Small Gods - Book Review

Small Gods - Book Review

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Posted 2023-11-29 by PerthKelfollow
Terry Pratchett's Small Gods is a satirical fantasy novel that explores religion, belief, and power. Set in the fictional land of Omnia, the story follows the adventures of Brutha, a lowly novice in the Omnian church, who suddenly finds himself in possession of the one true god.

The book is a scathing critique of organized religion and the dangers of blind faith. Pratchett pokes fun at the absurdities of religious dogma and the hypocrisy of religious institutions. He shows how religious leaders use their power to manipulate and control the masses, and how easily people can be led astray by charismatic leaders and false prophets.

One of the main themes of the book is the power of belief. Pratchett suggests that belief is a fundamental human need and that people will cling to their beliefs even when they are shown to be false. The people of Omnia worship the Great God Om, a capricious and egotistical deity who demands complete obedience and devotion from his followers. The Omnian church is a vast and powerful institution that uses fear and intimidation to control its members. Brutha, the protagonist of the story, is a simple-minded and devout follower of the church, who has a photographic memory for the holy books. He is initially content to live his life in obedience to the church, but he is soon forced to confront the reality of his beliefs.



The turning point in the story comes when Brutha discovers that the Great God Om is not all-powerful, but rather a small, powerless turtle that can only communicate with him. The revelation shakes Brutha's faith to its core, and he is forced to question everything he has ever believed. He begins to see the hypocrisy and corruption of the church, and he realizes that the people of Omnia are being led astray by a false god.

Through Brutha's journey, Pratchett explores the nature of belief and the role it plays in human society. He suggests that belief can be both a force for good and a force for evil. It can inspire people to do great things, but it can also lead them down a dangerous path. He also shows how easily people can be manipulated by those in power, and how dangerous it can be when those in power use religion to control the masses.

Another important theme in the book is the importance of critical thinking and questioning authority. Pratchett suggests that blind obedience to authority is dangerous and that people should always question those in power. He shows how easily people can be misled by false prophets and demagogues, and how important it is to be sceptical of those who claim to have all the answers.

Pratchett's writing is witty and incisive, and he uses humour to great effect in the book. He pokes fun at the absurdities of religion, but he does so with a deep respect for those who believe. He shows how religion can bring comfort and meaning to people's lives, but he also shows how easily it can be twisted to serve the interests of those in power.

The characters in the book are all well-drawn and memorable. Brutha is a sympathetic protagonist, and his journey from blind faith to critical thinking is both engaging and inspiring. The Great God Om is a delightfully flawed character, who is forced to confront his own limitations and insecurities. Vorbis, the head of the Omnian church, is a terrifying villain who uses his power to control and manipulate those around him.

The world-building in the book is also excellent. Omnia is a rich and complex world, with a detailed history and mythology. Pratchett's descriptions of the city of Omnia and the surrounding countryside are vivid and engaging. The book is also notable for its use of footnotes, which provide additional background information and add to the world-building.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the way that it subverts traditional fantasy tropes. Rather than focusing on epic battles and quests, the book is more concerned with exploring philosophical and theological themes. It also challenges traditional notions of heroism, with Brutha being a far cry from the typical heroic fantasy protagonist. He is not a warrior or a wizard, but rather a simple-minded novice with a gift for memory. Despite his limitations, however, he proves to be a hero in his own right, standing up against the corruption and tyranny of the Omnian church.

Overall, Small Gods is a brilliant work of satire that explores complex themes with intelligence and wit. It is a powerful critique of organized religion and the dangers of blind faith, while also acknowledging the importance of belief and the role it plays in human society. The book is a must-read for fans of fantasy, satire, and philosophical fiction.

#book_reviews
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271687 - 2023-11-29 01:54:09

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