Dodger **Spoilers**

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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Sandman » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:09 am

Hm, although part of a minority, I see that I'm not the only one to have one or two issues with Dodger!
I did mostly enjoy the book, but as rainsdot said, it was slightly too long-winded. This is only the third Pratchett novel where I have found myself having to concentrate to carry on reading (the first being Useen Academicals, the second Snuff) and overall I was fairly disappointed. I had expected much better of a Dickensian Pratchett.

Most of the characters share the same traits as many of his Discworld favourites (parallels between Dodger and Lipwig/Vimes, etc) and it felt quite a lot like Snuff, in that entire pages are needlessly dedicated to descriptions and extrapolation, when Pratchett's charm used to be his ability to capture the essence of an idea in a sentence or two. Moreover, in both novels I always felt the protagonist always had the upper hand, that nothing could possibly go wrong, and you never feel a sense of danger; it's almost a formality, reading to the end of the novel.

I suppose it was charming at first, and the tosher universe was something new to capture, but overall I was simply turning pages in search of that spark I used to find from page to page in pretty much every Pratchett book.

I wouldn't say it was a bad book, but despite leaving Discworld it was nothing new. Also, as rainsdot said, I have also noticed that Unseen Academicals is that point where something changed in Sir Terry's writing. Your thoughts?
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:12 am

Welcome to the site. :D

I'd pretty much agree with your assessment - although I really need to read this book again soon (along with Snuff and Long Earth). I enjoyed it but may enjoy it more (or possibly less) with subsequent readings.
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Sandman » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:25 am

Haha do you never sleep, sir? :)
Well it is definitely worth reading again. Maybe reading it twice did influence my reception somewhat - I enjoyed it somewhat first time round, though I still felt that something wasn't quite "chippewa". It was in reading it a second time that I really felt that it could have been much better.

I actually haven't got round to purchasing Long Earth unfortunately, but I'll get to it soon!
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Alanz » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:28 am

I am also looking forward to reading all of his books again, i believe that they will be better second time round :D
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Riverside1 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:11 pm

I go to the gym and on the treadmill I listen, not to music, but a vast back catalogue of The Navy Lark ( a radio series from the 1950's). In it is a character called Chief Petty Officer Pertwee played by Jon Pertwee. He is basically a crook who will make money from anything and when cornered or when there is any real work to do he feigns sickness with something called the twinging screws.
Now at the end of Dodger, Solomon Cohen bows before the Queen and Dodger has to unbend him as he has the twinging screws.
Had Terry heard this in his youth and subconsciously used it in Dodger? It is an amazing coincidence. I wonder how many other people listen to The Navy Lark. I think only Leslie Phillips from the cast may still be alive now.
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:17 pm

Welcome to the site, Riverside! :)

I absolutely love it when one of Terry's references pops up like this. I would bet good money that he did indeed listen to The Navy Lark. I listen to Radio 4 Extra a lot recently and they have been playing old shows such as The Navy Lark and Beachcomber By The Way, which has a character in it, one a series of dwarfs, named Churm Rincewind! :lol:
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Riverside1 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:40 pm

Thanks for the welcome. I read some of the other reviews and felt they were a bit harsh. I judge a book by the fact that I look forward to the next one. I do that with CJ Sansom, Ken Follett, Max Hastings(non-fiction) and of course Terry Pratchett.
If he has included references to great radio series I wonder what he would get from Round the Horne or I'm sorry I haven't a clue.
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Om(nomnom) » Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:09 pm

I saw the paperback of Dodger in a station bookshop some days ago and was sitting in my train happily reading some minutes later.

My impressions are pretty close to those of LiquidOctarine:
I thought it was really enjoyable and well written, especially on small scale, but it felt overall once more a bit like a feel-good book, despite the dark topics.
Dodger seems untouchable and succeeds in almost anything he touches and there are too many hints and foreshadowing about what his great plan is about or what's really up with the outlander. (Put perhaps I've read simply too many Pratchett books to not know where things are going.)
The return of Simplicity to London seems very unlikely, too. They are visiting the grave and are going to see the Queen and nobody is supposed to notice the looks of the young lady at dodgers side? The boy who has caused so much trouble for quite a few people recently and is so much larger than life? One wrong person has to take a closer look and all was for naught.
Now the knighthood surely matches his achievements, but like said, it all seems to be a bit much.

About the borrowed characters I wasn't quite sure. I know I groaned a bit about Charlie Dickens or especially when even Sweeney Todd made his appearance. Sure he then put a twist on it, but of course it's dodger again who saves the day.
At the end of the day I learned something new, but I can't help but think those excursions or homages weren't really necessary and could have been easily done with other characters.
Solomon, too, was just a bit too huge for life with his constant nods to meeting this and that famous person of history. (I agree he is probably supposed to be an Anti-Fagin.)
Enjoyable, yes, but many of these "winks" broke the immersion for me.

But those are just some thoughts. Overall I really enjoyed the book, much more than Snuff.
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby The Mad Collector » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:12 pm

If Dodger just gets one more person to read Henry Mayhew then it was worth it. He is sadly rather forgotten these days but London Poor is a very good book, I first read it over 10 years ago and still get it off the shelves and back into the reading pile every now and then
One of those? Oh I'm sure I have one somewhere..

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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby StuartHX » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:06 pm

Having only just finished reading Dodger (yes really!) I have to say I have mixed feelings about it. On one level it's pure Pratchett with a wealth of character, plot and humour... on the other it somehow just misses the sweet spot. More than anything, the whole thing seems to be just shy of a Discworld novel but not quite pulling it off.

The London described I'm sure is pretty much what Pratchett has read about, but the big problem is that so much of this reading and perhaps intuition has seeped into Ankh Morpork that you start to become disappointed that you're not actually there. The whole millieu of dark streets, sewers, carriages, villains, upper classes and everything else positively reeks of Ankh that you have to consciously keep pulling your mind away from Discworld, telling yourself that Sam Vimes isn't going to walk round the corner, Punch isn't The Truth and there aren't any dwarves in the back room, and Vetinari isn't the one who is in charge.

And this has left Pratchett with an enormous problem. How do you create a setting that is at once compelling without being a poor shadow of something quite similar, and how do you create characters that have the depth and back story of Ankh Morpork's more famous denizens without inviting instant comparison? The answer is, you can't.

Yes, the story is a good read and Pratchett's genius for narrative and plotting doesn't fail him. But... I still come away thinking, if only he'd properly set in Ankh Morpork and not Victorian London how much richer and more compelling it would have been. I think he could have still made the social points - they are timeless - and he's done this time again in proper Discworld books - Jingo explores the futility of war, Monstrous Regiment something similar, Snuff looks at even darker social evils.

Truthfully, my conclusion would be a great effort, but an opportunity missed.
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:08 pm

Welcome to the site! :)
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:03 pm

Because Stuart, London is what AnkMorpork is based on as a city.
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.
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby A'Tuin things over » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:44 pm

Reading these reviews still leaves me undecided whether to get 'Dodger', I wasn't going to swallow Amazon's reviews without reading those of the august members on here, perhaps I am just addicted to the Discworld novels and hunger for more as I don't seem too fussed about buying it...
Berilia, Tubul, Great T'Phon, and Jerakeen - this is a hold up..!
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:17 pm

Well there's always the library. :)
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Re: Dodger **Spoilers**

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:50 pm

Or wait to see if you can pick one up in a charity shop, all said and done it was not a bad read. :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.
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