Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is one of my favourites. The long-running comedic fantasy books are set in a flat world held up by four elephants on the back of a giant turtle, and feature a recurring cast of characters including the inept wizard Rincewind, the witch Granny Weatherwax, and the Grim Reaper himself. Small Gods is the thirteenth book in the series, and follows Brutha, a novice who finds himself destined to become the newest prophet of the Great God Om. The joke is that Om has, for the past three years, been trapped in the body of a turtle.
If The Witcher wasn’t an international phenomenon before the Netflix show, it certainly is now. The adventures of the mutant monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia has recently been renewed for a third series, and shows no sign of its popularity dimming. It was adapted from the book series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, which were also made into the bestselling video games. The first book, The Last Wish, was published in 1993, and collected the 7 stories that introduced Geralt to readers. Framed as a series of flashbacks, they serve as a primer on the world of The Witcher as well as being good fantasy stories in their own right.
Under the Skin is probably better known as a film than a book. Released in 2013, it starred Scarlett Johansson as an unnamed woman who picks up male hitch-hikers. In the book, the character’s name is Isserley, who does the same thing, and gradually the reader discovers why. Though the film is disturbing, I found the book significantly more so, and the ideas and themes are very different from its adaptation. However, both are brilliant and compelling, and multi-layered in their explorations of ethics, the body, and loneliness.
Wizard of the Crow is the first book I’ve read so far this year, and it’s hard to see how anything’s going to top it. The epic story of the fictional Free Republic of Aburĩria has everything: drama, comedy, tragedy, romance, satire, and more than a little bit of magic. Clocking in at hefty 768 pages, it does require a certain level of commitment, but given that it’s such a richly satisfying novel, it’s worth every bit.
Atticus Book Reviews
Book reviews and reading recommendations written by volunteers and friends of the shop!