Dodger **Spoilers**

Moderators: Jason, Toothy, Tonyblack

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:57 pm

Okay, I've finally finished this one, and I suppose I'm going to be in the grumpy minority again, but....

For me, Dodger really confirms what I've been dreading all along--that the deterioration of Pterry's writing skills, that, for me at least, has been evident since Unseen Academicals and was thoroughly manifested in Snuff, seems to be permanent. I do believe, as I've said before, that this decline has been due to Pterry's need to "dictate" books rather than type them, which tends to lead to verbosity, cluttered thoughts, and repetition. This and the fact that it appears the books Pterry writes on his own (not in collaboration) or that are not heavily edited (as his children's books are) suffer.

What Dodger is Pterry's attempt to write a Dickens novel, or specifically a variation of "Oliver Twist," that literally uses both the names of Dickens' characters (Dodge, Pip, and Dickens himself) and borrows from the plots of his works. Pterry seems to find this format--and the format of the Victorian novel itself, which he used in Snuff--suitable to his new dictating writing style. However, this format also carries the flaw of allowing its author to overwrite, overwrite, overwrite.

This is perhaps the first Pterry book where I've actually skipped whole paragraphs because they were full of repetitious exposition. How many times do we need to get explanations of the tosher's life? How many long-winded portrayals of characters who have less than a paragraph of 'action' do we need? Why do we need pages and pages of uninteresting trips to tailors and haberdashers? Why did the scene in the coroner's office have to go on endlessly? Why the unhealthy obsession with toilets, excrement and urine--which might have had a little bit of amusement in Snuff since pooh-collecting was young Sam's hobby, but here it's just vulgar and serves no purpose.

The plot here is as tired and cliched as a penny dreadful. Dodger is like the Sam Vimes of Snuff--indestructible, wily, with no flaws at all. Simplicity is a complete cipher; she's supposed to be deeper than she is, but there's nothing to her. We're supposed to believe that she's manipulating Dodger to achieve her goals, but she is such a weak character that, other than her looks, it's hard to imagine why someone as sharp and streetwise as Dodger would fall for her. The only memorable character in the book is Solomon, who Pterry's very carefully tries to craft as the "anti-Fagin," but even his monologues become long and boring after awhile.

And why do we even need the one chapter in the book without Dodger in it where the "mysterious villain" gives Sharp Bob his orders? It makes no sense, breaks up the continuity, and no other similar scene occurs.

This is also a book where even Pterry's footnotes don't make sense. Near the end, he puts in a footnote telling readers to go to Google to look up the meaning of the dog's name Onan--does he think we're all so stupid that this wouldn't occur to us? And why, when he's creating a novel that's supposed to immerse us in 19th century Britain, does he need to direct us to the Internet?

A good editor would have trimmed this by at least 50 pages, mainly by getting rid of the 'expository fat' that deadens its pace. Dickens was extremely good at exposition; he was also motivated to write more because he was a serial writer, and the longer the book, the more 'chapters' he could sell. Long-winded exposition has never been one of Pterry's strengths. In fact, one of his key strengths in the best DW books is that he knew how to write exactly enough, and to make sure that
every sentence counted. He has lost this ability, and his recent "solo" works are showing this.

If this were not written by Pterry, it probably would be considered an unmemorable, YA 'history-fantasy' book that would be quickly forgotten. Because Pterry's name is on it, it's given a higher level of scrutiny. But, that should also make any criticisms valid. It is still amazing that he can produce books in spite of his limitations. However, he is no different that any other writer whose work is published in that the work should be judged on its own merits (or lack thereof). Dodger may be an enjoyable read, but it's not a particularly original or good book.
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3249
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:05 pm

I did enjoy the audio book narrated by Stephen Briggs, he did give it some atmosphere, I have the book as well. :mrgreen:
He willnae tak' a drink! I think he's deid! , on the other hand though A Midgie in yir hand is worth twa up yir kilt.
User avatar
Who's Wee Dug
Member
 
Posts: 15224
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Stirlingshire, Scotland

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:18 pm

Well, Stephen Briggs could even make 50 Shades of Grey sound like literature...
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3249
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:43 pm

I will take your word for it as I've never read it, did you enjoy it more than Dodger. :mrgreen:
He willnae tak' a drink! I think he's deid! , on the other hand though A Midgie in yir hand is worth twa up yir kilt.
User avatar
Who's Wee Dug
Member
 
Posts: 15224
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Stirlingshire, Scotland

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby raisindot » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:14 pm

I've never heard the audiobook version, so I can't tell you.

I can tell you that the paper in the book version is two-ply and very absorbent. Now if they only printed in a roll it'd be perfect. :D
raisindot
Member
 
Posts: 3249
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Alanz » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:19 am

WoW! i don't think that you liked Dodger at all raisindot, Yes you probably are in a Minority.

Well i thought it was GOOD :clap:
Alanz
Member
 
Posts: 1639
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:33 am

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Bickaxe » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:01 am

Just finished it and thought it was very good.

Simplicity could have been deeper but that's my only issue.

I should have gone to sleep hours ago....
Fiendish til the en-
:twisted:
User avatar
Bickaxe
Member
 
Posts: 608
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:05 pm
Location: Newport

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Alanz » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:11 am

I think it's been left open for a sequel, don't you think :?: :D
Alanz
Member
 
Posts: 1639
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:33 am

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby simmonds91 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:15 am

I think that most of TPratchetts books have similar sounding characters in them, as in 1 character in 1 book may sound like another in another book. Id like to see a bit more action in his books too? I thought the scene in snuff near the end with the fanny on that raging river was very good, added a sense of danger (it's a different kind of danger than what you get with a "bad guy"). Other than that though I don't see that many flaws in TPratchetts work personally, raisindot is probably right on every count but I just didn't see them, I enjoyed dodger thoroughly.
Well, you know what they say. The past is a foreign country - - With an outdated military and huge oil reserves!
simmonds91
Member
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:57 am

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Alanz » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:39 pm

I can see where your coming from simmonds91, Perhaps he might read your post and make it so :D
Alanz
Member
 
Posts: 1639
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:33 am

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby =Tamar » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:33 pm

Alanz wrote:I think it's been left open for a sequel, don't you think :?: :D

Rumor has it that the sequel is being written.
=Tamar
Member
 
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 1:16 am

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby simmonds91 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:26 pm

I don't mind a sequel, it's TPratchett after all and he hasn't disappointed me so far, does Dodger need a sequel though? I thought it ended perfectly.
Well, you know what they say. The past is a foreign country - - With an outdated military and huge oil reserves!
simmonds91
Member
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:57 am

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Alanz » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:03 pm

I thought those people were still after him :?:
Alanz
Member
 
Posts: 1639
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:33 am

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby =Tamar » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:49 pm

Alanz wrote:I thought those people were still after him :?:
SPOILERS
As I understood it, they had covered their tracks - faked death, changed accents, etc. Dodger got a job with the government doing "investigations" which took him overseas. The people who were after him at that point were not, as far as we know, the same people who had been after him earlier.
=Tamar
Member
 
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 1:16 am

Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby LiquidOctarine » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:41 am

Hello! Been lurking here for about week now, but I figured as I just finished Dodger I'd toss in a few cents' worth.

I enjoyed it, overall. Terry still has a way with words, as I still remember loving the opening paragraph, and a lot inbetween. I don't have many gripes with this story, other than thinking that nothing much really happens, but part of that is due to the lack of a strong antagonist.

Let's face it, the only time Dodger's in any real danger is near the very end, when he faces down The Outlander, and even then it felt very anticlimactic. Oh, sure, we'd been told about them by other characters, but there was never any indication that they were anywhere near Dodger's tail until that point. And Smart Bob... well, he was also barely present.

Actually, that scene with the meeting between Smart Bob and his employers was the only part where I can recall any real menace, any real danger, of any kind.

All of that said, again I did quite enjoy it, and part of that is due to the quality of the writing, and the other due to the characters. Every time Charlie was on the page was great, Onan's mere presence was a hoot, Dodger was engaging, and Soloman was a mystery unto himself. Angela was highly amusing, too. I don't have much to say about Simplicity, though, except that she seems to be a nice girl and is the first person to really make Dodger want to do more than just tosh. London worked really well as a character, even if it felt a bit too much like Ankh-Morpork at times (which goes to show how much AM is inspired by London).

So, yes, while good and worth a read, I certainly wouldn't call it his best work.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to do something I've never done but this board has inspired me to do: Read the entire Discworld novels in order (of publication).
LiquidOctarine
New member
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:53 am

PreviousNext

Return to Latest books

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests