[Book Review] Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

Raising steam

This post is slightly blasphemous for me to write. Why? Because I didn’t love this as much as I thought I would.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a good book. Even on an offday, Terry Pratchett wipes the floor with most authors.


About the book: http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/index.php/books/raising-steam

To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork – a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of the elements: earth, air, fire and water. This being Ankh-Morpork, it’s soon drawing astonished crowds, some of whom caught the zeitgeist early and arrive armed with notepads and very sensible rainwear.

Moist von Lipwig is not a man who enjoys hard work – as master of the Post Office, the Mint and the Royal Bank his input is, of course, vital . . . but largely dependent on words, which are fortunately not very heavy and don’t always need greasing. However, he does enjoy being alive, which makes a new job offer from Vetinari hard to refuse . . .

Steam is rising over Discworld, driven by Mister Simnel, the man wi’ t’flat cap and sliding rule who has an interesting arrangement with the sine and cosine. Moist will have to grapple with gallons of grease, goblins, a fat controller with a history of throwing employees down the stairs and some very angry dwarfs if he’s going to stop it all going off the rails . . .


So to why I don’t think it worked to the same degree as say the book Thud! did. Well for one thing, I think the book was too short. We know and love all the characters, but there was little or no development past what we know about people like Vimes, Vetinari or even Harry King. First time readers or casual Pratchett fans would be hardpressed to find the humour and irony in some of the passages, because they lack the deepset knowledge of the more serious fans.

I feel that Terry Pratchett wrote this book for his fans and not for the public. I’m a fan, so I did like the book. As mentioned, it wasn’t his best nor the most unique (following the same Moist von Lipwig storylines – introduce new concept to Discworld, everyone goes mad), but it was entertaining and I would definitely recommend buying it.

Here’s some ratings I pulled out my ass, but should give you an idea about the book:

Characters: 7/10

There aren’t any long term characters introduced in my opinion. We got possibly a few minor characters here and there, but none that stuck out strongly.

Humour: 7/10

I found it funny, but I doubt it’ll translate well if you’re not a huge fan.

Overall: 7/10

Not bad overall, but I feel like it missed a chance to really push a new direction even further into more mature humour and away from the slightly childish tones of the early Discworld novels.

However, if you love Terry Pratchett, give it a read. If you’re buying this for someone who doesn’t know his work, give him something else to read from his extensive and amazing collection.



4 thoughts on “[Book Review] Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett”

  1. I haven’t read this one yet. Out of interest, which is your favourite Pratchett novel? I think mine might still be Guards! Guards!


    1. Well I tend to separate his books into 2 categories: his early work up until the truth and his later work after that novel. For his early work; men at arms was my favourite. For his more recent and mature books, I would say it’s gotta be Thud! . Do you like his more recent works?


      1. I Haven’t kept up very well since Feet of Clay and that was a long time ago. I started to find it all a bit ‘samey’ but I do love his writing. I’ll catch up one day – I’ll read Thud! on your recommendation 🙂


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