The Shepherd’s Crown is the forty-first and final Discworld novel. This is an emotional experience. While I’m sad that the Discworld series is over, I feel like The Shepherd’s Crown is an appropriate ending.
If you haven’t read at least the witch novels (starting with Equal Ritesor Wyrd Sisters) and the Tiffany Aching novels (starting with The Wee Free Men), please don’t pick up The Shepherd’s Crown. This is a book to end on, not begin with.
The Shepherd’s Crown is the fifth novel following Tiffany Aching witch of the Chalk, and the Discworld has greatly changed since it began in 1983 with The Color of Magic. It is more industrialized and modern, much closer to our own world than the medieval fantasy land it started out as. After a devastating event early on in the novel, the elves, a sinister and parasitic species who live in Fairyland, sense a chance to wreck havoc on the Disc. But this is no longer a world kind to elves – iron burns their skin and negates their magic, and since the coming of the train in Raising Steam, iron has filled the land.
Still, the elves will ride out. And Tiffany and the other witches will be there to stop them.
Raising Steam is the fortieth book in the Discworld series and definitely not one you should start with! While it’s the third following Moist, there’s significant appearances from characters from other arcs, such as Vimes. Raising Steam is a book you’re better off reading if you’re already familiar with the majority of the Discworld series. If you haven’t read any Discworld books but are interested in starting, I would suggest Monstrous Regiment,Guards! Guards!, The Wee Free Men, or Going Postal.
The first time I read Raising Steam, I really didn’t like it. On a second read through… it wasn’t completely horrible. It has a few good spots. It suffers in comparison to other Discworld novels, but I also think it’s helped by the inclusion of so many characters I love. Am I forgiving it some failures because of this? Possibly.
On reread, Snuff wasn’t as bad as I remembered, although that’s not saying a whole lot. Its the 39th Discworld novel, and the series has definitely descended in quality for various reasons. If you’re interested in the Discworld series, try earlier novels such as Going Postal, Guards! Guards!,Monstrous Regiment, or The Wee Free Men.
In Snuff, Vimes is forced to take a holiday to the country. Of course, where ever a policeman goes, he will inevitably discover a crime.
I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book following Tiffany Aching, a young witch. While the plot of I Shall Wear Midnight is completely separate, I would suggest reading the earlier books, which start with The Wee Free Men, so you can see how Tiffany ages over the course of the series (so far it’s 9 to 15).
Unless The Shepherd’s Crown tops it, this is the darkest of the Tiffany books. Just to illustrate, in the beginning Tiffany is called out to deal with a situation where a thirteen year old girl who was pregnant was beaten so badly by her father that she lost the baby. In I Shall Wear Midnight, Tiffany has finished her training with the older witches and has taken over her own steading in the Chalk, which means dealing the messes and the people who fall through the cracks.
Unseen Academicals is the thirty-seventh book in the Discworld series, and not one I’d recommend starting with. While Unseen Academicals does stand alone, it contains a plethora of references to other books in the series, possibly the most self referential of any Discworld novels. Thus, I would suggest starting with Guards! Guards!, The Wee Free Men, Monstrous Regiment, or Going Postal instead.
On the surface, Unseen Academicals is about sports. Ponder Stibbons, the new Master of Tradition of the Unseen University, has discovered that over eighty percent of the university’s food budget is covered by a bequest that stipulates they put forth a football (or soccer, if you’re American) team at least once every twenty years. Time is run out, and for the sake of the cheese cart, the wizards must play football. Continue reading →
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.”
Tiffany Aching, the protagonist of The Wee Free Menand A Hat Full of Sky, is now almost thirteen and working for Miss Treason, a hundred and seventeen year old witch. When Miss Treason and Tiffany go to watch the dark Morris dance, where summer gives way to winter, the unprecedented happens: Tiffany, for reasons she cannot explain, joins the dance. Now she’s attracted the attention of the personification of Winter himself, and she’s risked a winter that never leaves…
“You danced into a story, girl, one that tells itself to the world every year. It’s the Story about ice and fire, Summer and Winter. You’ve made it wrong. You’ve got to stay to the end and make sure it turns out right.”