Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork — not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing when you drop them. 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.
The prospect of a 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, who no one knows much about. As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed forever.
Because the thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.
Probably not what you were expecting from me, but I have always been and will always be a fantasy girl at heart. I fell in love with the disc world many many years ago, *coughmorethanIwouldliketoadmittocough* I think I was still doing my A levels... eeeks! This is book 37 in the series and I liked it. My favourites are the witches, even now Nanny Ogg is dragging out her tin bath, the goat is peeing cheese in anticipation as she starts to sing the wizard's staff has a knob n the end, quickly followed by the hedgehog can never be buggered at all. I love all three of them, with Granny Weatherwax stealing the show. The witches are closely followed by the watch books, Go Corporal Carrot! And can we have a howl for Angua *arrroooooooooooooooo* that does not mean I don't like the wizards, I do, and this is a great vehicle for them.
As well as the usual characters, Ridcully, Stibbons, various chairs, Rincewind, The Librarian, and Vetinari, we are introduced to some new characters as well as some old ones making a guest appearance (Sam Vimes). Glenda is forceful and protective, Nutt is odd and intriguing, Juliet is pretty and pretty useless until she finds her purpose, (that is not my opinion, that is just what it is... Gloria has to give her complete and FULL instructions on how to make a cup of tea) and Trev Likely who is a dribbler in more than one way, why? Because this is a story about football as much as it is about the characters, the disc and Anhk Morpork.
If you have never read a disc world book before, don't be scared, each of them can be read alone, each story unique and whilst characters might pop up in different stories you don't have to know everything about them to enjoy the novel, they are like a comfy armchair hugging you.
I hope this won't be the last book I am not ready to let go of them yet, but I do understand with Pratchett's illness that will come... someday. As the book says, the thing with football is, it's not all about football. It is about the fans, the shove and its impact on our lives. That is covered in this book hand in hand with how we need to bend our preconceptions and not judge.
A great read and possibly my favourite cover for any of the disc world novels, if you want to try one out I can recommend this one, or my favourite 'Lords and Ladies'. I give 'The Unseen Academicals' 4 frilly knickers out of 5. A great and nostalgic read!