Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Story contains: PG-13 language and some sensual talk.
Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses – until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into…a government job?
By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it’s Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position – and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely.
Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be a near-impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office building; and with only a few creaky old postmen and one rather unstable, pin-obsessed youth available to deliver it. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, money-hungry Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical head, Mr. Reacher Gilt. But it says on the building Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Glom of Nit…Inspiring words (admittedly, some of the bronze letters have been stolen), and for once in his wretched life Moist is going to fight. And if the bold and impossible are what’s called for, he’ll do it – in order to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every human being (not to mention troll, dwarf, and, yes, even golem) requires: hope.
Funny, touching, and clever, this book is quite an adventure, I could hardly put it down. The plot moves forward at a good pace, and the clever humor kept me wanting more. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the Postal Service and the deaths of previous Postmasters, and hidden dangers with the new clacks towers. Whenever Moist went to investigate I was on edge. For example, when he investigated rooms filled to the ceiling with mounds of ancient letters and at one point struggled to survive a massive “letter avalanche” on a high staircase. Pratchett’s descriptions are very vivid.
Facing off with golems, wizards, werewolves, and other such people, Moist strives to get this ancient place–once the city’s grand postal business–resurrected, while at the same time being under threat by the new and current “mailing business” known as the Clacks, owned by a notorious, money-hungry Reacher Gilt. Politics, greed, and power drive the story further.
The plot thickens, things go wrong, and lives are at stake. The schemes Moist comes up with to save the day are genius, and the ending is a surprise you won’t want to miss!
The characters were my favorite part about this book! Each of them is unique, awkward, and full of quirks. The main character, Moist, is a touch more “normal” than the rest though. 😉 He has a crafty, witty mind, which is how he ended up becoming a conman in the first place–later captured and “hung” for his crimes in the story’s opening chapter. But when he is forced into the job of Postmaster and tasked with bringing the decades-abandoned Postal Service back to life, he finds himself becoming the “good guy” for once–though reluctant at first–even using his ex-conman skills for the greater good.
Overall: This is the first book of Terry Pratchett’s work that I’ve read, and it won’t be the last! I’m looking forward to reading Going Postal’s sequels and checking out other books in the Discworld series.