Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Book Review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The Long EarthThe Long Earth by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by my Aunt, who is an avid fan of Terry Pratchett. I have only ever read one more of his works, that being Good Omens, which I enjoyed but didn't fall in love with as many have.
The concept behind The Long Earth is certainly interesting and original. The idea that individuals can 'step' East or West to parallel worlds is brilliant and isn't something I come across very often. But I didn't feel that Pratchett really told a story, it was more of an experiment.
Our two main characters are Joshua, who was born on one of the parallel worlds and is a natural stepper, and Lobsang, who is essentially a computer. Together they travel through the worlds on a dirigible called Mark Twain, to explore and discover new worlds.
I found Joshua quite a weak character with not much personality. He was brought up by several nuns and all of them appear funny and quirky but none of this has rubbed off on him. Lobsang on the other hand is great. He can be irritating, but is interesting and unlike any other character I've read before.
There are quite a few smaller characters whose stories run alongside, like a police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, a family who leave their son behind to start a better like and Private Percy, who accidentally 'steps' during the First World War. In fact, I would have liked to read more about Private Percy, but we're given a snippet and then it's forgotten about.
All the ideas on their own are brilliant, but it just seems quite aimless and I was surprised to find that not only is there a sequel out, a third is due out next year and both authors have signed a contract to write three more. I don't think I'll give up on Terry Pratchett, but I think I'll head towards his Discworld series.

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