Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 448
I love Sir Terry’s Discworld series, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t too taken with Hogfather – it’s a good enough story, but it just didn’t resonate with me. I think it’s probably because I don’t like Christmas, and so a book that takes a look at the religious celebration through Pratchett’s unique perspective, whilst a good thing for other people, just doesn’t really work for me.
One of the strange things here, in fact, is that I preferred the TV movie adaptation of the book, and I also preferred the graphic novel version that I happen to have lying around. I think it’s just that a Discworld book is typically pretty long, and in this instance, I just don’t think I cared enough about the story line to really enjoy reading it.
All of that said, some of Pratchett’s most-loved characters are here, and so in many ways, you need to read it just for that, if you’re a fan of them. Death makes an appearance, as he is wont to do, and so does his daughter, Susan. In fact, Death is forced to take on the role of the Hogfather, after the bearded old man goes missing. I’m saying no more than that about the plot, though – I don’t want to ruin it for you, if you decide to go ahead and read it.
Of course, you’re aware that if Death is knocking around, then the Death of Rats probably isn’t far behind, and neither is his servant, Albert. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like they’re at their strongest here, perhaps because it’s the Hogfather himself who takes the centre of attention, rather than any of the characters.
Still, there’s also some great stuff in terms of the way in which narrative causality works – yeah, I went there, this review just got deep. In the Discworld, if enough people believe something, it’ll become real – expect to see guest appearances from the gods of missing socks, and various other bizarre creatures that appeared in Pratchett’s mind.
Overall, I’d still say that the Hogfather is worth reading, but not straight away – maybe read some of the other Discworld books, and then save the Hogfather for Christmas. In fact, I’d strongly recommend reading Mort before this, because that’s when you’ll be introduced to a lot of the characters that you’re seeing here, and I’d argue that Death himself was at his finest in Mort. Besides, you’ll want a bit of background, and that’s the perfect book to provide it, but try to save watching the movie version of the book until after you’ve read it.