Anyone who is a fan of the fantasy genre has their favorites.
Books like The Hobbit, the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tell stories that are timeless, stories that keep readers engaged year after year.
Fantasy lovers have their favorites and will read them repeatedly, but every once in a while, it’s nice to shake things up a bit with a new story.
Though he might not currently have the same status as Tolkien or George R. R. Martin, Terry Pratchett is popular in his own right. Some might even call his mix of fantasy and comedy downright genius.
For those who’ve not read Pratchett before, here’s a look at what to expect from this celebrated author.
Terry Pratchett – the Man Behind the Fantasy
Terrance David John Pratchett was born in 1948 and died in 2015 of Alzheimer’s disease. He was knighted by the Queen in 2008, a year after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
He is the award-winning author of the Discworld series, a compilation of 41 novels. (In comparison, George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series contains only five completed books, with at least one more on the way).
In addition to receiving multiple awards for his work, Pratchett also received 10 honorary doctorates.
In 2003, the BBC conducted a survey to discover the most beloved books in the U.K. They then compiled a list of the top 200 books. Though Pratchett’s highest ranking was #65, he was one of only two authors to have five books on the list. The other author: Charles Dickens.
After his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Terry Pratchett became an advocate for a cure, donating over $1 million to fund Alzheimer’s research. He also worked with the BBC to create a two-part documentary called Terry Pratchett: Living with Alzheimer’s. The series won him a BAFTA award.
Terry Pratchett’s Best Books and Most Beloved Characters
The Terry Pratchett library is an extensive one. Many of his books, though, are on the shorter side, for those who like to take their fantasy fiction in smaller bites.
Due to the sheer number of books Pratchett has written, it can be daunting to know where to start when reading this author for the first time.
Here’s a breakdown of some of Pratchett’s most popular books and his most beloved characters.
Discworld is Pratchett’s most popular fantasy series and consists of 41 stories.
Discworld is an intricately created world in which the earth is shaped like a disc and sits on the back of four elephants, which are standing on the back of a turtle gliding through space.
The great thing about Pratchett’s writing is that he had the innate ability to ground his fantasies in reality. Yes, there are witches and elves and every other sort of fantasy creature in Discworld. However, readers will also find that his characters deal with everything that every day human beings deal with on a daily basis. This makes his characters way more relatable to readers, thereby making the stories themselves even more enjoyable.
His characters don’t have to be necessarily evil to make the story interesting. As Pratchett himself once said, it’s not people being fundamentally good or evil that has created the greatest triumphs or the greatest tragedies in our history. It is simply people being human.
The Discworld series contains mini-series, including:
- The Rincewind books
- The Death books
- The Witches and Lancre books
- The City Watch books
- The Moist von Lipwig books
- The Tiffany Aching books.
Within these series, you’ll find some of Pratchett’s most beloved characters, like:
- The Grim Reaper, someone who eventually visits everyone and makes his way into every single one of the Death books. Contrary to popular opinion, though, Death doesn’t find joy in his job. He’s just like everyone else – he just wants to settle down and have a family.
- Nanny Ogg, one of the Witches of Lancre who can’t help but tell a bawdy joke from time to time.
- The City Waters, who include a human foundling named Carrot Ironfoundersson that was raised by dwarves, a werewolf lieutenant, a troll, and a character named Nobby Nobbs.
Honorable Mentions – Other Terry Pratchett Books to Check Out
While the Discworld series is extensive, these are not the only books Pratchett devoted his time to writing. Here are some honorable mentions.
- Good Omens – This book, which was a collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has become an Amazon Prime television starring David Tennent (of Doctor Who fame). It’s the story of Satan’s son and the coming apocalypse. As dark as that sounds, there’s plenty of wit and comedy to be found.
- The Wee Free Man – Technically, this is part of the Discworld series. However, it was written specifically for children. The story follows a young witch, approximately nine years old, and the tiny blue men that accompany her on her many adventures.
- Dodger – Terry Pratchett was inspired by Charles Dickens’ character The Artful Dodger. The story takes place in Victorian London and follows the story of Dodger, a street urchin who ends up saving the day (it’s full of political intrigue) and getting the girl in the end.
Why Everyone Should Read the Works of This Renowned Author
One of the things that set Pratchett apart from the fantasy book crowd was his ability to mix comedy with fantasy. In so many fantasy stories, the adventurous tale is a dark one. It makes sense as so many of these stories have deeper meanings that peer closely at the human condition and the plight of people who live in societies destined for destruction.
However, having a light-hearted option is refreshing. While Pratchett’s stories do have importance, as far as foreshadowing how things could be in our future, it’s nice to have a break from the darkness.
Pratchett has the capability of every other fantasy writer to create complex worlds and characters. Pratchett’s books are a glimmer of light that keep the fantasy genre fun and truly enjoyable to read.
For those who haven’t had the privilege of reading any of Pratchett’s works yet, it’s high time to add a few Terry Pratchett audio downloads into their fantasy library.
Are you new to the works of Terry Pratchett? Would you like to know more about him? The best way to do that is to check out some of his most popular audiobooks, and we have so many for you to enjoy!