I don’t have that much to say about Dodger, because as I said in my review of Maskerade, once you’ve commented on one Terry Pratchett novel, there’s not that much new that you can say about all the others. Dodger bends this rule slightly, because it’s a), a young adult novel, and b), not set on the Discworld. However, while Pratchett’s YA fiction is generally excellent, Dodger is one of the weakest books he’s published in years. Set in Victorian London, the titular lead is an urchin who gets by from fishing around in the sewers for valuables that have got lost down the drain, a life which gets turned around when he interrupts a murder and falls in love.
Maskerade -Terry Pratchett
Is it cheating to include a book that I’ve read before in this list? Probably yes, but I do have a confession to make. Even though I’ve long claimed to have read all the Discworld books, what I mean by this is, “I have, at one point or another, taken each of the Discworld books out of the library”. So I’ve been reading them, more of less in order, in fits and spurts for about a year now.
If I’m honest, aside from a few particularly outstanding examples (Night Watch, The Thief of Time and The Truth), and a few that are actually quite bad (Sourcery, Eric, The Last Continent (Coincidentally, all of which star Rincewind)), once you’ve written about one Discworld book, you’ve written about all of them. This is far from a bad thing, just that there’s only so many times you can really say “Brilliant characterisation, witty prose and a wonderful narrative” without it sounding repetitive.
Maskerade is fairly standard fare for the Witches, and Granny Weatherwax is a wonderful as ever, but there’s just something missing without Magrat there. It’s essentially a parody of Phantom of the Opera, which I might have appreciated more if I was more familiar with that. As it stands though, the book is still enjoyable.
As to whether I’d recommend it? It’s certainly not a good introduction to the series, and if you’ve read one of them and liked it, chances are you’ll come across Maskerade at some point. If you are a Phantom fan, then maybe seek it out, but otherwise, you’re not missing much.