In any long running series, sequelitis is bound to set in at some point. It is an inevitability, along with getting the sniffles during flu season or craving anything and everything displayed on a cooking show. Someone neglected to inform Terry Pratchett of this fact, however.
‘Raising Steam’ is the fortieth book in his ‘Discworld’ series and it shows no signs of slowing down at all. It could, in fact, be said to be plowing forward full steam ahead! *winkwink*
The plot follows the invention and introduction of the steam engine to Discworld by brilliant inventor Mister Simnel. This creation catches the eye of Sir Harry King, and by partnering with the city Patrician, Lord Vetinari, they decide to create the very first railway. Returning favorite Moist von Lupwig is brought on board to oversee the project, and it is here that the story begins in earnest.
Complications quickly arise in the form of a series of Dwarven terrorist attacks that continually threaten the railways completion. Moist and Mister Simnel must also contend with frustrating politicians and a surprise deadline along with their trailblazing escapades. All the while, a growing mountain of complications piles up around them.
This combination of playing around with real-world history and sprinkling it in with the magic and varying cultures unique to Discworld makes much of the adventure a real treat. It is the varying perspectives and continual shifts of narration which prove to be both a plus and a minus. Later on in the story, the character switching adds well-built tension into the drama filled final act, but can be a bit overwhelming in the beginning when trying to acquaint (or reacquaint) one’s self with the ensemble cast. But this one wrinkle is far from enough to drag down this rousing tale which seems destined to pull an aged series into a new and exciting age.
Anyone looking for a varied take on the steampunk subgenre or a rousing fantasy adventure will find much to love here!
Publication Date: October, 2014 Publisher: Anchor Books
Page Count: 365 ISBN: 978-0-8041-6920-2