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Maskerade is an opera. Some readers would say that the storyline is clichéd or plagiarized and that it's been done before or that it is so unoriginal that it isn't worth the bother. On the contrary! Opera has never been done the way Terry Pratchett does it.
It is true that the story compares to Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the opera but it isn't quite the same. Like many of Prachetts books it is a parody and this one casts a new light on the classic tale of an opera ghost.
Consider Pritchett's other novels; some of them revolve around an idea or a concept that has been created or heard about before. For instance Soul Music is loosely connected to the introduction of rock and roll onto Discworld right down to Buddy of the Holley and Witches Abroad casts a new light on classic fairy tales. Moving Pictures is a parody of the early days of Hollywood. So why not the tale of an opera ghost? Injected with Pritchett's unique humour and wit into a story with a little added extra thrown in for good measure (just like one of Nanny Ogg's strange recipes) that keeps you laughing all through the read and the twists and turns in the plot keep you glued to every page and laughing throughout. Everybody wears a mask and not just the opera ghost
Agnes Nitt, is blessed with a singularly magnificent voice, one that can harmonise and rhapsodise with it 's self. Agnes is unfortunately not blessed with an extraordinary body; extraordinarily large would be accurate. However with great hair and a splendid personality Agnes is the roly-poly would-be witch who ventures into Ankh-Morpork in search of fame and fortune where she auditions at the Ankh-Morpork Opera house.
The opera has recently been bought by Mr Bucket a former cheese maker and only now is realising he has bought technically a money pit. The opera isn't making any money but night after night a show is performed all for the sake of OPERA. There is however one little snag, a ghost is said to watch over the opera.
But Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg two-thirds of a witch's coven have other plans. They are searching for a replacement for Magrat, who had the daring to go off and marry a king. Deciding Agnes would be the perfect candidate, follow her to Ankh-Morpork where just out of strange coincidence other business calls Nanny to the big city. The two witches pay a side visit the publishing house where Nanny has recently submitted a book; The Joye of Snacks. It is a book of recipes and many readers will know that Nanny's recipes are more than just recipes for food they are recipes with little added surprises! Especially for married couples! The book has sold thousands of copies and Granny thinks the publishers owe Nanny some money over $3000 considering they must be making a lot. Setting out on their journey they waylay the express coach and as these witches do manage to secure a seat on board. After many rest stops and scenery views the coach finally rolls into Ankh-Morpork 11 hours later than scheduled.
Together with Greebo Nanny's cantankerous cat that strangely changes form, they visit the opera in hope to persuade Agnes to return home with them and complete their coven but they find Agnes has been hired as the voice of Christine, a lovely girl with marvellous stage presence, fabulous figure and everything Agnes isn't except she has no talent and very little between the ears. Each evening Agnes is woken by a strange man who believing she to be Christine teaches her to sing her roles how they should be sung. Everyone is taken with Christine and rather than have large ladies pretending to be young maidens singing lead roles in true Opera style it is decided with a little persuasion due to the Bucket's backers to give Christine the lead roles. So Christina provides the body and Agnes supplies the voice.
However when cast and crewmembers start dying and threaten to ruin the show the deaths are blamed on the ghost and something has to be done. Agnes is convinced she knows who the ghost is but when she is confronted by two different people...
Murder and mayhem at the opera but who is the ghost? Between them they seek out and unmask the mysterious ghost with all the humour and plot twists that are classic Pratchett.
Can the witches stop the murders at the Opera House?
What can be said for Terry Pritchett's Maskerade? More importantly what does Maskerade say? A mask is a device that wholly or partially conceals the face but also masks have the ability to conceal, change, or transform the person behind the image into something or someone else other than who they really are.
Maskerade isn't solely about an opera ghost but about how ordinary people wear masks and put on false appearances. What you see isn't always what you get.
As with many Discworld novels, Maskerade can be read and enjoyed by it's self however if you are familiar with Discworld and it's characters you will enjoy it even more.
A classic Pratchett. You will love. An enjoyable read and a delight for true Pratchett fans I adore Discworld! Especially the witches and Granny Weatherwax is by far one of my favourite character with her stern look on life who never admits she might be wrong or that there is something she is not familiar with, her outspoken way, and her "headology". Granny is an enigma and rather a unique witch, she is very clearly the leader of the coven a spinster and the old crone but above all and feared by many in Lancre including the trolls which I find absolutely hilarious especially when you discover the name they give her. I enjoy how Granny has more than once spoken her mind and is always the hero of the hour in all the Witches books. It takes a brave person or a very stupid one to mess with Granny. But Granny also has her softer side and I believe she can feel quite hurt and very much alone and vulnerable many a time, especially in Carpe Jugulum when she thought Magrat didn't want her attending her baby's christening.
Now Nanny Ogg is different, I find I am often shaking my head at her antics. She has been married four times and has a host of sons and daughters in law and rules her roost like a Queen and loves good booze up. I consider her to be more like the comic side kick to Granny's heroine yet Nanny has a way about her that makes her appear like she belongs where she is even when she is not. With Maskerade, Granny once again saves the day. I have been charmed with the Phantom of the Opera story for quite some time and have always loved Terry Pritchett's parodies and with this book he has blended the two which I love and have read and re-read numerous times.
Thank you for reading.
Melodysparks (c) 2011
Maskerade is the eighteenth book set among the strange and fascinating Discworld - a small world as flat as a pancake resting atop the shoulders of four gargantuan elephants who in turn are standing on the shell of the huge Star Turtle - Great A'Tuin.
At the start of the book we learn that a young witch called Agnes Nitt has left the sleepy country of Lancre to pursue a career at the Ankh-Morpork Opera house. Elder witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg follow her, not only to recruit her for their coven (which now has three members, thanks to Magrat leaving at the end of Lords and Ladies), but also to collect some money which Nanny never received for a cookbook she wrote.
However, when they catch up to Agnes, the witches find that there are some strange goings-on in the Opera House. Gruesome murders, committed by the "Opera Ghost" and although the suspect might be obvious to everyone, Granny and Nanny believe there to be something else to this mystery, as they decide to investigate themselves.
Maskerade, as you probably guessed, takes a lot of themes and elements from the Phantom of the Opera story (as well as all its film adaptations), making the story almost a parody of it. But as Pratchett continues with the plot, it becomes apparent that this stands incredibly well by itself and sure it takes a few elements and ideas but he twists them around so much it takes a life of its own and evolves into a story only Terry Pratchett could come up with.
While a "witches" story, I don't normally consider it one, mainly because although it has the main characters all there (except for Magrat) there aren't any of the traditional folklore/old England themes which we've seen with the other books. Being based in Ankh-Morpork it has a strong "city watch" feel to it than anything else. It is actually quite good to see both Granny and Nanny act outside of Lancre this time though and having been out of Lancre the style of story is bound to change.
Nonetheless, it is still in incredibly good read, full of fantastic jokes, sharp wit and tense mystery. You'll be hooked from beginning to end.
Maskerade is the 18th novel in the discworld series and features Terry's most famous of characters The three witches named Granny weatherwax,Nanny Ogg and finally Magrat Garlick.
The story begins When Nanny and Granny weatherwax go in search of another witch to join there coven and they come across a girl named Agnes Nitt.But before they can convince her to join them she joins the opera.
The book also features a character by the name of christine who is the most beautiful girl in the whole world but not the brightest.In fact she sometimes wishes she would be ugly and intelligent rather than Beautiful and not smart.
The opera has inherited a ghost who goes around killing people and preventing them from using box 8 which is the best seat in the house for watching the opera.
Nanny Ogg receives a lot of money for the first time after her book sells well and she receives three thousand dollars for all her efforts.
The book that she has written seems to be a very dirty cook book.
There have been some people that have compared this book to the phantom of the opera which I have never really watched.I would not be surprised if the book was based on the phantom of the opera as most of terry's book borrow some other stories.He does make them his own story by using his own characters but I do sometimes wish he would come up use more of his own story.
As always its full of humor and worth a try if you have never read a discworld novel.
"You needed atleast three witches for a coven. Two witches was just an argument..."
Nanny Ogg is worried. She is worried that ever since Magrat got married and effectively left their little Ramtop coven that Granny Weatherwax is growing restless and that being such a powerful witch she might go to the bad. The irrepressible Nanny Ogg has a plan though. She needs to bring a new witch in, a maiden, and she has her eyes set on Agnes Nitt. Unfortunately Nanny Ogg discovers that Agnes has escaped their rural community of Lancre, changed her name to Perdita X and gone to Ankh-Morpork to follow a career singing at the Opera House.
Inducted into the Opera's chorus, Agnes/Perdita (a rather large, down to earth and dependable young lady with a "great personality") meets Christine (thin, pretty, blonde and rather vacant). Christine is also totally unsuited to singing; but with the resident Opera house Ghost having taken a shine to her and demanding she sing in the Opera's productions she is thrust into the limelight whilst poor Perdita (who is emminently more qualified for the part, vocally if not aesthetically) is asked by the Opera bosses to sing for Christine.
The Opera house is troubled; not only is the Ghost interfering with the Opera's casting, a number of its staff are found dead with maniacal notes from the Ghost. Instruments are being damaged and the money keeps rolling out of the coffers seemingly as quick as the new Boss can rake it in.
Whilst all this is going on, a local Ankh-Morpork printers is bewildered when a manuscript for a "cookery book" called "The Joye of Snacks" arrives on his doorstep. It is written by a Lancre Witch and sells (if you pardon the pun) like hot cakes!
Granny Weatherwax gets wind of this (she is after all one of the Witches of Lancre) and is horrified to discover that firstly, Nanny Ogg is the author and secondly, she has not recieved sufficient royalties for the book. She decides it is time for the Lancre Witches to pay a visit to Ankh-Morpork, the printers and as they are already there, they might as well pop in on the Opera.
Typically Discworld chaos enshues, with many twists and turns and a few red herrings thrown in for good measure.
Maskerade is a blinding romp through the Discworld. It is Terry Pratchett's 18th Discworld novel and the 5th to follow the escapades of the Lancre Witches. Its a hilarious pastiche of The Phantom of the Opera (the title of the book referencing one of Phantom's best known songs). There is also a lovely nod to the original stage Phantom with the characterisation of Walter Plinge (the supposedly simple young caretaker at the opera) who bears all the hallmarks of Michael Crawford's character in "Some mothers do ave 'em" (berret and all!). Agnes/Perdita is a great addition to the cast. She has cropped up in previous Witch novels, but she comes into her own here and is a great counterweight to the sappy, saccharine Christine. I was also delighted (quite gleefully so) that Nanny Ogg's cat Greebo plays a prominent part in the proceedings; how such a usually astute woman like Nanny Ogg can completely oversee Greebo's salacious and malicious nature, thinking of him fondly as a sweet little pussy cat is hilarious to read.
Maskerade, despite being set in a fantasy world, is filled with both subtle and more obvious but still brilliantly observed parallels with our world. This book, like many of the Discworld novels, can be read without having read what has gone before, although back reading will of course give you better insights into the characters of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg and their group dynamic. Pratchett's humour can sometimes take a while to get used to, but I loved this book and had no such troubles.
If you want a good laugh then I highly recommend the whole Discworld series but this book is especially good.
During the mid-90s, Terry Pratchett, already well-established with his Discworld series, hit a rich seam which, for me, yielded some of his best novels. Maskerade is one of the best of the best!
Set mostly in the Ankh Morpork Opera House, it sees those two meddlesome old witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg trying to recruit Agnes Nitt as the third witch in their coven, whilst also uncovering the mystery of The Phantom of the Opera.
And there, straight away, you can see the basic plot of the book. As with many other of his stories, Pratchett has taken a well known story, and done what he does best turned it upside down and approached it from every angle except the one we are most familiar with!
Maskerade is probably one of the most consistently funny Discworld books. Its not safe to read on trains or in public, as it will definitely have you laughing out loud! One of the strengths of the book is that it has a really broad-ranging sense of humour, taking in everything from slapstick style gags, ridiculous situations, through to clever wordplay, spoofs or recurring gags. Whatever your style of humour, you will find plenty within these pages to make you laugh, smile and at times snort!
The Discworld series is often at its best when it is spoofing something from the real world and showing how ludicrous things are. There are plenty of skits on opera (obviously), publishing and city life, but Pratchett has little digs at anything and everything. As such, even if you dont get some of the references and in-jokes, youll get plenty of others. Better still, all these elements are integrated smoothly into the plot, so both plot and fun go hand in hand. Many comedy books pack much of the humour into the first part, before concentrating on plot in the second (indeed, this is true of some of the Discworld books). Maskerade is consistently funny throughout.
Pratchett is the master of the understatement and the cleverly worded gag, and never has this been more apparent than here. His underplayed delivery and deliberately slow build up (or repetition) of certain themes and jokes builds the anticipation and makes them all the funnier when finally delivered. Pratchett is clearly a man who knows about comic timing.
Hes aided in this by two of his funniest characters taking centre stage: Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, two interfering old busybodies who have a very skewed view of the world. Its through the squabbling, bickering, misunderstandings and general misbehaviour of these two characters that much of the humour emerges. They have appeared in three previous Discworld novels, but have never been better than here. For me, much of the reason for that is they have been freed from the dulling influence of former third witch the wet hen Magrat Garlick. Now, they are able to bicker and argue to their hearts content and make for much better characters.
The strength of Pratchett, though, is that however ludicrous and grotesque his characters seem, they are never unrealistic. Not only do they operate in a logical way within their own world, but they also seem familiar to us. OK, so we might not know any actual witches like this, but we all know interfering old busybodies who think they know whats best for everyone! Equally, we all know a drama queen like Christine or a slightly odd, but somehow reliable person like Walter Plinge. As with his plots, Pratchetts characters hold up a mirror and reflect back to us the more stupid side of human nature.
Another Pratchett strength is his support characters, which are fully rounded and play a real role in plot development, as well as adding to the humour themselves. Each of the support characters feels as real as the witches and again, this helps both to create a fully believable world and ensures everyone gets a chance to be funny. The tone of the book is very consistent and fun and youll quickly find yourself sucked into Ankh Morpork and loving every minute it.
Pratchett also has a very readable style which is immediately accessible and welcoming. Established readers of the Discworld will immediately feel comfortable and at home, whilst new readers will not take long to settle in. Although this is actually the fourth witches book, and you will benefit from having read the others, its still perfectly readable and enjoyable as a standalone story in its own right. Although (until recently) he has never written in chapters, Pratchett does write in small chunks, which aids readability. Its a book where you will happily read large sections at once. Alternatively, if you dont have time, you can simply pick it up, read a couple of sections and then put it down again. The perfect book!
The only downside I can think of is that, like many of Pratchetts books, it is slightly overlong. This is partly because so many different plot strands and ideas have been introduced that it takes a while to wrap them all up. Having said that, you do feel that perhaps an extra 15-20 pages could have been shaved off the book without losing too much. Despite this, Maskerade continues to entertain right up to the end. If its a little overlong, this is easily forgivable, given how much enjoyment it has provided you with over the course of its 200+ pages.
Maskerade is available from Amazon (used) from about 34p, so no excuses not to buy it!
© Copyright SWSt 2007
As a reader of numerous 'Terry Books' (My own title for them) I have picked this one out as possibly the best I've ever read. Which ever one of Pratchets' long list of tales you read you will always be confused, never understand where the plot is going, be forever re-reading sentences / paragraphs / pages / chapters / books yet be constantly laughing the entire time. Maskerade is set in Ankh-Morpork, two cities (Ankh and Morpork) that are joined as one and divided by the 'liquid-less' river Ankh. The Opera House is the main setting for this book and a number of familiar characters play their part, most notably Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax and a personal favorite of mine Greebo (The human who can change at will into a cat). The opera house is subject to bizarre goings on and when staff start to disappear it is met with a cry of "The show must go on!", a common theme throughout. It also tells the tale of Agnes, who embarkes on her opera singing career admidst the madness. With Christine, the opposite of Agnes - thin, beautiful, angelic and playing the lead role, they pursue the ghost of the Opera House. Weatherwax and Ogg show up in town searching for Agnes and also to collect money owed from the sale of Nanny Oggs special recipies book! The two witches ensure that all goes their way, despite using magical means. Another great character is Henry Slugg aka Senor Ballista. He plays the tenor in the play and is percieved to be a man of class, beneath he is plain old Henry Slugg who likes to eat pies! These are but a few examples of the amusing twists and turns the book takes. For any future readers I shan't give too much more away except to say there is little left of the book to read by the time you start to grasp what is happening. It is definitely a book I'd read again, probably because I need to as well as want to. The book is colorful, fast moving a
nd hilariously funny throughout. The plot changes from a complex tangle of unpredictability to a fitting and satisfactory ending. A must for all Pratchet lovers and for any fantasy fan, so go get a copy!
Readers either love or hate Pratchett, as he romps through the World of Literature creating fantastical parodies whenever he writes. Maskerade is an obvious send up of the famous Phantom Of The Opera so if this sort of thing makes your blood boil, then now's the time to make a soothing cup of tea and work off your rage by beating a pillow to death. The main characters are Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Agnes Nitt a.k.a. Perdita X. From Granny and Nanny's point of view, the entire novel is about their need for a replacement third witch to take over the tea making, order taking and general dogsbody duties that were abandoned by Magrat Garlick in the 14th Discworld novel, Lords And Ladies, in favour of marrying a lowly king - clearly a major step down in status ... From everyone else's point of view, the novel is about Agnes' experiences in Ankh-Morpork's Opera House and the mysterious ghost that haunts the building and seems to be picking off the staff. Agnes can sing - really sing - perhaps because of her natural occult abilities seeking a vent. This naturally marks her out as an ideal replacement third witch. That plus her wonderful personality and nice hair. (It's not polite to mention her size, especially when it's so visable.) Finding a job as a singer in Ankh-Morpork, where everyone eventually ends up at some point in their lives (a bit like London), is her only alternative (or escape route) from being "selected" by Granny and Nanny for a lifetime of servitude. By the time Nanny's decided she can't possibly make anymore tea for Granny, Agnes has already scarpered off to the Big City where the streets are paved with something golden. However, some mystic tea leaves convince Granny and Nanny that Agnes could do with some protection in Ankh-Morpork - that and Nanny's confession to publishing The Joye of Snackes there, under the name of the Lancre Witch i.e. Granny - so off they go to kee
p their eyes out for Agnes, lend a helping hand, and incidentally maybe browbeat her into returning to Lancre for a spot of tea making duties. Number one on the witching agenda is clearly The Joye Of Snacks on two counts. Firstly, Nanny is clearly having major money making problems so it's definitely Granny's duty to see that Nanny gets her fair share of royalties and that Granny spends it. Secondly, the Lancre Witch is obviously Granny (as she's clearly The Witch in Lancre unlike the other witches) and some (actually all) of Nanny's snack recipes are of a rather dubious nature e.g. Carrot and Oyster Pie (carrots so you can see in the dark and oysters so you have something to look at). If the magic number of three witches is to be heeded, then they must fall into the magic three categories: the "maiden", the "mother" and the "crone". Granny's attitude to the Lancre Witch's Joye Of Snacks can therefore be summed up by this: Nanny is definitely a "mother" by a lot of practicing and the obvious results, whereas Granny can fill both of the other two categories at the same time. Number two on the witching agenda is Agnes. However, if you've read the Phantom Of The Opera then you'll have a bemused idea of how this should pan out, though Agnes somehow usurps the main female lead to become an unlikely heroine. Good ol' practical Agnes sings the leading roles in a number of operas (as taught by a mystery ghost) while rich but talentless Christine (whom the ghost thinks he's teaching) "acts" the leading roles because her daddy's paying for the Opera House. While Agnes bravely sings on against the backdrop of An Opera House Gone Mad, Granny and Nanny do a bit of detective work and find out what's really going on i.e. just who is the Opera Ghost, Answers on a Postcard Please. If you want to know who the Opera Ghost is, then see if you can work out the answer to Gr
anny's question: "what's the first thing you'd take out of a burning house"? Although Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg (and Agnes) take over the novel, renewing a welcome acquaintance, there are various secondary characters in sub-plots. One of these characters is Enrico Basilica the Famous Opera Singer a.k.a. Henry Slugg. Enrico/Henry hugs the secret of his mundane Ankh-Morporkian family roots to himself, which leaves him wide open to some humourous blackmailing by Granny. Another one is obviously the ghost but I can't reveal who that is without spoiling the novel, so I'll just have to leave your natural suspicions at work accusing any character I haven't named. Maskerade is classic Pratchett - despite being the 18th novel in the Discworld series, the humour is still fresh and the stories are still addictive. The novel is a veritable hodge-podge of activity and you'll end up racing through the chapters to keep up with the characters. As the Discworld series has been going for so long, a number of the characters have, by now, been established as firm favourites with fans. Some of these favourites make an appearance in this novel: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Greebo the Cat, Death, Mrs Palm, Nobby Nobbs and Detrius of the City Watch, and the Librarian. If you haven't grown to love the Discworld series yet, then dive in to this introduction; if you have, then don't miss this delightful installment; if you won't, then read the first paragraph again! [Tip: If The Joye Of Snacks has caught hold of your troubled imagination, then you can buy a faithful representation - Pratchett's Nanny Ogg's Cookbook is available in all good bookstores. Just remember Nanny Ogg is an "earthy" character and you've already been warned about the likely style of her recipes. Enjoy.]
This is the phantom of the Opera done Discworld style. This book stars the Witches but the lineup has changed for this one. Those who are familiar with the series will know that last time we met the witches Magrat got married to King Verence. So for this adventure it’s just Granny and Nanny. Granny Weatherwax is an old witch with a will of iron and a stare to match. Everyone is scared of her even though she is a good witch but good is different from nice. Nanny Ogg is another old witch but she is the matriarch of a vast clan. She has them all under her thumb and tells a ver good line in dirty jokes and anecdotes. Just don’t let her sing the hedgehog song. From what I can tell (having not seen the show) this follows the Phantom of the Opera story pretty closely but with changes which alter it completely. It involves masks, hidden identities and ballerinas walking on their toes. This book is good and is a kind of mystery book but is more a general story.
Pratchett does it again! Another best seller, set on the discworld (TM), featuring his star characters - the witches. In case you are from another planet, Terry Pratchett is a hugely successful author, most famous for his comic fantasy novels which are set on the discworld - a large flat world, supported by four elephants, which floats through space on the back of a turtle. In case that isn't strange enough for you, this world features wizards, witchs, dwarfs, elves, trolls, and every other kind of creature which ever appears in any fantasy novel. As with every Pratchett book, there are 'resonances' with the real world. In this story, the witches end up in Anhk-Morpork - a city-state ruled by a Patrician. They are following Anges Nitt - a fat girl with a thin girl desparately trying to get out. She has natural talent to be a witch, and they want to train her. She has other ideas though, and goes to join the Opera in Ankh-Morpork. Then some strange murders start happening - yes this is the discworld answer to Phantom of the Opera. This is a funny book, with more belly laughs than most, especially if you are familiar with the world of Opera, and the story of Phantom of the Opera. A thoroughly good read, and you spot more jokes each time you read it.
Imagine a small kingdom near the mountains, where country ways are still accepted. Now a small, well rather large girl, by the name of Agnes Nit doesn't want to end up being a country girl so she runs away to the city of Ank Morpork where she joins the opera and calls herself Perdita X. At the same time a witch by the name of Nanny Ogg gets a book published called 'the joy of snack', which is full of recipes with a 'few' anecdotes. The book has sold a great deal, but Nanny has not received any payment, at the same time a new witch is needed (Magrat has got married) and Agnes fits the bill, so off they the witches troop to the city, and wonder into a plot reminiscent of Phantom of the Opera. This is the 4th witches book, and although can be read without reading the books before it, reading them will add a lot to the book. As with all Terry Pratchett books it is well written, funny and addictive!
The Opera House, Ankh-Morpork, is a huge, rambling building, where innocent young sopranos are lured to their destiny by an evil mastermind in a hideously deformed evening dress. But Granny Weatherwax, Discworld's most famous witch, is in the audience and she doesn't hold with that sort of thing.