Raising Steam is the third and final book in the Moist Von Lipwig subseries of Discworld, and the second-to-last book in the entire series. In this book, we meet a new character by the name of Simnel who has invented the steam engine and introduced the concept of fast travel by train. Meanwhile, there is more unrest between the traditional and modern dwarfs.
This book spends a lot of time talking about trains: building trains and railways, operating trains, the benefits of trains, train safety, and so forth. This is not, to me, a particularly exciting topic, and sometimes I had trouble pushing through the book. I was interested enough that I didn’t want to abandon it, especially not so close to the end of the series, but it put me to sleep a few times. I was also on my second week of business travel and pretty worn out in any case, so maybe this had as much to do with me as it had to do with the book.
Vetinari, a character I’ve greatly enjoyed since his first introduction, gets quite a bit of page time in this book, but for some reason he didn’t seem like Vetinari to me. Normally he’s more taciturn. He manipulates and influences people with a few pointed words, with silence and perhaps some intimidating looks, and with visual aids. That's one of the reasons I enjoy his character so much. In this book, he had a tendency toward detailed monologues and explanations, and there were one or two weird sections where he sounded like the CEO of a company using corporate buzzwords.
It wasn’t a bad book, and there were parts I enjoyed, but it wasn’t at the level I’ve come to expect from the Discworld books. Combine that with a topic I wasn’t that interested in, and I just didn’t enjoy this as much as the previous books.