Book 40 in the Discworld series
The invention of the steam engine brings irreversible change to the Discworld, and also proves to be the one thing that might stop a faction of technology-hating dwarfs from being able to stop progress.
- All the spirit of a Discworld novel, with its no-nonsense celebration of common sense, hard work, and integrity, and rejection of arrogance and selfishness
- Cleverly uses the train as both a metaphor for progress and the physical embodiment of progress and the magic of invention
- Checks in on many of the beloved characters from throughout the books, reassuring us of their happy endings
- Combines ideas of technological progress with social progress, giving us an ultimately optimistic vision of what we can accomplish when we work together
- The pacing seemed a little off; there are long stretches where not much seems to be happening, and then moments of key action that seemed a bit rushed
There’s no such thing as a bad Discworld book, since you always want more time with these characters and Pratchett’s no-nonsense worldview. I haven’t yet read any of the Tiffany Aching books, and there are a few more in the series that I haven’t gotten to yet, so I’m not “done” with Discworld. Still, this felt like a satisfying conclusion, with an optimistic vision of a potential future for the world that we’ve spent decades growing to love.