Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I prefer the matured writer

When I requested the eGalley of this novel I didn’t realize it was geared toward juvenile readers ages nine to twelve. That didn’t put me off once I found out, though. I was first turned on to Pratchett’s writing by his Tiffany Aching series for teen readers, and it was from there I started reading the Discworld novels. I thought the juvenile book would be similar to both of these: full of wit and humo, and excellently plotted. I was wrong.

Dragons at Crumbling Castle is a collection of short stories Pratchett wrote for kids when he was a young journalist. Reading the first few stories I thought that perhaps the novel would be good as a read-aloud for my young nephews, but it’s a bit too off kilter for that. It’s as though young Pratchett is trying too hard to be witty and not quite succeeding. 

As a writer I did find this collection interesting. Pratchett’s current, mature, writing style is excellent. It’s biting satire wrapped in intriguing plots with fascinating characters and amazing world building. It was instructive to realize that he probably had to work to find that style and convey it effectively to readers. 

Conclusion: It’s worth reading if you’re a Pratchett fan. The peek into the young writer’s mind was interesting and the stories are quirky. I’m not sure that today’s juvenile audience would enjoy them, though individually they might make really cute picture books for ages five to seven.  

Pratchett, Terry. Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales. New York: Clarion Books, 2015. 2 Stars.

Disclaimer: I received an eGalley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in the review are mine alone. 

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