I am a woman of simple needs, okay? And sometimes what I need is Terry Pratchett loling at that the fact that the serial killer haunting the Opera house also writes polite little notes complaining about the first trombone, and also the fact that the Opera house has a SECRET LAKE IN THE BASEMENT.
So I will always love Maskerade with a true and shining love and count it among my Discworld favorites. (Also, and unrelated to any operatic shenanigans, it has Granny Weatherwax helping Death with his bad back! WHICH IS AMAZING and really just makes me want a whole book of Death and Granny Weatherwax on a wacky road trip. Nanny Ogg can go help Susan in the meantime. You can tell me this wouldn't be the best Discworld book ever but you would be LYING.)
That being said, after this read, I totally get why some people might not like this one, because -- well, first of all, not everyone has the emotional attachment to the hilarity of Phantom of the Opera that I do, but also, the ending is actually really depressing!
I mean, okay, yes, they figure out the whole opera ghost thing, but that's not even really the point, and it's also not even really due to Agnes. That's Granny Weatherwax's win, and meanwhile, Agnes -- Agnes our protagonist, awesome, intelligent, talented Agnes -- loses. She loses to the Opera. She loses to the older witches. She loses to every single terrible, stupid social force that tell her she's the wrong shape for what she wants, and it's depressing, and it sucks. And I realize this is a necessary interval to get Agnes in place for Carpe Jugulum, where she does get to win again a little, but that doesn't make the ending of this book any more satisfying.
I'm really not sure there are any other Discworld books where the protagonist loses as thoroughly as Agnes does in this one. Even Rincewind usually saves the world before getting launched into his next horrible adventure. I mean, feel free to prove me wrong, though; I will feel better about it if you do.