Monday, February 07, 2011

Unseen Academicals

Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork — not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they’re in the mood for trying everything else.

The prospect of a Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt, who no one knows much about. As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed forever.

Because the thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football. - Goodreads

The subject couldn't have been more different than the previous Discworld novel I read, I Shall Wear Midnight. Aside from football, Pratchett actually managed to insert a forbidden love story a la Romeo and Juliet with a young couple - Trev and Juliet - from two opposing teams of football falling in love. The issue of nature vs nurture and perception vs reality has also been woven in as pictured by Nutt's internal conflict about who he really is, what other people think he will do and what he actually does in real life.

Here, Pratchett managed to create another strong heroine in the form of Glenda, a cook who can bake excellent pies and loves reading trashy romance novels in her spare time. Glenda is the kind of girl who will do the things that needs to be done and is not afraid to speak up their mind when some issues catch her attention. Bribing guards in order to storm up to Lord Vetinari - the tyrant of Ankh Morpork - certainly takes guts!

As with most of Pratchett's works, there are sly references to real life/other works of arts. References to football is a must, but the most memorable one for me would be the collectors card that came with cigars - collector cards from chocolate frogs, anyone?

Overall, I've enjoyed reading the book. However, I still prefer I Shall Wear Midnight. Probably because reading about the witches of Disc World are actually more interesting than the wizards LOL.

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