I spent a lot of time over the weekend wandering around trying to figure out what I was in the mood for. Watching The Last Seduction wasn’t it; though it’s pretty amazing to watch Linda Fiorentino’s character and how her brain works, she’s so thoroughly amoral that it’s hard to feel good about it, at least in the mood I was in Saturday. (It did net me an amusing half-an-hour where I contemplated how I would handle the trial that’s pending at the end of the movie; there’s definitely a possibility or two there, though I’d still do my best to avoid going to trial.) Re-reading The Lady’s Not For Burning wasn’t it; I got through the first act and realized that I hadn’t been paying attention for the last ten pages. Watching The Hunt for Red October was almost it, but I didn’t see the whole thing.
After eventually determining that I was looking for was the equivalent of “things go fast and blow up,” I ended up with Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies—in which some things do go fast, and I suppose some thing probably blows up, but which is not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of “things go fast and blow up.” However, I was after something fast-paced, vigorous, lively, and with some righteous butt-kicking. (The “righteous” bit being where The Last Seduction falls short.) All of the Discworld books are lively and fast-paced, and Lords and Ladies has some of the most enjoyable showdowns of the series. Of the books focusing on the Lancre witches, I still have a soft spot for Witches Abroad, but I think this one is the high point to date. (I re-read Carpe Jugulum a while ago and now think that it’s a little too similar to Lords and Ladies after all.)
I think I once had, or read, an edition with the following quote on the back, which makes for much better cover copy than that on the US HarperPrism trade paperback edition we currently have on hand:
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
Granny facing down the Queen of the Elves: great stuff and particularly recommended.
(The next Discworld book, The Night Watch, should be out in a few weeks, and I’m quite looking forward to it.)