Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Thief of Time

Thief of Time
by Terry Pratchett
Pub. Date 2001

“They revealed an exquisite mask of a face that had nevertheless been made up by a clown. Probably a blind clown. And one who was wearing boxing gloves. In a fog. The woman looked at the world through panda eyes and her lipstick touched her mouth only by accident.” Pg. 246

Do you like snide, entertaining descriptions like the one above? Do you like stories with multiple parts that feel like they don’t belong, but by the end of the book mesh together perfectly? Do you like wacky worlds that somehow give you a better understanding of yourself and the world in which you live? Last of all, do you like British humour? Then this is the book for you! In fact, any of the Terry Pratchett Discworld series I highly recommend to you.

If you have not heard of the Discworld series, it is an accumulation of about 40 books that does not have to be read in any order because each one can stand on its own, although the more books you read the more references you understand from other books. Pratchett’s world development is complex, and yet able to be understood quickly. I find myself reading slower and slower in order to catch all the puns and references to modern society. His satires are smooth, and I often find myself reading passages multiple times just because they are so clever. There are several times I can’t control my snorts of laughter or my grin.

Thief of Time has three main story lines: an obsessed clockmaker, an apprentice History Monk, and a mysterious school teacher. When the “auditors” decide to have a clock built to stop time and freeze everyone on the planet, each person becomes involved in the situation in various ways. Quirky, imaginative, and flawlessly executed, I find myself going from contemplative to confused to cracked up. It is quite the trip.

This story and others in the series have very little violence, sexual connotation, or foul language. I would recommend these books for strong readers since the plot is so complicated with little dialogue and a lot of description. I would recommend it for both men and women, especially those who like science fiction and/or fantasy since there are elements of both. For those who love books like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Alice in Wonderland, or just a good satire, try these books.

Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart coverSteelheart
by Brandon Sanderson
Pub Date: September 24, 2013

What if Superman and people like him really did exist? Would the world be better?

Steelheart examines the idea that superheroes would use their power for their own selfish reasons instead of constantly saving the world. The protagonist, David, lives in Chicago after something happened which changed the atmosphere so that the sun doesn’t shine and certain people have strange powers, like the ability to fly or the power to create illusions. People with these powers are called Epics, and the most powerful rule different major cities. Regular people live in constant fear that an Epic will kill them or the people they love. The only people who dare to challenge Epics is a group known as the Reckoners—normal people who study Epics and discover their weaknesses in order to kill them.

Steelheart is the most powerful known Epic, and he rules Chicago with an iron fist while also maintaining it as the most powerful and stable community in the world. David, the protagonist, is a young man who watched Steelheart murder his father and then grew up in Chicago under Steelheart’s reign. David wants revenge against Steelheart, so David joins the Reckoners in order to study Steelheart, learn his weakness, and kill him.

I did not realize how much I would enjoy this book. I knew Brandon Sanderson was a great author, but I am not always a fan of science fiction or blow-em-up action-packed books. Yet, this story grabbed my attention and kept it long past the last page. I found myself on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next and how the Reckoners will get out of each scrape. I also loved cheering for regular people working as a team to fight for their freedom against all odds. There is a lot of action, and this action is supported with distinctive characters, strong plot, and a unique premise.

I highly recommend this book for people who like superhero stories, especially since normal people are the heroes in this version. It is also a great book for those who like a lot of action, strong characters, and good surprises with unseen twists and turns. I am excited to read the second book in this series, Firefight, which is already in print.