Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. ★★★1/2
Pyramids is a stand alone and the seventh book in the Discworld series. It’s also always been one of my least favorites. I would recommend starting with Guards! Guards!, Going Postal, The Wee Free Men or Small Gods instead.
Teppic was sent off to be trained as an assassin in Ankh-Morpork, but now his father’s dead and he’s the pharaoh of a small river kingdom obsessed with pyramids and the past, Djelibeybi. Obviously, this kingdom is inspired by ancient Egypt.
The bit piece characters here were funnier than in some of the previous books, but I think the most interesting character to me is Dios, the high priest for as long as anyone can remember and the voice of Tradition. Teppic himself is alright if rather bland, which is a rather good description of Pyramids compared to the rest of the series. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still funny and it’s certainly better than the first two books, but there’s nothing that makes it stand out.
The main female character (and the only significant one), Ptraci, has the awkward problem of not being needed until the last ten pages. She thus does hardly anything and is even nonapparent for large portions of the book. Basically, she fails the sexy lamp test* for everything but the last few pages where she’s needed to give the protagonist a resolution (although not a romantic one). So, all in all not great.
What’s interesting is that I noticed some ideas that would latter be refined in the superior Small Gods. I wonder if Pyramids is what gave him the idea for the later book?
I’d recommend this one to people who are already fans of Discworld.
*Defined as “Can you replace the character with a sexy lamp and still have the story work?”