I’ve seen a bunch of people mention they haven’t read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and that they’d like to start, but are intimidated by the 41 books he’s published in the series.

It’s a lot of books, true. And if you’re one of those people who must do things in order, they’re numbered–good luck!

This post is for everyone else. The series arcs are character-focused, so you can read one and then move onto another without missing anything. Or only read the character arcs that appeal, since there are only so many hours in a day.

small gods

Small Gods–Om should be a big god, powerful and strong–except all his followers aren’t really worshiping him any more, so he has dwindled. Only Brutha, the novice, has true faith–and it will be up to him to save his god. Brutha is a kind, easy to relate to without being annoying perfect kind of character, and the discussion on religion versus faith is interesting.

monstrous regiment

Monstrous Regiment–Polly Perks needs her brother to run the family inn, so she cuts her hair and dresses as a boy to join the army as “Oliver” to find him. Fighting alongside trolls, zombies, and vampires, the regiment has plenty of secrets beside “Oliver’s” identity. This one has a lot of funny moments and judiciously placed socks–watching Polly try to be a boy has the typical moments of overcompensation, but she learns some things about gender and personality.

moving pictures

Moving Pictures–Holy Wood has developed a new technology, and the alchemists are messing with images and reality, as if there’s no possible consequences. On the Discworld, magic has a peculiar way of warping and changing reality in unexpected ways. This is one of the weirder ones, where Pratchett’s typical quirky humor swerves more towards the odd than usual–but explores fame and the movies in an amusing fashion.

pyramids

Pyramids–Teppic isn’t quite sure what to do as pharaoh–he has to build a burial pyramid for his father, deal with some spectacularly crazy priests, and uncover some secrets in his kingdom–tasks he’s not well prepared for, but has to tackle nonetheless. This is probably my least favorite by comparison, but has some things to say about culture clashes.

amazing maurice

Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents–Maurice the cat and several rats are intelligent animals, working with a human boy named Keith to ‘infest’ a town, then Keith and Maurice removes the rats for a fee.  Then they find a town already infested with rats, and some truly frightening rat-catchers. (Warning: though this has the typical humor, it’s also a bit darker in places.) I like this one for its twist on the Pied Piper story, and the rodents and cat are well developed and fascinating people in their own rights.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

7 responses »

  1. Marcia says:

    Very interesting, Caitlin. I’m one of those people who is looking for a way into the Pratchett world. After reading the 4-book Wee Free Men Series, which I was enchanted by and absolutely adored, I’ve been stuck trying to decide whether to start at the beginning of the 41 and just plow right through them, or look for stand-alones, or shorter series-within-the-series books, like the Wee Free Men. So each of these books represents a smaller series on Disc World, like WFM did? (Just wanting to be sure I’m understanding you correctly.) Thanks for the thoughtful summations, too. They all saound interesting to me.

    • caitlinstern says:

      These are all stand-alones, single books focusing on a main character that doesn’t have another book devoted to them.

      Though they do have a chronological place relative to the history of Discworld as a world, any one of them can be read–or skipped–without effecting the reading of anything else.

      If you liked Tiffany, I think you’d like Polly, too.

  2. moosha23 says:

    Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is much loved by me! I’ve read about seven books in the series…and Nation too. The Wee Free Men arch really stood out, and Thud! As well as Going Postal and Making Money – which were pretty awesome in their right too. I long to read them in order…we used to have nearly all the Discworld books in our storage shed, but that had flooded and the books couldn’t be saved. It was a very sorrowful time. 😦

    • caitlinstern says:

      Oh, no! That is very sad.

      I’ve read pretty much all of the Discworld series from libraries, and have been slowly acquiring the books from used bookstores.

      If you loved Going Postal, you should get your hands on Raising Steam–it has some of the same main characters in it.

  3. Fab post 🙂 I’ve been recommended ‘Guards! Guards!’ as a good place to start….I had a really old school Discworld computer game for the PC when I was little that was just hilarious. It’s crazy really that I never got into the books (probably, as you say, because there are so many. Have you read Pratchett’s Good Omens? Brilliant book aside from Discworld..

    • caitlinstern says:

      I have read Good Omens, and some of Pratchett’s other stuff. There’s a bunch of different places you could start, for sure. The books are pretty forgiving in providing back story along the way.

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