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.
Click HERE to buy Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett from Amazon.com
Click HERE to buy Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett from BookDepository.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2012
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch, the daughter of a non-gifted mother and a warlock. When she casts a spell at her high school prom and it goes horribly wrong , her father decides she will be punished by being exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. It just goes downhill from there for Sophie. By the end of her first day at Hex Hall she has made three powerful enemies, developed a crush on a hot warlock named Archer, and been assigned to a roommate who just happens to be the only vampire in the whole school. Just when Sophie thinks it can’t possibly get worse, she learns that someone, or something, has been attacking students and her new roommate is believed to be the culprit. As Sophie delves deeper into the mystery she uncovers the deadliest secret of all: an ancient society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
Sissy: I had a love/hate relationship with this book and the subsequent two books in the series. It was one of those things where I HAD to know what happened and therefore had to buy the sequels but at times getting to the resolution made me feel fidgety and teeth-grindy.
Bubby: Pretty sure I bought all three of these and shared, but that’s not the point.
Sissy: Whatever. You know what I mean. I liked this author’s magical spin on diversity, and I liked the various twists and turns that kept things fairly interesting. The descriptions of Hex Hall and its matron were vivid and gave me anxiety, but in a good way. Plus there were some new and creepy paranormal beings introduced that could give me nightmares if I were an overly emotional person like Bubby.
Bubby: Not even going to respond to that attack on my character. (I am tender hearted, that’s all!) I did think that there was an overdose of teenage angst. I tend to lose patience quickly with kickbutt girl characters that agonize over whether or not the hunky boy really likes them. On the other hand, I probably would have reacted the same way that Sophie did had I been in her situation. Cute boys still make me swoon!
Sissy: The teenage angst helps with the character development and story line, but sometimes I just want to tell them characters to shut up and own their “ness.” I was conflicted about Archer and the mysterious Groundskeeper boy. I couldn’t decide which one I thought Sophie should love, or who looked more like Zac Efron and who looked more like Chris Hemsworth in my mind.
Bubby: Own their own “ness”? I think I need to buy you a dictionary for Christmas. You keep making up words! Yes, there was too much emphasis on teenage romance issues. But I liked both boys too and overall it was a great book and a great series. It kept me interested all the way through and I can’t wait to read more by this author. 3 3/4 bubbles from me.
Sissy: I did like them. I did read them. I do recommend them. But, if there was a new episode of “Downton Abbey”, I would have watched that instead. 2 1/2 bubbles.
© Bubble Bath Books 2012