Snuff, and I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.I’m a huge fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. They are my comfort reads. Whenever I’m feeling blue or if I’m stuck in a reading slump I reach for the nearest Pratchett and my troubles soon disappear in bouts of laughter or, at the very least, some mirthful sniggers. I love Pratchett’s sense of humor and his wonderful ability to play with words (and footnotes) while telling a compelling story that holds a fantastical mirror up to our world. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on his latest,
Snuff is the 39th Discworld novel and continues the City Watch story arc. Commander Vimes is forced to take a vacation in the countryside with his family, Lady Sybil and Young Sam, where he soon discovers that something serious is amiss. You can take the watchman out of the city, but you can’t take the watchman out of Vimes. Vimes sets out to uncover what nefarious crimes the seemingly tranquil countryside is hiding and finds himself in the center of a ruthless smuggling operation. Will he succeed in bringing justice to those who need it the most?
Snuff is the darkest Discworld novel I’ve read so far. The humor is toned down quite a bit, but I think that is because it deals with some very serious issues – murder, slavery, human (species!) rights, the class divide, smuggling and corruption. There are still some brilliantly funny moments scattered throughout the novel. Young Sam’s fascination with poo and all things poo related resulted in quite a few sniggers. There are also some funny references to Twitter and even Jane Austen gets the Pratchett treatment.
The plot is engaging and progresses at a fast pace, like any decent crime novel should. Vimes is one of my favorite characters and I loved seeing him in action again. He has to struggle with his own darker nature throughout the novel, but he comes to realize that while there are similarities between him and the criminals, his control of his darker side and his unwavering belief in justice is what makes him such a good watchman.
The story culminates in a daring chase aboard a string of barges where Vimes has a final showdown with the criminals. In the end justice is done in more ways than one…
Overall I really enjoyed Snuff. It’s not a light, easy read like most of the other Discworld novels, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The issues Snuff deals with and the social commentary it provides is very apt and relevant in today’s society. Keep this one aside for the times when you are ready for something more serious with just a dash of humor thrown in for good measure.
The Discworld novels are more or less standalone, but you might want to read Thud! before reading Snuff in order to understand some of the references.
The Rating: 7/10 (Very Good)