"A good plan isn't one where someone wins, it's where nobody thinks they've lost"
- Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
A long time ago, a piper, dressed in multicolor clothing, helped a town called Hamelin to get rid of their rats, and the legend of Pied Piper of Hamelin was born. Discworld has a similar, but slightly twisted version of it, and this is how it goes...
A curious looking group made its way into a town called Bad Blintz. The group, made up of a talking cat, sentient mice, and an young lad, are here for a money making scheme. What is their plan? Upon entering the town, the mice will make nuisances of themselves until the townsfolk have had enough of them and wish their riddance, at their most desperate moment, the cat (Maurice) and the lad (Keith) will offer to rid the town of the rats, at a small cost. However, Bad Blintz already has problems of its own.
This story is called, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, and it was Terry Pratcehtt's first Young Adult Discworld book.
The book itself is a parody of the aforementioned Pied Piper of Hamelin story, but it also reminded me of books such as Animal Farm and Flowers for Algernon. The book is cleverly written, it offers good humor and an exciting adventure. This novel is marketed as an Young Adult novel, but the story is one of the darker outings in Discworld. On the surface, we see a story about talking mice and cat and magic, but underneath the fantastic elements we see Terry Pratchett's realistic view of humanity, about generational clash, ethics, laws, and finding one's identity. For example, in my favorite quote from the book Terry Pratchett wrote, "If you don't turn your life into a story, you just become someone else's story". Do you agree with Sir Terry's assessment of life? I agree with him.
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is a cute fairy tale, and it also offers good moral lessons. I knew Terry Pratchett wrote a couple of YA Discworld books but I couldn't imagine how he could pitch Discworld, an adult-oriented series, for young readers while also keeping his adult readers engaged. Now that I have read one of these YA Discworld books, I want more of it.
Until the next time, happy reading!