Fairy Godmother Desiderata has died without doing any estate planning – leaving Princess Emberella at the mercy of the not so good and wise Godmother Lilith. Lilith is dead set on having a happy ending no matter what and she’ll stop anyone who tries to get in her way. Now a trio of witches from a neighboring land, Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg, must travel via broomstick to Genua and make sure that the age-old story of servant girl and prince ends differently this time. During the journey the witches face vampires, werewolves and even falling houses before they can battle it out with a power mad woman who is eerily familiar to one of their own.
Sissy: This book is not for people who take themselves too seriously. Terry Pratchett is a wickedly funny satirist and overly stuffed shirts might find him silly. But as I told my friend the other day, if you don’t take time for silliness in your life, your soul becomes constipated.
Bubby: Ooo, which friend? Can I guess? Never mind, I’ll be nice.
Sissy: In Witches Abroad, Pratchett revisits many familiar fairy tales. He teaches us about sensible magic and manages to crack me up on every page. Even the character names are hilarious. I tried to read funny bits out loud to my 17-year-old son today and he just looked at me like I was a blooming idiot.
Bubby: Yes! That’s the same reaction I get from my husband. I own almost everything Terry Pratchett has written and I often find his books so hooting funny that I laugh out loud. I try to share the funniness with my family but they are too closed-minded to appreciate dry British humor. That’s the disclaimer with these books. It seems that a reader will either find them side-splitting or just a pain in the side. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. If you appreciate old BBC television shows like “Fawlty Towers” or “Keeping Up Appearances” then you will enjoy Terry Pratchett. If not, well, just move on to the next review.
Sissy: Reading this book kind of reminded me of watching the movie Waking Ned Devine. And if you don’t like that movie, then skip this book and read Tolstoy. Or something from Oprah’s book list. The three witches, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick and Granny Weatherwax (see, can you even say that without giggling?) have great adventures amongst the “furriners” on their travels to the city of Genua.
Bubby: And Greebo, the salacious cat who is deadlier than a troop of Green Berets – can’t forget him.
Sissy: Greebo, who had “skin that looked less like a fur than a piece of bread that had been left in a damp place for a fortnight (and who) would attempt to fight . . . anything up to and including a four-horse logging wagon.”
Bubby: We don’t usually use quotes straight from the book but Pratchett’s writing is too good. One of my favorite things is Pratchett’s footnote explanations. For instance, he will mention “Bear Mountain”, which should have been called “Bare Mountain” (no trees, you see) and then put an asterisk at the end of the paragraph which links to a footnote on bad spelling, explaining all about when a badly educated deity cursed the seraph of Al-Yabi and how he was cursed to turn everything into Glod, who was a small dwarf from some mountain community thousands of miles away (instead of gold, you see) and now all the people in Al-Yabi are short and bad-tempered and it’s just so dang funny and, well, I can’t do it justice. Just go read the book already. I own it. You can borrow it.
Sissy: Unrestrained frivolity. Monty Python (but more literate and less crude) meets The Brothers Grimm meets Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Ha! Which brings me to my next point – why do we like books with magic and witches?
Bubby: We? As in us, sisters Bubby and Sissy? Or as in we, the human populace at large? Or we, imperially speaking, meaning you?
Sissy: What a frothing waste of words, Bubby. We (you and me, the Bubble Bath Bloggers) are not pagans who routinely light black candles and dance naked around the firepit.
Bubby: Well, except for last Thursday when –
Sissy: Shut up. I’m not done. We like books with magic and witches because they are good imaginative fiction. I don’t believe in magic because I believe that magic is simply science that I don’t yet understand. So all you uptight Harry Potter-book-burning, rioting peasants relax. We are not a coven.
Bubby: Because there’s only 2 of us and you need 3 for a proper coven, everyone knows that. No, seriously. No witchcraft practicing going on here.
Sissy: Okay. Now, back on topic. Read the witchy magic book. It’s good. 4 bubbles.
Bubby: Yep. Delightful. Be aware that not all Terry Pratchett books are created equally – if you’d like a list of which ones to read in which order, leave a comment or shoot us an email and I, Bubby, will share my knowledge. 4 1/2 bubbles.
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© Bubble Bath Books 2012
Tara is your average everyday teenager. One evening she is walking home alone after a fight with her boyfriend George. She begins to feel strange; tingly, with goosebumps. Suddenly, right in front of her, she witnesses a girl changing into a werewolf. Then the girl attacks. Without warning, Tara finds herself in a fight to the death – a fight that she wins. Stunned, she is found by a gorgeous boy named Wes who initiates her into a world she never knew existed. A world where if you aren’t a werewolf, then you are born to hunt them and the two factions are at war – with Tara and Wes caught between sides. Tara must find her place in this new world and decide who she is, who she loves and what she is willing to risk to have what she wants.
Bubby: I was initially thrown off by the title of this book. Dirty blood? Icky. Then I realized that it was a reference to Wes’ heritage. It was used as a slur, just like when Malfoy calls Hermione “mudblood” in Harry Potter. I knew right then that Max would become a great character – after all, so did Hermione! One might think that this book is going to be your typical teenager/werewolf/romance novel. One would be wrong. There are twists and turns and intricate plot changes that elevate it above the average.
Sissy: I was initially put off by the fact that this was a book with werewolves and the last dang thing I want to read about is werewolves anymore.
Bubby: But you liked it, didn’t you. Huh, admit it. You liked it.
Sissy: Yes I did like it and I’ll tell you why.
Bubby: I just bet you will.
Sissy: It wasn’t stupid like the last teenage magic book I read (which shall remained unnamed). The main character actually HAS a character and she finds the male love interest annoying because he’s a boy.
Bubby: She finds him annoying because he keeps secrets from her and drives a car (Aston Martin Volante, thank you very much) that no teenage boy has any right to be driving. Boys in expensive British sports cars are too cute. Not that I’d know from personal experience, mind you, but just look at James Bond. I rest my case.
Sissy: Also annoying is the fact that one of Wes’ powers is that he can make people forget things. And he pops up out of nowhere. But Tara also has powers and the book hints that she might have ones that are more unique and rare than his.
Bubby: I enjoyed the unique plot. Turns out that there is a secret alliance between Weres and Hunters that is trying to create peace between the two races. Wes and Tara have a special place in this alliance because for reasons I will not divulge, both the Weres and the Hunters want them on their side. Wes and Tara are also the only ones with “powers”.
Sissy: There are also sneaky and secret family connections and a surprising villain.
Bubby: Although she isn’t introduced until near the end of the story, I LOVED Tara’s grandma. She is a crusty no-nonsense old biddy who takes no crap, drives a Hummer and loves her family with all her heart. What’s better than that?
Sissy:Reminds me of you a little!
Bubby: Thanks! Although I only wish I drove a Hummer. Or a Mustang. Instead I drive a crappy minivan.
Sissy: I had a Porsche once.
Bubby: I remember. You made me ride in the non-existent back seat. And you only had it for like ten minutes.
Sissy: Fun sucker. That is what you are. OK, so back to the story. What is Grandma’s connection to the alliance? Is she CIA? OSS? A buyer for Bloomingdales? I will never tell.
Bubby: Actually, we don’t really find out much. That would be why there is book two, Cold Blood and book three, Blood Bond. Haven’t had a chance to read them yet, but they are high on my list.
Sissy: And when Bubby buys them, I will borrow them.
Bubby: You are my favorite book collection parasite.
Sissy: Your life would be nothing without me.
Bubby: OK. Whatever. I really liked Dirty Blood and I give it 3 1/2 bubbles.
Sissy: It was good, but not memorable for me. 3 bubbles.
© Bubble Bath Books 2012