A lot of your enjoyment of Terry Pratchett’s DiscWorld series comes down to your awareness of the object of Pratchett’s satire. In the case of “The Truth,” it’s the world of newspapers and journalism in general. Having a background in this, I found a lot of Pratchett’s zingers and satire to be dead-on accurate in their humor and observation.
What I didn’t find quite as spot-on was some of the twists and turns of the novel. For one thing, the identity of who is behind the elaborate conspiracy is so easily deduced that it ruins some of the driving force of the last half of the novel. Of course, the problem is that the readers know the identity (or can deduce it easily if you’re paying attention), while the characters don’t because they don’t have as much information as we do. It’s a case of the reader being a bit too omniscient for his or her own good and ruining the final revelation a bit.
Another issue is the speed at which things occur. William DeWorde goes from hand-carving a monthly newsletter for five at-home benefactors to running a newspaper complete with moveable type press within a week. Pratchett works too hard to pile on absurdity after absurdity as the newspaper takes off in ways that William can’t expect and doesn’t prepare for. Pratchett works too hard to make a few funny observances by compressing the timeline and making the story feel a bit rushed at points.
Which a lot of this can be forgiven with Pratchett being his typical self and finding unique ways to put words together to be both thought-provoking and funny. Once again, Pratchett has this way of finding just the exact right turn of phrase and combination of words to make what he’s doing appear completely effortless. But if you step back and look at it, you realize exactly what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. And that alone makes “The Truth” worth appreciating.