of great social commentary.
If you’re a long-time Pratchett fan, you know what to expect here. Raising Steam is fun and funny, touching, silly, action-packed and full of great social commentary. This is the 40th Discworld novel, and Pratchett has made is so far by continually growing his loveable world and introducing readers to characters that they won’t soon forget. If you’re a newcomer, like me, Raising Steam is a great place to dip your toes into Ankh-Morpork and Discworld. Pratchett’s writing is amusing, his tale full of twists and turns that leaving you either scratching your head or laughing (or, not uncommonly, both!) and characters that stick around with you after you’ve turned the final page.