I think an important thing to say before my review is that I’ve only read a few Pratchett books in the past.. two of which I really enjoyed, the others I wasn’t so keen on. This meant that I was able to approach this book without any preconceived ideas, hopes, or biases.
Nation isn’t a discworld book, nor is it part of a series. It’s a stand alone story, about a boy called Mau, and a girl called Daphne. It’s a children’s book, but I’m sure most adults will appreciate it too.
Mau has just spent some time on the Boy’s Island, and is on his way back to his Nation, where he will become a man. However, before this can happen, there is a large storm, and when Mau arrives home, everyone has been killed or washed away.
Daphne is on a ship caught up in the storm. The wave carries the ship onto the island, and she is the only survivor. As Mau and Daphne meet, they have to find ways to communicate, and work together, whilst Mau tries to figure out how to rebuild his Nation.
The rest of the story is best discovered as you read, so I’m not going to spoil it here. Nation is a book about growing up, and friendship. Most importantly, it’s about questioning everything you have ever known, coming to your own conclusions, and not being afraid of changes. The main characters are wonderful, I quickly warmed to them, and felt myself part of their journeys. The humour is beautifully subtle, and the messages strong.
I couldn’t wait to keep getting back to this book, and I was extremely disappointed when I finished. If I didn’t have so many others waiting, I would have been tempted to go back to the beginning, and start all over again!
Some reviewers have been disappointed, others have said that it’s different to his usual books. My experience is limited, so I can’t really judge. As a stand alone book, however, it completely captured me, and will definitely be re-read.