Unseen Academicals

Unseen AcademicalsUnseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
Published by Random House on 2009-11-10
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, General
Pages: 544
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Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else. This is not going to be a gentleman's game. The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt). As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever. Because the thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football. Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!

When Unseen Academicals first came out, I remember seeing it in the book shop, sighing and thinking Terry had completely jumped the shark. At the time the last thing I wanted to read was a book about a game of football, even if it was set on the Discworld. Five years later, oh what a mistake I made!! This book is amazing.

Focusing on the nuances of both the beautiful game and the team work that goes in to it, Unseen Academicals features the wizard, Ponder Stibbons, reinventing the game of foot-the-ball whilst the Unseen University try to put a team together!

Terry introduces some fantastic new characters, Trevor Likely, who promised his mam he would never play a game of football; Glenda Sugarbean, maker of the famous Ploughman’s Pie; Juliet Stollop, Ankh Morpork’s first fashion model; and the mysterious Mr Nutt from Uberworld.

One of the things that makes this book standout is how Terry placed as much focus on the character interaction as the plot. As Mr Nutt starts to build the Unseen Academicals in to an actual team it’s fantastic to watch everyone’s fears and weaknesses come to light and see how all the characters deal with the problems that they face.

Hopefully we’ll see the characters again in later books, as well as get the recipe for the Ploughman’s Pie!