As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

February 9, 2011

NATION by Terry Pratchett, 2008

NationWhen a giant wave destroys his village, Mau is the only one left. Daphne—a traveler from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Separated by language and customs, the two are united by catastrophe. Slowly, they are joined by other refugees. And as they struggle to protect the small band, Mau and Daphne defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. (Amazon product description)

Kim Thacker, writer and mommy

If you haven't read Terry Pratchett's NATION, go out and buy it. Immediately. And then prepare yourself and your family, because you will be MIA for a while...

Dry, wry humor shines in this book, as it does in all of Terry Pratchett's young adult novels (Oo!  While I'm telling you to buy Pratchett novels, I'd better suggest his Tiffany Aching series, starting with THE WEE FREE MEN.  Soooooo funny.).  While reading NATION, I laughed, I cried, I ignored my bedside clock when it read 11:40 p.m., and I ignored it again at 12:10, and when I was done reading, I THOUGHT.  I though about tsunamis and shipwrecks and death and life.  I thought about tree-climbing octopi.

And I definitely thought about what I believed.

I cannot emphasize enough how beautiful this book is.  Pratchett is truly a master story-teller.  The writing is flawless and seemingly effortless.  The two main characters speak different languages, and Pratchett, writing in English, captures both languages and the difficulty the two characters have in understanding each other.  It's astounding.  I continue to be delighted by this wonderful, British writer.

This book won a Printz honor in 2009, so the content reflects that.  It's more mature than most Newbery medal-winning novels, but the excellence of the writing merits the award.

Market:  Young Adult
Language:  Mild
Sensuality:  Mild
Violence:  Mild (adventure peril, tsunamis and resulting destruction, and death...and coming back to life)
Mature Themes: Identity; the examination of religion--no religion is set up as more important than the other; death--including Death as a character; ghosts; and witchcraft--I'm calling it witchcraft, but it's not evil.

Book formats:
Nation (paperback) 
Nation (Kindle)
Nation (hardcover) 

To learn more about the author, visit: Terry Pratchett


Amoniel said...

I love what I've read of Terry's Discworld series, it might be fun to check out this book :D

Laurie said...

One of the best books ever! A story that makes you laugh, cry, and think. There's an excellent audiobook version as well.

Amy Finnegan {} said...

I'm sold. I've heard so many good things about this book, I can't resist! And it has a good audio version (That means I can actually clean my house and read - sorta - at the same time!) I'm there :)

Thanks for the awesome review, Kim!

Anonymous said...

@Amoniel and Amy: You will both love it, I hope! It's truly incredible, as Laurie said. I haven't heard the audio, but I'm very eager to "re-read" this book, and I think I'll give the audio a try. This is one of those books that is truly astonishing. Literally--I was reading with buggy eyes because I couldn't believe how huge the story way, and how accessible at the same time. Absolutely gorgeous.

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

So happy to read a review of this wonderful book. I loved it as well mostly because it made me wonder and dig deeper at my own beliefs. Great review, Kim.

Anonymous said...

@Kim Kincaid: Thank you for introducing me to Terry's work! Remember laughing together about the amazing audio for THE WEE FREE MEN? "Crivens!"

BunGirl said...

I love Pratchett -- I have since someone handed me a copy of "The Hogfather" more than a decade ago. While I have a feeling that he and I would not see eye to eye on much were we to sit down and discuss, well, pretty much anything, his writing never fails to make me laugh!

Oh, and The Idea Room sent me.