To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork - a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of the elements: earth, air, fire and water. This being Ankh-Morpork, it’s soon drawing astonished crowds, some of whom caught the zeitgeist early and arrive armed with notepads and very sensible rainwear.
Moist von Lipwig is not a man who enjoys hard work - as master of the Post Office, the Mint and the Royal Bank his input is, of course, vital...but largely dependent on words, which are fortunately not very heavy and don’t always need greasing. However, he does enjoy being alive, which makes a new job offer from Vetinari hard to refuse....
Steam is rising over Discworld, driven by Mister Simnel, the man wi’ t’flat cap and sliding rule who has an interesting arrangement with the sine and cosine. Moist will have to grapple with gallons of grease, goblins, a fat controller with a history of throwing employees down the stairs and some very angry dwarfs if he’s going to stop it all going off the rails....
©2013 Terry and Lyn Pratchett (P)2013 Random House Audiobooks
"It is like being bitten by a black ribbon vampire"
I have pictured Sir Terry Prachett very much in the same stage of his career as Albert Uderzo after his previous two discworld novels. It seemed that some of the puns got better, but the storyline shoddier. It is with pleasure that I can announce that I am COMPLETELY WRONG!
Moist von Lipwig - the rascal from ‘Going Postal’ and ‘Making Money’ is back… with a HUF and a PUFF! In ‘Raising Steam’ Lord Vetinari - the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork - calls in the help of the scoundrel of scoundrels to work miracles thus ensuring that the new invention - the steam locomotive - becomes the new buzz around the Discworld.
For die-hard Discworld fans, the basic story is very much the same as that of “The Truth.” A new invention comes along, there is a threat to the invention, the obstacle is eliminated and everybody lives happily ever after with the invention changing the city or the Discworld. (With Überwald in the picture, you might say that it is “The Truth” but bitten by a black ribbon vampire.)
In this story you will meet the dear sir Harry King the king of pooh (without an ‘h’) leaving his toilet humour behind and becoming a Railway Baron. Obviously the blackboard monitor, commander of the watch, Sir Samuel Vimes has to use his talents for getting the criminals to talk. But the biggest difference is that this time Ankh-Morpork’s bureaucracy are not the enemy. It is throwing in its weight behind the steam kettle and getting its hands dirty.
In the end the Discworld has once again changed… but is it for the better?
What I like about this book is the way Terry Prachett’s uses the ‘lore’ of the Discworld to create a fun-filled adventure. He brings together a lot of Discworld strains. However, if you have never read (or listened to) any Discworld novels, you will still be able to enjoy it.
Stephen Briggs - as always - performs the story terrifically. (This is definitely more than just reciting a book aloud.) Once again he brings the Discworld and its people to life.
For those who love the Discworld, especially when Sir Terry Pratchett is at his best, this book is a return to the good old ways (but with a new jacket). It is so good I think it will make an excellent gift to someone dear to you. If you are a new comer to the Discworld you could start here and later enjoy the rest. It comes highly recommended.
"Always a treat..."
Visiting the Discworld and its denizens is always a treat. Stephen Briggs paint wonderful pictures with his voice by giving every character a unique dialect or accent. I enjoyed this rendition so much that I have listened to it at least 10 times.
"A cast of thousands"
This book contains more characters from the Discworld than any previous Pratchett book. As well as the usual favourites, the goblins feature well and a few personalities just glimpsed in earlier novels are fleshed out. Less of the cryptic humour and more storyline. I tried very hard to get into the last two non-Discworld books and had to give up. This is a welcome return.
"Terry Pratchett: Past the bounds of imagination."
Terry Pratchett is a well known writer of humorous Science Fiction and Fantasy. His popular series is Discworld. A world perched on the back of four elephants whom themselves stand on the shell of a gigantic turtle that swims through space. On this world logic takes the back seat as magic drives towards a cliff and since its conception by Terry Pratchett, the Discworld has created more than forty stories that push the bounds of imagination and make fun of everything from the traditional view of witches to the stereotypical view of operatic actors and singers.
Raising Steam is Sir Terry's latest work, in the sub-story line of the character Moist Von Lipwig, a former serial confidence trickster, who after being hanged to within an inch of his life, was employed by the Patrician of Ankh Morpork, the despotic Lord Vetinari, to rebuild several of the important services within Ankh Morpork.
However with the rise of the steam locomotive to the Discworld, Moist Von Lipwig is charged with making its introduction smooth and without hitches. But troubles stir as the ultra-radical and conservative Dwarven 'Grags' begin to make their presence felt.
I found this story amusing and highly clever in the use of the common ideas for the hay-days of the railway revolution and the amusing way that Terry Pratchett tied ideas together to create such an excellent story.
"40 books in and still going strong"
Heartily recommend this book to anyone with a funny bone
PTerry always brings technology to the disc with a wonderfully slanted view. We learn a lot more about the patrician.
Stephen Briggs brings another excellent performance.
Yes, and I did.
40th discworld book and PTerry just gets better and better. Well done Sir T.
"A tad slow to get to steam"
The social structure that Terry paints is very intruiging akin to our worldly differences with race and religion.
But the first 4 chapters take too long, too much expose that could be done during a story. And not like the other Pratchett book I read. However the story finally gets steam and becomes interesting. Not exciting or thrilling but okay. Frankly I expected more from this great author.
"Steam takes a long time to raise!"
The pace of this book was unusual, there were times where I wondered where it was going. However as the book progresses Mr Pratchett draws all the threads together and things begin to make sense. There's not a lot of action until closer to the end, and then there is action in spades.
I enjoyed the politics behind discworld, Vetinari, the dwarves, other factions as they struggle to deal with technological advancements. You need more knowledge of Discworld than this book gives you to appreciate this aspect of the story though. I would say definitely written for Discworld fans rather than someone new to Discworld.
Probably not Mr Pratchett's best book, but I'm glad I bought it and listened to it. If you're not a discworld fan, or know nothing of discworld, then this isn't the book for you.
"Raising steam raised little interest"
Have read nearly everything Terry Pratchett has written and was looking forward to this book....was disappointed in that I failed to connect with any of the characters and by the fifth chapter found other things to do. Have persevered through another couple of chapters but still nothing to raise my steam.
"Keep them coming, Terry"
Like almost every story Terry Pratchett has written, I will listen to this story over and over again. I never get sick of the humour and the morality of his stories.
I love Adora Dearheart. She's her own woman.
There are many belly laughs in this story.
"Pretchetty action, but only liitle news"
Another must-have for Diskworld and Ankh-Morpork fans, and its quite ok. Newcomers to Diskworkd should read at least Going Postal first, or maybe even Thud.
The development of the Diskworld, and Vetinary plays a bigger role.
Discussions between Havaloc and Moist
There is always another Diskworkd book needed. Always.
The story is not that surprising. It misses a bit of a surprising twist. But it has some funny and insightful moments.
"Essential for fans, but not the best of Discworld"
If you're thinking of reading this book, you're almost certainly already a Terry Pratchett fan. (If you're not, don't even think of starting with this one - start with "Guards! Guards!", "Going Postal" or "Mort").
Raising Steam is a crossover of the Watch Sequence (Guards Guards, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay etc) and the Industrial Revolution Sequence (Moving Pictures, Going Postal, Making Money). Whilst most of the watch have only cameo roles, the book is closely tied to recent events in the Discworld, so don't skip ahead if you haven't read The Fifth Elephant, Thud!, and Making Money.
I felt the book didn't have the roller-coaster-to-the-end feel of the better Discworld novels. I'm not giving any of the plot away to say that the story builds towards a train journey from Ankh-Morpork to Uberveld against Dwarvish Grag opposition. This journey takes up a fairly long portion of the book, and just isn't that exciting. Amidst the ineffective Grag attacks it is interrupted by fairly pointless and anvilicious scenes with Gnome cobblers and child saboteurs. The end of the journey, when it eventually chugs into sight, brings no surprises. It's more disappointing than exciting to have dramatic revelations of details that have already been heavily foreshadowed.
This isn't a bad book, it just has nothing new or special to recommend it above the other Discworld novels. If you've got several unread Pratchetts and are trying to decide which one to enjoy next, go for a different one. If you've read everything Discworld has to offer, and are wondering whether to continue, it's a good listen. In particular it moves the Discworld technology and race-relations forward, so Raising Steam will be necessary to make sense of future books.
The novel contains cameos from the Wizards, most of the Watch, the reporters, and of course, Death.
I miss Nigel Planer as the voice of Discworld, but Stephen Briggs has read all of the more recent Discworld books and does a splendid job.
"Ride The Rails Through This Discworld Gem!"
To begin, I should admit I'm an enormous fan of all of Sir Terry's work and in particular the Discworld novels. That said, this is amongst the best. The Discworld franchise has gone from strength to strength with the last fifteen or so novels in particularly raising the game substantially. 'Raising Steam' is like a Pratchett bumper-pack filled with an astonishing array of fan-favourite characters, yet it doesn't feel as though they've been forced in for the sake of fan approval. The novel flows beautifully and is extremely fast-paced, perhaps even more so than ever before.
Amongst other things we're treated to another Lipwig 'how is he going to get out of this one?' moment with as satisfying solution as the one in 'Going Postal' as well as a good dose of classic Sam Vimes. There are also some fresh characters to meet too!
Stephen Briggs' performance is, as ever, flawlessly engaging and entertaining.
Really, I don't want to give too much away. So suffice to say that Discworld fans will not be disappointed, though those who are new to the franchise should probably read/listen to some of the earlier novels first as the experience of 'Raising Steam' is greatly enriched if you're already familiar with the Ankh-Morpork movers and shakers.
I'm a huge Pratchett fan and a huge fan of Stephen Briggs. Raising Steam did not disappoint. One of the things I liked the most about it was that, as so many Pratchett books, I got to catch up on what my old friends were up to. Having read or listened to everything I really do feel like I know these characters and this book as many of my favorites including Moist, Vimes, Vetinari, Adora Belle, Harry King, The Librarian....
I'm also a fan of the Goblins and the way Pratchett uses them to touch on issues of race and immigration.
I really love this series of books: Going Postal, Making Money, Raising Steam and there parallels with our own Industrial Revolution...though I probably know more about Ankh-Morpork's than ours. Definitely read the books in order.
Stephen Briggs' reading is, as always, superb and funny and spot on. (Though if you've listened to as many as I have you might find there are one or two characters that have the same voice but to be fair Stephen as voice many many hundreds of different characters.) Whilst Tony Robinsons readings are equally brilliant, I just love unabridged audiobooks.
Younger listens should try Truckers, Diggers and Wings. That's where it all started for me.
Terry Pratchett never ceases to amaze, enthrall and entertain me.
"Pratchett at his best"
Discworld railway trails!
Stephen Briggs narration was excellent as always.
This book has had many mixed reviews but I found it as endearing and exciting as any of the previous novels. It develops characters introduced in earlier books to great advantage.
A must listen!
"Slightly going off the boil"
In both Snuff & now Raising Steam, it seems that Pratchett is using a seasoned cast of characters - the only new character is Dick Simnel, a plain-speaking northerner (north of the UK). The storyline is as funny as we would expect from Pratchett, but it seems an increasing sense of 'edit to size' is being carried out by his publishers. I've noticed, particularly on Audible, that some books have minor elements with a tacked-on feel to make the magic 400-page mark.
It was rather depressing to hear Pratchett talk In Ely (he clearly wasn't up to it) and I'm beginning to think his helper, Rod Wilkins(?) may be doing more than just copying down Pratchett's word.
Still better than 95% of books in an average bookshop would be considered a great achievement to most authors, but to Pratchett, that's sadly down a couple of %.
Buy it, read it, enjoy it - it may be the last; sadly.
The whole Goblin sections
Gives the voices a nuance rarely found in audiobooks - an amazing feat for someone reading Pratchett - he doesn't just put everything at 11 and played it for cheap laughs.
Not a moment, but the first time I felt that maybe not all of the words were Pratchett's own.
You WILL listen to it again, and again so a bargain. Ausible is MY future to audiobooks.
"Good, but not the best"
I have read all of Terry Pratchetts books. All fan's know the day will come when Terry is too ill to write any more Discworld books, so we absorb every morsel while he is still around to enjoy and thank. Thank You Terry, for devoting your life to giving us such wonderful adventures and making us laugh.
'Raising Steam' is the first of Pratchetts novels where i can sense all is not well. The first half of the book felt disjointed, with too many characters being introduced, and some padding that didn't read like Pratchetts work at all. Like others who have left reviews, I wonder whether Terry's assistant has more of a hand in this book than transcribing.
The second half of the book felt more like a Pratchett novel, with many laugh out loud moments.
I listened to this book after having spent many hours immersed in the epic Patrick Rothfuss novels 'The name of the wind' and 'The wise man's fear' narrated by the stunning Rupert Degas. After the incredible quality of writing and narration in those books, listening to 'Raising Steam' was a bit of a come down. I generally enjoy Stephen Briggs narration but found his diction to be lacking in this reading.
I would recommend 'Raising Steam' to fans, as learning the continuity of the characters is fascinating and fun, but for those choosing their first Pratchett book 'Guards Guards',Feet of clay', 'Night watch' and 'Thud' are hilarious, top class listens.
"Another entertaining read from Terry Pratchett"
Catching up with the antics of Mr Von Lipwig and friends and seeing Vimes in action again.
Vetinari's manipulation of characters into accepting his view of the steam engine. He is definitely one of my favourite characters.
For me Stephen Briggs will always be the voice of Commander Vimes. No other narrator can do Vimes justice.
Being an avid Pratchett fan the release of Raising Steam could not come soon enough. I gave it a virtually uninterrupted listen as soon as it was released, and have listened to it subsequently at a more leisurely pace. It is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining story but for me, unfortunately it doesn't quite hit that five star mark. Although there is still a lot of witty word play I felt that the dialogue between characters just lacked some of it's humour and subtle word play. Also, for the first time ever I felt that Mr. Briggs's reading of some of the characters lacked its usual polish and consistency. I have always thought of Stephen Briggs as the best narrator of Terry Pratchett's books, and have admired his consistency with character voices, however, this does slip a little in Raising Steam, with, for example Adora Bell having rather an accent change. Having said the above. Raising steam as read by Stephen Briggs is still a great book and I would recommend it to anyone.
"Not Terry's best"
I recommend Terry Pratchett's books to many people but I certainly wouldn't suggest this one as a 'starter' for getting into Discworld. For 'newbies', try 'Guards, guards', 'Going Postal' (my first read which got me hooked), or possibly 'Lords and Ladies' or 'Witches Abroad'.
This book doesn't live up to the fun of other Discworld novels. It is quite 'flat' and doesn't have a strong, attention grabbing plotline. The characters don't seem to have much spark - particulary Moist, or Vimes.
Competent, accomplished, predictable. I know many people prefer Brigg's narration over that of Nigel Planer, and I do prefer one or two of his characters, but overall I find him a little boring at times.
I love Terry Pratchett's Discworld books and have read them all multiple times but this one simply isn't as good as some of the others. I was really looking forward to another Moist Von Lipwig book but this was a bit of letdown.
"The history of the railway - Discworld style!"
I would recommend this book to any fan of the Discworld (who will probably already have bought it) but I wouldn't suggest starting with this book if you haven't read any of the Discworld before. This book refers to a lot of past events and includes cameos from a lot of familiar characters that would be lost on anyone who had not read any of the Discworld series before.
The book itself is entertaining and follows on with the theme of the integration of different species into Ankh Morpork and how they adapt to the changes and challenges of the 'modern' world - in particular the dwarfs. This story strand has been tackled before by Pratchett and Raising Steam develops some of the ideas that first appeared in The Fifth Elephant and Thud! It also recounts the gradual acceptance of goblins into a role in the city, following on from their initial 'emancipation' in Snuff. Each of these races has a very different reaction to the arrival of the railway on the Disc.
The book is nominally a Moist von Lipwig story, but actually is quite different to Going Postal and Making Money since it contains so many other characters too.
This isn't a five star novel for me, mainly because it feels like Pratchett is trying to pack too much information into the first section and it takes a while for the novel to develop into the familiar style of a Discworld novel.
Probably Moist's fight alongside the Goblins with the delvers who have crossed the line - there is a new edge of brutality in this novel which I don't think is present in some of Pratchett's earlier novels. Pratchett is definitely exploring a darker side to the Disc in recent novels.
I have several books narrated by Stephen Briggs and for me he is the ultimate Discworld narrator. He voices the characters exactly as I imagine them and brings the story to life - I own this novel both in print and in audio and found that Briggs's performance actually added to the story and made some of the longer passages of character introspection more entertaining.
"Should come with a spotter's guide and an anorak"
Yes, the style's changed from most Discworld books, but that change was evident in Snuff too so I'm not sure why people seem so surprised by this. I don't like the long, unnatural speeches the characters make in the later books when apparently in conversation, but it didn't bother me as much in this book as it did in Snuff. Get past this, and the style is different but no less Pratchett.
What this novel really is, for the first half of the book at least, is a spotter's guide to Discworld, its characters and its history (nicely appropriate that - this book should really come with a ticklist and an anorak). I'm in no doubt that this book would be a real turn-off if I came to it cold or having read only one or two other DW books, but the first half of the book is so dense with old characters popping up, and sly references to events in past books, that I couldn't help but enjoy it - it made me feel like a complete geek to be honest. And the events whizzed past, with humour and quite a lot of darkness (lots of people killed in this book!) only really interrupted by the odd monologues Terry seems to love now.
The main train journey itself was well-written. I won't give anything away but the fantasy climax of this book, the most fantastic moment, is one of the best 'images' Pratchett has painted in his novels. The relationship between characters who'd previously not been in close quarters - particularly Vimes and Moist - was also intruiging.
There are some nice little twists toward the end of this novel too, which make this feel much more like Discworld of old than UA or Snuff.
This one's for readers already well-familiar with the Discworld. As I said, spotter's guide defintely needed!
(Stephen Briggs brilliant as usual too)
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