In the first part of Thief of Time, I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Well, I’m confused.
Wen the Eternally Surprised
I feel like that should be my name. It’s literally what I do for a living, y’all. ETERNALLY SURPRISED FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT.
Anyway, oh lord, am I lost. I cannot avoid saying this, but I can’t figure out what time this first scene takes place within. Modern time? Is it a flashback? Initially, I was ready to write it off as relatively unimportant. It felt like Pratchett just set up a joke at the beginning about the nature of time, but then there’s this:
Clodpool hesitated. There was something about his master. There was a glow in his eyes and, when he moved, there were strange silvery-blue lights in the air, like reflections from liquid mirrors.
Okay, what is that? And who is the “she” that Wen refers to? Does he really possess some sort of power, or am I right in thinking this is just the set-up for a punchline? I DON’T KNOW.
Is this a Death book? A Witches book? Do they just make appearances? Is this all about a new character, Jeremy Clockson? I DON’T KNOW? I also don’t understand the buttered toast thing, since the only reference I’m aware is that whole thing about buttered toast landing upside-down if you drop it. (So we should put them on the back of cats to test TRUE PHYSICS.)
Pratchett makes a big deal at the start of this about knowing the whole story, and it’s how Death makes his entrance into the book. Even if you set the toast bit aside (it’s really hard for me to visualize physical descriptions), the only real thing we get a confirmation of is the those damn Auditors are back. Something has gained their attention, and we all know from the last time that that’s not a good thing. Yet it’s upon that reveal that Death asks to see one of his memories (which he stores away, since he has so very many of them), and I’M BACK TO BEING CONFUSED AGAIN. At the end of the scene, I wondered if Death himself had visited Nanny Ogg to ask for her services as a midwife, but the hooded character doesn’t speak in all-caps. There’s this, too:
Then she took something out of her bag, which was now a good deal emptier and, brandy glass in her hand, sat down to look at it.
“Well,” she said at last, “that was… very unusual…”
Does this have anything to do the whole Five Horsemen thing? IS THIS A GOOD OMENS CROSSOVER. Okay, probably not, as I’m sure I would have heard something back when I read that book. Oh god… is the teddy bear mug reference meant to hint that SUSAN will be in this book?
I have nothing but questions.
Honestly, we’re given a lot of information at the start of Thief of Time, so that’s mostly what this review is. I’m used to Pratchett being deliberately vague about the intent or aim of his books in the beginning of them, but this felt like a whole new level of confusing. At least I understand the very basic mechanics of watch-making, and at least Jeremy’s job has a direct relevance to the title. (I’M SMART.) But then there’s Lady Myria LeJean, for who money is no object. All she wants is the world’s most accurate watch, and she wants Jeremy to build it. There’s a lot of back-and-forth between them about what is and isn’t possible, but it’s clear that Lady LeJean knew that if she spoke Jeremy’s language, she could convince him to work on the impossible.
Because what she describes is impossible, right? Timing a clock to the universe’s tiniest mode of passing time? The “tick of the universe” as it’s described in the text. (Which Pratchett appears to be including in the book, too.) But the big question is left unaddressed: WHY? Why does Lady LaJean need this?
I know absolutely nothing, y’all.
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