Friday, January 15, 2010

REVIEW: Nation by Terry Pratchett

Oh wow. Nation by Terry Pratchett just launched itself into my list of favourite ever books. I adored this book. I was a bit wary of reading it, I'm not familiar with a lot of Pratchett's other works and am only a beginner to the Discworld series. But Nation really had everything to it. Wonderful characters, an engaging story, humour, sadness. It's sort of a coming-of-age story, there's a mini-romance. It's about questioning everything, and about faith and I can't imagine anyone not being utterly swept away by this book. Truly.

Nation is set in a world very similar to our own, on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Mau finds himself alone after a tidal wave wipes out his family and entire village. Together with Daphne, the only survivor of the Sweet Judy and a distant heir to the king, they must rebuild the Nation.

Terry Pratchett has a skill for writing incredible characters. Mau has such strength to him. The passages where he was preparing to bury the dead bodies of everyone he's ever known was heart-wrenching, and I'm tearing up a little even now, just thinking about it. Even though Mau's furious with the gods for what has happened, even though he believes he has no soul anymore, he works tirelessly, endlessly to protect and rebuild as more survivors find their way to the Nation. He and Daphne are always asking the hard questions, never settling for 'because', always seeking knowledge. And Daphne is wonderful. She's smart and strong and I love her transformation in the book away from what's 'proper.'

In such sublte ways, Nation is about what it means to grow up. It's about death and grief and the pursuit of knowledge. It's sort of about faith and colonialism and gender roles. There's also some humour to balance out out the heart-ache. There's a foul-talking parrot, some amusing footnotes about the animals inhabiting the island and some laugh-out-loud funny misunderstandings between Mau and Daphne before they are able to learn each other's languages.

Highly recommended!

Other opinions:
Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog
things mean a lot
Adventures in Reading
Bart's Bookshelf
nothing of importance
The Boston Bibliophile

Read for: 100+ reading challenge, YA reading challenge, Terry Pratchett Reading Challenge, Support your Local library.


  1. I really want to read this one. I enjoyed the ones I read last year, but haven't read any since. I shall look out for this one.

  2. Lovely review, I haven't heard of this one before but it sounds really interesting!
    Alayne - The Crowded Leaf.

  3. I recently finished Good Omens and have been looking for other Gaiman and Pratchett works to try. I've decided on Neverwhere for Gaiman, and maybe I'll try this one for Pratchett.

  4. This sure sounds like a winner. I've yet to read a book by Pratchett but I am planning on it this year at some point. Great review!

  5. Oh I'm so glad you liked it! And you are so right about Daphne. Her transformation from an uptight and confused girl to an intelligent courageous woman is just wonderful.

  6. This is my favourite book by my second (or other) favourite author, so yeah, I love it a WHOLE lot. And it makes me happy when others love it too :D

  7. Just reading this review and the quotes makes me want to read this one again! :)


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