I've been re-reading a lot of Pratchett recently (Going Postal
, Making Money (Discworld Novels)
, Monstrous Regiment
, Guards! Guards!
) and thought it'd be lovely to get the new book, Snuff: A Novel of Discworld (Discworld Novels)
. My significant other ended up reading it before I did and let me know it was weird before I started reading. Maybe this is why I was so particularly sensitive to the style and story, but I think his initial assessment was correct.
Every few chapters I was able to note something else that just didn't seem like Sir Terry's writing. Much of the beginning of the book feels as if someone else has taken Discworld and jotted down a fanfic... as if making a Vimes stew in which there's a little of Sybil, a little of Willikins, and of course Vetinari to begin with, along with some token cameo appearances... except, they're just sort of the outward things we know about them, instead of the personalities that were shown to us before. One thing that seemed odd was Vimes' swearing. When before swear words were used for emphasis, it seemed like they were thrown around rather violently and with less thought of whether they were really needed. I swear like a sailor, so it's not shocking to me except that the characters were acting so uncharacteristically.
The story near the middle/end "feels" more like Pratchett stylistically, but the story seems disjointed. We readers are sent back and forth a few times without that much reason. I've never had so many moral issues with Sam Vimes' behavior, either. For me, he acted like a terrible bully for most of the book. A moral, righteous bully... but still a bully. In other books, it felt more like he used force in a more passive way, whereas here it just seemed like he was overtly forcing his way into every situation. The story just isn't tightened up and the characters don't feel like themselves any longer.
If this were fanfic, I think it'd be a great fanfic. With the Pratchett name on it, it just doesn't seem right. Buy it if you feel like reading some Discworld, but don't expect the laugh out loud funnies in previous books or a smooth ride.