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.

January 8, 2014

THE HOGFATHER by Terry Pratchett, 1996

Who would want to harm Discworld's most beloved icon? Very few things are held sacred in this twisted, corrupt, heartless -- and oddly familiar -- universe, but the Hogfather is one of them. Yet here it is, Hogswatchnight, that most joyous and acquisitive of times, and the jolly old, red-suited gift-giver has vanished without a trace. (Amazon)

Reviewed by L. Danielle

Susan is just your average governess, tucking in your average children on an average holiday bearing a remarkable similarity to Christmas. Everything is normal.


Everything’s not.

THE HOGFATHER, idol of millions, is… gone, but it’s Hogswatch night and if children wake up in the morning without presents the results could be disastrous. How disastrous? Susan’s grandfather, Death, predicts that if children do not wake up on Hogswatch day believing in the Hogfather than the sun won’t rise in the morning.

So what exactly is going on? The Auditors (the ones in charge of making sure the universe makes sense) have gone to the assassins’ guild and put a hit out on the fat man. This rather unexpected request has left the guild scrambling for a way to kill an immortal being.  The only man for the job is Mr. Teatime (pronounced Teh-ah-tim-eh) an eccentric though gifted student of the guild. Mr. Teatime’s got a plan, but first he’s going to have to have to hire a locksmith, a wizard, a couple of thugs, and he’s going to have to kidnap a tooth fairy.

Death of course, doesn’t expect Susan to get involved. She’s resolved to be a normal human living a normal life and he doesn’t think she should change a thing. However, since he can’t allow for the sun not to rise in the morning Death resolves not just to find a replacement Hogfather. He decides to become one.

The grim reaper posing as the symbol of joy and happiness and eating until you explode? What could possibly go wrong?
The Hogfather aims at reminding adults not to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, but easily sidesteps sounding preachy. It remains a hilarious romp through the fictional Discworld. The story follows Mr. Teatime and his odd band as they break into the Tooth Fairy’s castle and begin hoarding teeth, Susan’s plight to find the real Hogfather before any children figure out that a cloak full of bones (or worse- parents) are putting out the Hogswatch presents, and Death as he tries to understand why it matters if the child has been naughty or nice. Don’t they just get presents anyway?

This book is great. The quirky characters, the odd setting, the bizarre scenarios, it’s nothing like your average Christmas story. The Hogfather is a fat man with tusks, his sleigh is pulled by giant boars, there are talking ravens and dim witted night watchmen and a host of weirdness that makes this book amazing. I’m not recommending that you read it in December when you want to feel warm and fuzzy, but maybe if you’re feeling frustrated from all of the shopping and company and chaos that often accompanies the holidays, then I suggest you lock yourself if your room and read this book. It’ll remind you of what’s important.  

Market: Adults
Language: Mild
Sensuality: None
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: Death (But really it’s not a sad book! Promise!)

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