Small Gods feels like a tipping point for the Discworld series. Not only the ending is better thought through (oh, I liked the mini-ending and the actual one, no spoilers though,) but behind the story, you get a glimpse of Pratchett’s anger. Small Gods is his argumentation about (against?) organized religion and about the need to uphold fundamental truths with any cost. It a story that follows Brutha who will experience awakening by meeting his God. It kind of complicates things. Who would have thought?
Small Gods is full of clever play on religious history (turtle moves!), religions, philosophy, and what it is like to have an inventive mind. And I would call it a storified playbook for how to become a prophet. The first time reading the book (in my teens) I didn’t get half of the references sitting plainly there to be read, but now I enjoyed the book more than then. But it was exhausting to read more than some “lighter” Discworld books as there was so much to catch up with (the philosophical concepts, hidden puns… turtle moves!) But I’m not sure if I love Small Gods as I do say like Hogfather, but I appreciate it more.
The problem with the book is that it had some messiness and weakness in the middle which can lose the interest of the reader. The story itself isn’t as heartwarming as usually and I think it brought the subject of religion and gods up very one-sidedly from the perspective of doctrinal religion. There are no characters to fall in love with as there usually is. Brutha is nice but not relatable. Maybe Lu Tze, but he is only a passing character here and there. But as a story, it is great and stronger than some previous works.
Rereading Small Gods was a good thing, as a teenager, I didn’t understand what I was reading about. Not having such a fast knowledge of history, philosophy, and religions. It is a good book, and the ending will leave a just feeling inside, but it is not a happy story I would say.
Thank you for reading!