'Tis the season when the Hogfather himself dons his red suit and climbs in his sleigh pulled by eight hogs and brings gifts to all the boys and girls of Discworld.
But this year, there's a problem. A stranger has taken the place of the Hogfather. Well, not exactly a stranger. He's actually pretty well known. But either way it's not right to find Death creeping down chimneys. (Even the laugh is wrong!)
The switch has been arranged by the Auditors, mysterious superbeings who want our universe to be a collection of rocks swinging in curves through space. Life is messy. Why not get rid of it? And who better than you know who?
Somebody has to rescue the real Hogfather before this morbid impostor tracks soot on the world's carpets. It's up to Ankh-Morpork's intellectual elite, the assembled wizards of Unseen University - with the help of a monster-bashing nanny, the world's worst inventor, plus a bona-fide, honest-to-god god (the oh god of hangovers, to be precise) - to sort everything out by morning, otherwise there won't be a morning. Ever again...
"The idea of the Grim Reaper filling the Hogswatch stockings of the world didn't fit well in her head, no matter which way she twisted it."
I've read Discworld books before, and I've learnt something very important: you have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy them. The stories are just too silly and irreverent for me to read all the time - but this was perfect! Exactly what I wanted to read. (And I spent most of the book grinning.)
"Can't have this sort of thing going on. Daft anti-gods and miscellaneous whatnots being created just because people've thought about 'em? We could have anything turn up, anyway. Supposing some idiot says there must be a god of indigestion, eh?"
Something of a deity vacuum was created with the Hogfather's 'disappearance' and all sorts of things start getting created just because someone says there 'must be' one. This book does, besides just being funny in it's take on things, give a fairly intelligent look into the belief system of different religious beings.
Which, really, is something the Discworld series is good at doing. Through all the humor and laughter and over-the-top characters, this is a series that has a philosophical bent. Not enough to detract from all the aforementioned craziness, but enough that it doesn't read like an author just 'trying' to be funny.
"Humans have always ascribed random, seasonal, natural or inexplicable actions to human-shaped entities. Such examples are Jack Frost, The Hogfather, The Tooth Fairy and Death."
In this book, I especially like the look that's taken at what it means for a deity to be real. Without giving too much away, I do see a bit of the Japanese belief system for, I believe, minor gods.
The characters in this story are so much fun, too. Having Death (who always speaks in all caps) taking over the role of Hogfather was so hilarious - especially when he started taking it a bit too seriously and getting it into his head that he would remind everyone of the 'real' meaning of the holiday.
His granddaughter, Susan, is a very pragmatic young lady. She can see all sorts of things that humans aren't supposed to, but she handles them oddly. Her response to monsters are to beat them over the head with a poker, after all.
Besides them, we get to follow a whole slew of people that, if you're anything like me, will leave you wondering how they all tie together - but tie together they do.
There are assassins and wizards and crooks and, a couple members of the Night Watch (who get their own 'internal series' within the series of Discworld) even make an appearance.
"But…how? How can anyone kill the Hogfather? Poisoned sherry? Spikes in the chimney?"
This is one of the better Discworld books I've read and if you're looking for a different holiday read, I highly recommend this book. Just be warned, nothing is sacred in Discworld, so don't read it if you take the holiday season (or anything, really!) very seriously.
Hi everyone, I'm Amy and I want to say thanks so much to Veronika and Ruzaika for asking me to guest post at The Regal Critiques!
Don't forget to stop by Amy's blog, Pages of Starlight, if you enjoyed her review!