Hello to all my readers. I must apologise by the way for my somewhat inconsistent review schedule as of late. I’m hoping to keep things a bit more frequent in the near future. Now I’m on something of a fantasy kick personally at the moment so I thought I’d return to Sir Terry Pratchett once again.
I’ve been listening to Thief Of Time so why not discuss it for a review? A simplified version of the plot is as follows: Time is a resource. It always has been and it has to be managed. On the Discworld that is the job of The Monks Of History who store it and move it to places where it could be used. But there’s a problem. The Auditors – think of them as celestial bureaucrats…INCREDIBLY officious bureaucrats – have commissioned the world’s first truly accurate clock and if it strikes the hour…it will stop all of reality. And that’s just the start of the problem!
Much like my review of Mort from not too long ago, (Audiobook Review: Mort by Terry Pratchett: A Discworld Novel) much more goes on in this story than I describe here. There’s Death’s granddaughter Susan – who Pratchett himself described as a Goth Mary Poppins – as well as the return of Death himself, a perfectly Discworld take on Frankenstein, the use of luxury chocolate as ammunition and more side-splitting asides and comments than you can shake a stick at! Although I should make it clear that this is considerably later in the series. Thief Of Time was number 26 in the series as opposed to Mort as number 4. It is also the fifth book in the series to either focus on or have Death as an important side character.
Pratchett’s writing is just as wonderful as ever, getting more than a few grins and hearty laughs out of myself. He still knew how to sprinkle in those comments that made you think occasionally in-between his trademark humour. But there have been some changes on the audio side.
The audiobooks are still produced by ISIS Audiobooks however things are MUCH MUCH clearer. This makes it considerably easier to hear all the comments and jokes throughout the novel. It almost definitely helped that this particular audiobook was produced much later – I believe at some point during the late 2000s. The narrator is also different. This audiobook along with the other later Discworld books and various assorted compendiums was narrated by a Mr Stephen Briggs. According to what I can find out Stephen is something of a Discworld superfan given that he has adapted several books in the series for theatre productions and has been involved in several Discworld related projects.
His narration is rather enjoyable. His tone of voice certainly suits audiobooks and he’s very skilled at altering his voice to suit the attitude of the characters in the moment. His Susan is note perfect in my opinion as well as his ‘depiction’ of The Auditors. However there is one thing he does which may prove a problem for other listeners. He seems to choose an accent which either suits a specific character or group of characters. This ordinarily isn’t a problem and the vast majority of accents in the book aren’t a problem. However the main character Lobsang Ludd is part of the order of The History Monks. These History Monks with a few exceptions are all given comedic attempts at Asian accents. These accents aren’t intended to be problematic and in my opinion they reach a good balance in most cases but it is very much something that can only be judged on a listener by listener basis. I only noticed due to the fact that every so often he occasionally over-emphasises the accent at which point it becomes awkward but that only occurs during a few points in the audiobook and his intention is clearly to just tell the story in a comedic way that suits the writing. Personally I believe he passes with flying colours but not everyone will feel the same.
Overall I loved this audiobook. Sir Terry was tapping into a pure seam of creativity and Mr Briggs succeeded admirably in narrating the madness that is Discworld. If you want a good laugh and you’ve listened to the rest of the Death stories? Or if you want an example of later Pratchett and you like jumping in blindfolded? Then listen to the story of the Thief Of Time!
A truly gold star worthy story! But…you know what? I’m still not done with Sir Terry just yet. But this time he won’t be the sole author. I’m overdue to talk about Neil Gaiman anyway.