Making Money by Terry Pratchett. ★★★★
Making Money is the thirty-sixth book in the Discworld series and the second following Moist von Lipwig. While you could plausibly read Making Money with no prior Discworld experience, I’d suggest having read the first book about Moist, Going Postal, first.
The Ankh-Morpork banking system is hidebound and not up to snuff for Vetinari’s plans for the city. Solution? Put Moist von Lipwig, former conman turned city employee in charge of the Royal Mint.
“‘Look, banking is supposed to be dull! Numbers, pensions, a job for life!’
‘For life possibly, but apparently not for long,’ said Vetinari, clearly enjoying this.”
However, the traditional rulers of the bank are the Lavish family, and they’re not about to let Moist take away their personal piggy bank. He’ll have to rely on his wits to find success.
I don’t think Making Money is as good as Going Postal. A piece of this could be that most of Moist’s character development has already taken place. Another could be that this is one of the more topical Pratchett novels, focused on satirizing a specific subject, in this case banking and economics. Not that this isn’t hilarious and well done, but I find that it’s limiting. Still, Pratchett’s exploration of what money actually is is both interesting and funny. He focuses a lot on the idea of how money relies on trust and belief. And who understands this better than a conman?
“It was a dream, but Moist was good at selling dreams. And if you could sell the dream to enough people, no one dared to wake up.”
I do continue to love Pratchett’s characters, and I enjoyed the return of Moist, Adora, and Vetinari. The addition of Gladys, the female golem was also a highlight.
One of the things I really love about Discworld novels is how they build upon each other and intertwine, especially in Ankh-Morpork. A discovery in Thud! led to Vetinari’s new plans for the city, called the Undertaking, which will include new docks and sewers. This also shows one of the best things about Discworld – that it can change. It’s gone from a parody of medieval fantasy to something much more modern. It’s hard to think of a fantasy world that’s grown as much.
“Sometimes the finest hour is the last one.”
I would recommend Making Money, although I’d suggest reading Going Postal! beforehand. More than anything, I cannot help but recommend this series as a whole. I’ve never found a fictional world that I love more than Discworld.