The Fifth Elephant (No Spoilers)

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This week’s novel is the The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett. This is a Sam Vimes story. Vimesis one of my favourite characters from the Discworld and I’m always excited to read one of his books. This novel stands apart from the other’s because it takes Sam Vimes outside of Ankh-Morpork.

This is intriguing, because Vimes is Ankh-Morpork. The city is the core of his being. He’s comfortable in it, nearly unstoppable. He’s spent his whole life within it’s walls and he knows the streets like the soles of his feet. It’s always interesting to see a character taken out of their depth and put into an unfamiliar and unfriendly environment. That Vimes has to travel to a place that is as alien as the moon to him only makes things more interesting.

The novel is takes place largely in Uberwald where dwarves, vampires, werewolves and Igor’s all live together in uneasy harmony. Pratchett uses this to make some interesting points on race relations and traditions. Drawing parallels between the Discworld and our own is not difficult, and is relevant even to this day.  As usual, he hides his rather vicious deconstruction of society behind comedy.

The plot is intricate and engaging, with a number of clues and mysteries to solve. All the characters you would hope show up show up and grow and evolve. The novel hums along nicely with each chapter pushing the towards to the conclusion.

Overall the Fifth Elephant had all of the elements that lend the Discworld novels it’s charms without having some of the pitfalls that sometimes show up. The novel was well plotted, charming, and in many parts, hilarious. I would fully recommend this novel to any fantasy lover, even someone who hasn’t read much or any of Terry Pratchett’s novels before.

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Stuff Matters Review

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Today’s book was Stuff Matters by Mark Midownik. This one was different that what I normally read. t’s a book about everyday materials and their stories of how they came to be and how they have evolved. materials such as paper, concrete, chocolate amongst others are explored.

Midownik masterfully blends history with science. It takes a special writer to keep me as engaged as he managed to. He skillfully keeps the reader interested mainly through the strength and colourfulness of his anecdotes. In today’s world effective science communicators are worth their weight in gold

While most of the information entered one ear and left through the other some stuck which is all I can ask for. The biggest take away was a different way of looking at the world around me. Everything has a story and can be interesting, if looked at the right way.

Not too much more to say about the book, other than it was interesting read. If you enjoy science then you should pick it up! If not you should still give it a go, you might find it interesting!