Unseen Academicals is a little bit of a slow starter as you are introduced to new characters and the workings of the Maze under the Unseen University. The new characters are Glenda the night cook, her pretty and ditzy friend Juilet, Trev Likely a jack the lad and Mr Nutt, the… Well I wont spoil what he is, what is becomes, and his constant quest for worth.
The Wizards are back in all their glory and we see a very different side of Archchancellor Ridcully, he becomes virtually Vetinari in his manipulation of Faculty, and speaking of the Patrician we even see a more human side of Vetinari.
I found this Discworld novel a better read than Making Money, although I feel he has written better stories from the Discworld, my favorites being a toss up between the Witches and the Guards. The pace for this story was up and down, and a couple of places I felt it stumbled especially around the discovery of the Tackle, which is unusual for this author.
What Sir Terry does well is make his world a mirror of ours, and in this case they tackle foot-the-ball, and that is done well. The game at the beginning resembles the older medieval village football, and the match at the end is told at a frenetic pace you can’t help but cheer at the descriptions that put you into the heart of the game. Some old faces pop up in what is more a nod to the readers of the Discworld series, than to really help the story along.
The most touching part of this story was Mr Nutt’s speech about what is worth and it made me think about the true value of worth, and how it is perceived to others. A knack that Sir Terry has with a lot of his books, one minute your laughing, the next you are crying.
In all a great installment to the series, I want to learn more about these new characters and given Sir Terry’s aliments I hope we are not reading an end.