Mark Reads ‘The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents’: Chapter 8, Part II

In the second half of the eighth chapter of The Amazing Maurice, THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD, HOLY SHIT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

Look, I don’t know what the fandom’s reaction was to this book when it came out or if it’s beloved, either. Even though I don’t know the behind-the-scenes stuff for the series or general fandom trends, I can usually gain some sense for how popular a book is. (For example, I know people respond to the Watch books and the Witches books a great deal. AND SUSAN.) But I have no idea for The Amazing Maurice! AND Y’ALL, I DEEPLY, DEEPLY LOVE THIS BOOK. Let’s talk about that.

Stories

There have been quite a few moments that resonated with me in the Discworld series, but HOLY SHIT:

“Well, I’ll tell you something,” she said. “If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.”

IF THAT ISN’T THE THEME OF MY WHOLE LIFE, THEN I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS. I love that this comes from Malicia, though. For the most part, her love of and obsession with stories is a negative thing. And I get why: she believes that the world outside of books is exactly the same as the world inside of books. This has not worked in her favor, and it’s in the scene where she’s trapped with Keith in one of the cellars that this feels most obvious. Y’all, she insults Keith because he’s not special enough for her! That whole line where she calls him “useless” is so endlessly cruel, so it makes sense to me that Keith would finally stand up for himself and point out how flawed Malicia’s outlook is. In short: SHE’S NOT HELPING AT ALL. The world doesn’t just fall into place perfectly so that all problems can be solved with a clever coincidence or a little bit of elbow grease.

But Malicia’s rejection of this isn’t just stubbornness. It’s indicative of a far more powerful worldview, one where she’s desperately trying to reclaim her love. I believe that her father truly hates storytelling, and I believe he’s treated Malicia less-than-kindly because of it. So I found it encouraging that in the face of all of this, she still chooses to cling to stories and their powers. It’s what she loves! It’s what she believes in! And giving her life a story means she gets to be the protagonist. She is not merely the Mayor’s daughter; she’s Malicia Grim, and damn it, this is her story!

To Live is To Die

I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW HEAVILY INVESTED I HAVE BECOME IN A GROUP OF TALKING RATS. How? How did Pratchett pull this off? It snuck up on me, and now I’m ready to burst because of a rat heist which involves a broken lamp and a rubberband. Y’all, that whole sequence with Darktan was thrilling and exciting, largely because I truly didn’t know what Pratchett was gonna do. The threat of the talking rat hung over all of this, obviously, but tied within this is that same disappointment we saw earlier. This time, though, it comes from Hamnpork, who despairs over the fact the other rats aren’t binding together to fight the dogs that try to kill them. IT’S SO UPSETTING, ISN’T IT. But it’s also such a huge change for his character over the course of the book. At the start of The Amazing Maurice, he doesn’t feel any affinity towards being Changed. He was very much of the mind that they were all acting unnaturally.

BUT LOOK AT HIM NOW. Look at what these rats were able to accomplish. They rescued Hamnpork. (And I was thrilled that Nourishing was there, too.) Darktan ESCAPED FROM INSIDE THE PIT. Had any rat ever done that? From the reaction of the humans present, I’m guessing NO. So… yeah, that ending better be a joke because I AM NOT AT ALL OKAY WITH IT IN ANY UNIVERSE. PLEASE TAKE IT BACK.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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