Agnes Nitt, or as she would like to be called "Perdita X Dream" is tired of her small town. The witches always meddle with people's lives, as if they know best. Even if they do, she will be her own person. She definitely won't be like her mother, a large woman who has a lovely personality, and makes great pie. She'll be mysterious and exciting. So, she goes to the big city, away from everything she knows, to use her greatest talent: her magical voice. As she signs up for a leading job at the Ankh-Morpork opera house, she meets true starpower in Christine, a charismatic, cheerful young woman, who is destined to take her place as the lead singer, with the help of a generous donation from her wealthy father. The only problem with this is Christine's voice, which makes people wince in pain. However, the producers have a great plan to make her a star, while Agnes hides in the chorus, and sings for two. However, there is something Agnes didn't know about the opera house; a mysterious ghost in a white mask haunts the building. Usually a harmless presence, leaving encouraging notes and dead roses, he has started to get violent. Killing employees and interrupting performances, he is starting to give the new owner a headache. Then the meddling witches from Agnes's home find a good reason to go to the city; an unconventional, but wildly popular cookbook has been written by Nanny Ogg. According to Granny Weatherwax's calculations, she is owed about five thousand dollars, but the publishing company has only sent her three. They also need a another witch, and Agnes seems to be the only candidate. After all, three witches is a coven; two is just an argument. When they finally arrive, they are able to find the ghost's identity much faster than the poorly disguised undercover policemen prowling the area.
I recommend reading the previous books in the witch series first. They are Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, and Lords And Ladies.
This is a great mystery, with the surprising twist, and hilarious comments on opera. It has great characters, and is a hilarious twist on "Phantom Of The Opera", with better characters. The relationship between Agnes and Perdita is a glimpse at conflict between romanticized ideals, and level headed reality. Reality seems to be winning, due to it's intrusive presence. However, it ran away from the opera house a long time ago.
I would recommend this book. 5/5 stars.
Pratchett takes on the world of opera, and hilarity ensues. This Discworld installment lacks any very memorable characters, but Pratchett's comic genius doesn't falter.
By way of introduction to Terry Pratchett's 18th Discworld novel, Maskerade, the curtains open up to the shrill singing of Nanny Ogg. This neatly sums up the entire plot....witches plus opera equals trouble. After the events of Lords and Ladies, the witches find themselves one witch short of a coven, and because of this instability, Granny is starting to exhibit too many "black" tendencies for Nanny's conscious. There is only one thing to do, convince the sole candidate, Agnes, to join them. Only thing is, she has joined the opera. The opera house is a world unto itself with its less than secret passages, high-maintenance performers, money-eating expenses, and a ghost that may not be sane, and then there are the murders. The show must go on though, as superstition rules this stagehouse more than the new owner Mr. Bucket does. Into this comes Agnes, aka Perdita, a young girl with vocal abilities so unusual that her singing is both described and visually represented by the text. The witches will have none of this though, and their meddling may change opera forever. The Phantom of the Opera gets twisted around in this parody, where the chandelier is a red-herring, explanation marks gauge ones sanity, and no one is who they say they are. There are both physical and metaphorical masks aplenty to create intrigue for the murder mystery element too. Opera is a nonsensical world to the uninitiated, but this is hardly a challenge for the witches.
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