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Review: The Magic of Terry Pratchett

Rating: 4 out of 5.


The Magic Of Terry Pratchett is the first full biography of Sir Terry Pratchett ever written. Sir Terry was Britain’s best-selling living author, and before his death in 2015 had sold more than 85 million copies of his books worldwide. Best known for the Discworld series, his work has been translated into 37 languages and performed as plays on every continent in the world, including Antarctica.

Journalist, comedian and Pratchett fan Marc Burrows delves into the back story of one of UK’s most enduring and beloved authors, from his childhood in the Chiltern Hills to his time as a journalist, and the journey that would take him – via more than sixty best-selling books – to an OBE, a knighthood and national treasure status.

The Magic Of Terry Pratchett is the result of painstaking archival research alongside interviews with friends and contemporaries who knew the real man under the famous black hat, helping to piece together the full story of one of British literature’s most remarkable and beloved figures for the very first time. – Goodreads


Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.

This is a very well written, easy to read look at one of the greatest fantasy authors of all time. When I started this book I was a little concerned with how Burrows could write more than 200 pages about Pratchett’s life because, aside from being a famous author, he had a pretty average life. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a large focus of the book is on analysis and anecdotes about his actual work. If you are familiar with the 50+ novels that Pratchett wrote over the course of his life, you will love this book. The many 4 and 5 star reviews I’ve seen for this book are well deserved coming from people who are Pratchett scholars.

However, if you are not very familiar with the many characters and stories of Pratchett’s bibliography, there will likely be little to enjoy here. Several passages that I found either fascinating or hilarious I read to people who have never read Pratchett before and got little to no interest in response. One person even asked me “is that the whole story?” after I read them the part about how The Luggage was created. I actually considered giving this one only three stars because it will not appeal, I think, to anyone who isn’t already a huge Pratchett fan, but in the end this book is exactly what it says on the tin and so should not be downgraded because of that.

If you love The Discworld then I suggest picking this one up immediately. If you’ve never read it, I suggest Mort or Guards! Guards as your immediate next read.