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Dodger Hardcover – September 25, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 521 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* On a stormy night in early Victorian London, an able young man named Dodger rises from the sewers in response to a scream, fights off two thugs, and rescues a damsel in distress. Dodger continues to rise throughout the novel, as his love for the mysterious lady motivates this tosher (scavenger for lost coins and other treasures in London’s sewers) to elevate himself and leads him to a closer acquaintance with a string of historical figures, including Dickens, Disraeli, and ultimately, the queen and her consort. While most writers would be well advised not to include such characters in their books, Pratchett manages to humanize them without diminishing them or throwing the story off-kilter. However lowly Dodger’s origins, he remains the most memorable character in the book. Living by his wits and unencumbered by conventional morality, this trickster hero expertly navigates the underbelly of his city as he carries out a bizarre scheme resulting in justice and mercy. The temptation to quote sentences, whole paragraphs, and possibly entire chapters is almost irresistible, because the pleasure of reading the novel is in the language as much as in the characters and well-researched period setting. Often amusing, this Victorian romp of a novel is lovingly crafted and completely enjoyable. Grades 8-12. --Carolyn Phelan


“Superb.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Compulsively readable.” (Washington Post)

“Lovingly crafted and completely enjoyable. The temptation to quote sentences, whole paragraphs, and possibly entire chapters is almost irresistible.” (Booklist (starred review))

“It’s a glittering conjuring act, but there’s real heart here, too.” (Horn Book (starred review))

“Pratchett does a bang-up job of re-creating Old London, complete with pathos, humor, and danger, all narrated in Dodger’s unique voice.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“Masterful. Unexpected, drily funny and full of the pathos and wonder of life: Don’t miss it.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Pratchett weaves fact and fiction seamlessly....Genius.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))

“A masterwork from a treasure and hero of a writer, and it will delight you.” (Cory Doctorow, New York Times Bestselling author)

“Ebullient, funny and delightful.” (The Guardian)

“Wonderful.” (Daily Mail (London))

“Fresh, vibrant and full of energy, a triumph.” (SFX (UK))

“Masterly and entertaining.” (Children’s Book of the Week) (Sunday Times (London))

PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF TERRY PRATCHETT:“Exuberant and irresistible.” (Washington Post)

“Fun and fantastic and thoughtful.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Passionately wise, spectacularly hilarious, and surpassingly humane.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Moving and highly satisfactory.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Pratchett combines gut-busting humor and genuine poignancy.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“Thrilling, humorous, moving, and most wise.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review))

More to Explore
Check out the discussion guide [PDF] for Dodger.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st Printing edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062009494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062009494
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (521 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was fifteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987 he turned to writing full time, and has not looked back since. To date there are a total of 36 books in the Discworld series, of which four (so far) are written for children. The first of these children's books, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal. A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller, and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback (Harper Torch, 2006) and trade paperback (Harper Paperbacks, 2006). Terry's latest book, Nation, a non-Discworld standalone YA novel was published in October of 2008 and was an instant New York Times and London Times bestseller. Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire "for services to literature" in 1998, and has received four honorary doctorates from the Universities of Warwick, Portsmouth, Bath, and Bristol. His acclaimed novels have sold more than 55 million copies (give or take a few million) and have been translated into 36 languages. Terry Pratchett lives in England with his family, and spends too much time at his word processor.  Some of Terry's accolades include: The Carnegie Medal, Locus Awards, the Mythopoetic Award, ALA Notable Books for Children, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Book Sense 76 Pick, Prometheus Award and the British Fantasy Award.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
C'mon, everybody, be thankful that Sir Terry is alive, much less producing books. We lost Robert Jordan a couple of years ago and now we must settle for a 'ghost' writer.

'Not disappointed' a reviewer wrote. So sad. 'Damned by faint praise' to quote somebody. It's a feel-good book and no mistake. Just sit back and enjoy Dodger et al. If you are expecting the kind of genius level creativity he exhibited in his earlier books, well, who of that age is capable of that? Twain wasn't.

I have all of his books, most them read more than twice and I will come back to this one someday, though I am 70 and it may have to be soon. I go to libraries, pick up a few books and read maybe 50 pages before sighing and getting some more. At the very least, Pratchett is reliable, funny, satiric, full of puck and good humor and understands people as well as any writer since.......well, nearly all of them.

If I die while reading or re-reading one of his, I'll die happy. My favorite author of all time.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Set in the victorian era, Dodger is the story of a seventeen steet urchin, who earns his living by retrieving items in the sewers of London.

I am a huge fan of the Discworld books, and everytime Terry Pratchett releases a non-Discworld book I get nervous. Some of his non-Discworld books I love, while others I feel are ordinary.

For the most part I loved Dodger. Dodger himself is awesome. He's the little guy that you can't help rooting for. Especially as he is determined to save the girl and win her heart. There are some great characters (both real and fictional) including Sweeney Todd, Robert Peel and Charlie Dickens.

I listened to the audio, as read by Stephen Briggs, and the audio was excellent. The voices as read by Briggs were spot on, and I found myself clinging to every word.

My only negative is I felt like the end dragged a bit. While the ending could've been a bit better, there were plenty of zany, awesome moments in the story and I will likely listen to this one again.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to write something pithy;commentary that confirmed to all readers that I have been a committed fan of Mr Pratchett for a very long time now. But I've just done that - albeit sans pith.
So I'll just call it as I found it:

Its a 'nice' read. Not so much a 'whodunnit' as a 'come along for the ride and let's see what happens in this new world of Mr Pratchett's devising.' Not laugh out loud funny, but certainly worthy of the occasional smile. The historical liberties taken are both gentle and generally useful. I've read many of Mr Pratchett's books time and time again. Would I re-read this one? Most likely not... but I'm happy enough to have read it the once.
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By Hypsy on September 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a long time Pratchett fan, I have been left feeling bemused by this book. For many fans, Pratchett's name on the cover leads to a lot of expectations, and in this book he departs in some respects away from those expectations. As the setting is Victorian era London, the carefully constructed Discworld universe is not here. And that's okay, because the great joy of the Discworld books is to highlight some of our 'real' worlds amusing and nonsensical foibles. On the face of it, this new location seems perfectly suited, as though Pratchett is breaking down the wall of Ankh-Morpork and saying, 'Look it was London all along!'

And whether that was important or irrelevant, or even un-noticed, without that teeming world this book is a bit...dry. The characters are all the familiar Pratchett archetypes, the loveable rouge, the shadowy gentry, pulling strings and so on. But it never picks up speed. I was constantly feeling like I'd read this one before, and then the references to London, Spain and so on would somehow remind me that this was a story set in our world. It is a testament to Pratchett's skills that a series of books with wizards, trolls, werewolves and the like can utterly suspend my disbelief. And it's worrying that a book filled with real places, real life figures (In the form of Dickens) and context that is familiar to me can leave me not immersed, but slightly bored.
I had the feeling this book was mugging for the cameras, name dropping, trying to be playful, but ending up coming across like a species of fan-fiction, written by the kind of author who finds fantasy scenarios a bit silly, and unworthy of 'real' aueters.

That sounds a bit cruel, and I should say that this is a solid book, and a must for Pratchett obsessives, but the vital spark is missing. If you're new to Pratchett, this might not be the place to start though.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've gotten tremendous enjoyment from Terry Pratchett's previous books, so I can't begrudge him exploring beyond the Discworld universe. Unfortunately, DODGER, as a literary effort, is just not on par with any of the Discworld books. The main characters are stereotypes and played straight, without any emotional context or hint of satire or parody. The inclusion of historical figures, both real (Dickens, Disraeli, Robert Peel, etc.) and fictional (Sweeney Todd), doesn't bring extra depth to the story since they are crudely puppeted to fit the needs of the plot. The result plays like an unconvincing mash-up of Anne Perry and Eric Idle, with little of the grace, depth and wit of Pratchett's other work.

That said, why am I giving it a passing grade of three stars? Because to a true fan, even mediocre Terry Pratchett is better than most of the stuff out there.
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