Book Review: Dodger

Thursday 24 July 2014 by

I am a bit of a Terry Pratchett fan – I have read all but 10 of his 40 Discworld novels (and I own three of those, just haven’t got round to reading them yet) along with a few of the Science of Discworld novels and his collaboration novel with Neil Gaiman (Good Omens) was also brilliant.

When I was shopping after Christmas I was lucky enough to have a wodge of Waterstones vouchers and the mountain of books I came home with included his latest (at the time) stand-alone novel Dodger.

I haven’t read any of his other non-Discworld based novels and was curious as to whether I would love them as much – plus it had a cool cover and for all that you’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, I totally do.

Dodger, Terry Pratchett, Corgi Childrens, Book

It took a little while for my mind to adjust to the fact that Dodger wasn’t set in Discworld because the style was similar, however there were enough London references to quickly let that familiarity take over.

The character of Dodger is charming and witty and just a little bit hapless. His street-wise manner makes up for his lacking in formal education and leads to many amusing misunderstandings that just highlight some the pitfalls of the English language can cause.

I laughed out loud a lot and shed a couple of tears (both of laughter and sorrow) – it was an emotional rollercoaster though Dickensian London from the viewpoint of someone who sees it from the gutters up.

The mystery unfolding through the story kept me gripped and I didn’t quite work out the twist before it arrived. The romance threaded through it was honest, innocent and earnest and utterly heart-warming throughout. I was really rooting for them through and through – I couldn’t wait to see if they got their happily ever after or if the grime of London was going to seep in and tarnish it beyond repair.

As ever with Pratchett novels, he offers a twist on people and things you think you already know – Charles Dickens himself shows up along with Sweeny Todd, Sir Robert Peel and, of course, Dodger himself. These interpretations make you think (and laugh) and challenge your perception on what you think you know of that era of London.

It has been a while since I read a Pratchett book and this has inspired my to bump up the other ones I have sat on my shelf closer to the top of my reading list.

Dodger gets 4.5/5* from me.

You can follow Carole on Twitter: @caroleheidi

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