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One opera ghost too many
Maskerade - Terry Pratchett
Member Name: melodysparksuk
Maskerade - Terry Pratchett
Date: 29/07/11, updated on 29/07/11 (103 review reads)
Advantages: Humourous and witty parody that casts a new light on the classic tale
Disadvantages: Previous knowledge of Discworld would help but can be read alone
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
Summary: Reworking of Phantom of the opera with 3 witches and too many ghosts