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The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
by Terry Pratchett

Semirrahge
classifications: Fantasy / Heroic / Humourous / Philosophical / Action

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I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett. I'll buy anything with his name on it, and I've read every single one of his books within reach. So, when I saw this book (for some reason stuck in the YA section of one of my two local libraries - I've since understood that it's actually written for the YA sector), I naturally grabbed it.

Wow. A single Discworld book, not requiring the background of the previous novels, and a winner. Granted, Terry Pratchett is good, but he's not perfect - some of his books are less than wonderful.

It follows the standard Terry Pratchett format, that of real world smashes headlong into modern fantasy, all ground up together with a healthy serving of Douglas Adams' ironic sense and Pratchett's own unique sense of humor.

Obviously based on "The Pied Piper of Hamlin" and constantly poking fun at it's own genre (The anthropomorphisation (Um. Is that a word?) of animals), he also manages to glue it all together with a story that is not only funny, lightweight and easy to read, but is also genuinely GOOD.

On the surface nothing strikes you blatantly as being really special - aside from his usual coolness - but upon finishing the story I've managed to see that not only did he add a moral to it, but he's got real-world advice scattered liberally around the pages.

The story chronicles the adventures of Maurice, a talking, razor-witted scheming cat (though you don't know he's a cat at the beginning), a group of thinking, talking rats (who, likewise, are not obviously rats at the beginning) - each with names like Dangerous Beans, Hamnpork, and Darktan (which are actually pretty standard Pratchett), and a "stupid-looking kid" who is a musician.

With Maurice providing the mental horsepower for the group (keeping them out of trouble and making sure that he gets what he wants :)), they find a likely village. The rats then infest the place, Maurice shows up with the kid, the villagers pay the kid money, and he plays his pipe, "leading" the rats out of the village.

However, the leading rats decide that this is unethical behaviour, and tell Maurice that it's time to stop. Maurice manages to convince them to do one more village, and that's where the real story begins.

If you are tired of reading heavy-handed philosophical fiction, take a break and visit Discworld for a while. If you are already an experience visitor, then you need to stop wasting your time reading this and go buy yourself a copy now. For the rest of you, you don't know what you've been missing. "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents" is not a half-bad place to start your journey - so get it on.

yep

Siedhr (January 14th, 2003, 7:27 pm)

good review, not overly "literary", reasonable length. I'm going to read the book btw. I'm a n00b of Discworld, only read first two volumes so far (Cohen is the man, they don't make it like that nowadays :().

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