Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 416
Nation is something of an anomaly when you compare it to the rest of Pratchett’s work, because it’s not a Discworld book and because the vibe is much more focussed on the story line than on the inherent humour of the situation, which is how Pratchett made his name.
It’s definitely worth reading though – you can expect a lot of twists and turns, and the story itself reminds me of Lord of the Flies, which is no bad thing. Pratchett’s writing is as sharp as ever, and I must admit that this is probably one of my favourite non-Discworld books, and I fricken loved the Johnny Maxwell series.
Basically, a boy called Mau is alone when the end of the world arrives, a huge wave which destroys everything that Mau has ever known. He’s left to fend for himself, and along the way he meets another survivor – a girl. Yeah, you can see where this is going.
I won’t tell you any more than that, because I don’t want to spoil it for you if you want to read it, but I can tell you that it’s picked up a hell of a lot of accolades – The Independent called it “one of his finest books yet”, and Fantasy and Science Fiction said it was “just possibly the best book Pratchett has ever written”. I wouldn’t quite go that far, but it is a gripping read, and despite the relatively large page count, it’s not difficult to get through. The print is pretty big and it’s easy on the eyes, and so you’ll find yourself whizzing through the pages without even realising it.
Another good thing about it is that it’s a standalone, and so you can just enjoy it for what it is – you don’t need to worry about whether you’ve read Pratchett’s other books or not, because they don’t really have an influence on it. For me, that makes it a great little book to read if you’re new to his work – getting started on the Discworld requires some serious planning, and in many ways I’m glad that I’ve already read most of the series. But with Nation, you could spot it in a charity shop and get started, discover how awesome Pratchett is and then move on to the Discworld when you’re ready to commit. Be sure to come back to let me know what you think!