I am pleased that my first book of the year shall be a Discworld novel. It fits. Discovering Discworld last year was like discovering a ... well, a whole new world, and every time I open a Discworld novel I feel it enveloping me. It is so rich, and varied, and absurd in a way that shines light on how absurd everything is, really. I am savouring this experience, of reading the Discworld books for the first time, because I know it won't happen again once I'm through them. This is why I'm not blasting through them even though I suspect I really could.
As for Wyrd Sisters, when a book opens like this:
The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin.... I know that I am going to have a good read.
Here we have Pratchett playing with theatre; specifically and most obviously Macbeth, but many other Shakespearean plays make an entrance, not to mention several other dramatic references. The references were fast and furious and I'm certain I didn't get all of them. That did not take away from my enjoyment, however. Here we have comments on the power of theatre, and the power of words to both heal and harm, the power of both to change history. Not in the sense of what actually happened, but because after all those who remember an actual event are gone, it is the words that describe the event that carry it forward into collective memory. If those words change, then the event changes -- history changes.
We are introduced once again, to my delight, to Esme Weatherwax, witch extraordinaire, most respected of the leaders witches don't have. We are also introduced to her cohorts Nanny Ogg (and the aforementioned Greebo) and Magrat Garlick. (Enter three witches.) Granny Weatherwax was really just finding her feet in Equal Rites. Now she's got them, and her broomstick, and she. is. awesome. She is not a perfect person, and the stuff she does one thinks might really not turn out. Sometimes it backfires horribly, not that she would let you know that. But her supreme confidence is refreshing, and things work out often enough that the reader has supreme confidence in her, too.
Overall in this book we have the same strong characterization I'm coming to expect of Pratchett, if not for every character then for most. The duchess, though somewhat 2-dimensional "Evil" is also, through most of the book, probably one of the creepiest and most upsetting Pratchett villains I've come across so far. Her husband, Duke Felmet, is also fascinating -- well drawn and complicated and both somewhat bored and ordinary while also being ambitious and increasingly insane. At the end, the duchess especially takes on some pretty stereotypical characteristics that make her less of a character and more of a caricature, but I can accept that. At that point she was pretty much a sidenote anyways.
The deeper I go into Discworld, the happier I am to be there. Looking forward to Pyramids, up next in my quest to read the whole series.