28 September, 2011

Terry Pratchett Month: Book Review: The Fifth Elephant

Title: The Fifth Elephant
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2000
Page Count (paperback): 370
Cover Rating: 3 out of 5. They should have made this covers a bit fancier and a little brighter. They're not bad . . . they just don't pop out at you with all the wonders of Discworld.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Everyone knows that the world is flat, and supported on the backs of four elephants. But weren't there supposed to be five? Indeed there word. So where is it? . . . 
When duty calls, Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork constabulary answers. Even when he doesn't want to. He's been "invited" to attend a royal function as both detective and diplomat. The one role he relishes; the other requires, well, ruby tights. Of course were cops (even those clad in tights) go, alas, crime follows. An attempted assassination and a theft soon lead to a desperate chase from the low halls of Discworld royalty to the legendary fat mines of Uberwald, where lard is found in underground seams along with tusks and teeth and other precious ivory artifacts. It's up to the dauntless Vimes--bothered as usual by a familiar cast of Discworld inhabitants (you know, trolls, dwarfs, werewolves, vampires and such)--to solve the puzzle of the missing pachyderm. Which of course he does. After all, solving mysteries is his job.

My Thoughts: This was the first Discworld book I read, the second novel by Terry Pratchett, after Nation. I decided to read The Fifth Elephant because of the title, and the tone of the summary: I do love a character with attitude. Sam Vimes has it, too; he's one of the more amusing characters in the series, not just because of the crazy situations he ends up in, but because of the dialogue between him and other characters as well. He's still one of my top favorites. In addition, the supporting characters in this book are hilarious, from Lady Sybil to Colon to Corporal Nobby Nobbs.

Other: References, some violence.

Verdict: With great characters, a fast-moving plot, and an excellent setting, The Fifth Elephant is a Discworld book I recommend.

Other Terry Pratchett Month Posts:
Book Review: The Color of Magic
Book Review: The Light Fantastic
Discussion Post: On Humorous and Parodic Stories
Book Review: Nation
Discussion Post: Anthropomorphism
Book Review: Good Omens
Movie Review: The Color of Magic

Book Review: Mort
Discussion Post: World Building Through A Series of Books: How And Why It Works

Book Review: Thief of Time

-----The Golden Eagle


Jennifer Hillier said...

I'm enjoying your Pratchett series! Agree about the cover, it could be more interesting.

Madeleine said...

I like the play on the words Fifth Elephant as it makes me think of Fifth Element. :O)

Anonymous said...

Your Prachett posts really have me interested in him. Like I said before, I haven't read him, but now I want to.

Old Kitty said...

If Samuel Vimes were here, I'd marry him asap!! I love Samuel Vimes - love love love this man!! What a man! I think Terry Pratchett created a most complex, most vulnerable, most manly, most sympathetic male character ever with Samuel Vimes (Nightwatch is my bible!). Ever!

And this is a brilliant book too - oh great to see Angua and her crazy family and her adoring Carrott! I still think when Angua screams out "Because he's mine!" when questioned why her family (her brother!) would want him dead is the most passionate scene encapsulated ever ever ever! LOL! Awwww true love and all that!

And Mrs Vimes - I love her to bits here! She does Sam proud, doesn't she?!?! Yay for her!

Ok, off I go to lie down again! Take care

Christine Rains said...

Vimes is one of my favorite characters too. Your posts this month really make me want to reread the books! :)

Susan Fields said...

I have The Color of Magic and I haven't read it yet - must get to that!

BornStoryteller said...

I agree with Old Kitty about Vimes (except the marrying part). Easily one of the best fleshed out character among many great characters.

GE: I haven't searched yet, but do you know if anyone has made a Character Map of Discworld? I would love to see where a character is the main protagonist, is a cameo (The Librarian pops up a lot), or is just mentioned. It'd be interesting to see how well he's woven his world.

Tale Spinning

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're going to send my TBR pile out of control...
And I assume this is not to be confused with The Fifth Element?

Crystal Collier said...

Oh my. After all this ranting I think I have to add that one to my reading list. Thanks for the recommendation.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like that cover.

Heather said...

I love that you're reviewing his books! This makes me want to read them all over again.

J. A. Bennett said...

I like that cover. Sounds fun!

Emily Rose said...

sounds like a very interesting story! I love the cover.

Robert Guthrie said...

Why do elephants seem to make the best titles? Helpful creatures...

The Golden Eagle said...

Jennifer: I'm glad you're enjoying it! :)

Madeleine: I've never actually heard of that before. But a play on words like that is very much in Terry Pratchett's style!

Medeia: You should try one of his books sometime. :)

Old Kitty: This is the only book I've read with Vimes as the MC, but he's definitely one of the more interesting characters!

LOL. I love Angua and Carrot!

She does. :D

Christine: If my reviews make you want to read the books, then I have succeeded in my goal. ;)

Susan: Hope you like it!

Stuart: LOL. Though I agree about his character.

Alex: Sorry for sending your TBR pile out of control! But hey, at least you'll know of good books. :)

Nope. I've never heard of The Fifth Element before . . .

Crystal: You're welcome! :)

Charles: It's not a bad cover--I just think it could have some more pizzazz. It doesn't resemble the contents all that much.

Heather: Thanks!

Those would be a lot of books to re-read. :)

J. A.: It is a lot of fun!

Emily: The Fifth Elephant is a great book. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Robert: LOL. They are!

Sarah Pearson said...

Another one I haven't read. I really need to update my collection as soon as I can :-)

Mark Noce said...

Wow, what a different concept. I'll have to check it out:)

Talli Roland said...

You're really getting through those novels! I'm not a fan of this cover, I must admit.