Book Review: Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Pyramids is a wonderful Discworld standalone novel. And I’m glad I revisited it after so many years. It was better than I remembered. The book was funny, insightful, and it swept me in from the start. I especially loved the Assassins’ Guild part and would have liked to stay longer in Ankh-Morpork.

The book had a great middle, showing what it is like to have a reversed culture shock and go back after being away for a long time. And understand the customs once held dear are odd and peculiar and make no sense. That is one reason why travel is good for you (despite flying being bad for the environment.) It would be nice if there were pods we could step in and have a distance to our own personal and societal problems and see them in a new perspective. I have read astronauts experience something along the line. So a yearly trip to space sounds like a reasonable request for your local government official.

Pyramids is riddled with funny lines about religions, traditions, and gods. They made me smile and appreciate how versatile Terry Pratchett’s understanding was. He delivered acute observations about religions in one-liners that take from academics a whole book to explain. With my background in Comparative Religion, I can say he nailed his observations. Religions, traditions, and gods are as funny as he makes them out to be. This is why I love his work. He knew what he wrote about even when didn’t have to.

The only downside in Pyramids was the messy ending which was all over the place. The scenes were funny as standalone, but when put together they felt disconnected. The ending felt odd and unfinished as if Terry Pratchett didn’t know what to do with all the characters and with the Discworld greatest mathematician (my favorite character.) If I’m honest, despite the clever observations in the middle, I would have liked the book to stay in Ankh-Morpork and be about assassins. There was something magical in the beginning. It felt more real than the whole kingdom of Djelibeybi.

But what about my reaction? I enjoyed the book, but it didn’t make me think. Maybe because of sitting over seven years in Uni and learning about the mechanics behind religion(s), I have grown numb to the subject. While Arthur’s beliefs about sacrificing a goat before bed made me smile, it didn’t make my brain go aha! But it made me tip my proverbial hat to the master and appreciate his wit and wisdom. Still, I would say if you haven’t read the book go and find it in your local library and have an amazing time.

Thank you for reading!

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