Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sourcery - Terry Pratchett

1988; 260 pages. Book #5 in the Discworld series. Genres : Fantasy; spoof. Overall Rating : B+.
The 8th son of an 8th son of an 8th son always turns out to be a sourceror. And from a sourceror, magic just spontaneously gushes. Which causes massive upheavals in Discworld. Wizards change from stumblebums to conquering tyrants. Mage wars begin. The end of the (Disc)world is nigh, and the 4 Horsemen of the Apocralypse ride forth. Well, okay. One horseman and three pedestrians.
What's To Like...
This is an early Discworld book, so there is lots of zaniness, mangled metaphors, and smashed similes. There's a slew of interesting characters, including :
Rincewind - our hero, and the most inept wizard imaginable
Nijel the Destroyer - son of Harebut the Provision Merchant
Conina the Hairdresser - Thief extraordinaire
Creosote the Seriph - a worse poet there never was
The Luggage - a 100-legged enfant terrible
The librarian - a learned simian with a 1-word vocabulary
a genie in a lamp - with a serious attitude problem.
Oook? Oook!
The drawbacks are slight. At only 260-pages, it's a bit short. Although there is some character development (most notably Rincewind and The Luggage), there really isn't much depth of character. This was kind of a "transition" book for Pratchett- the tone is just a tad bit more serious than his earlier works, and the book loosely examines the themes of Power, Ambition, and Self-Sacrifice. With time, Pratchett's Discworld books get longer, a smidgen less zany, and a dab more insightful as his writing style evolves.
Sourcery is a silly yet well-told spoof; perfect for when you want a bit of light-reading. We'll close with a brief philosophical exchange between DEATH (who always speaks in capital letters) and Ipslore, a wizard...
"I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that makes living worthwhile?"
DEATH thought about it.
"CATS," he said eventually. "CATS ARE NICE."


Amanda said...

I love that end dialog! I really need to read another Pratchett book. This one sounds fun.

Julie said...

I love that end dialog too!
I don't know a lot about these books and I noticed that this is book #5. So, I was wondering if you need to read all of them in sequence to understand each book better or could you say start at #5 and go back if you decide to read them all?
Just curious.

hamilcar barca said...

Amanda - among Discworld fanatics, Sourcery seems to be a "so-so" book. i'm not sure why.

Julie - other than the first two (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic), all the rest are stand-alone stories. i'm not reading them in order, and i don't think it's a drawback.

L said...

Ugh, cats! I so have a problem with Death now.

Julie said...

Hamilcar - Thanks, I'm glad to know this. :)

Christina said...

I knew there was a reason I like Death!

Discworld Mal said...

Aw man, that takes me back. I don't think I could ever think of Sourcery as an 'so-so book' hamilcar barca, for me it marked the point where I was fully engrossed in the Discworld - the point of no return - many years ago. Perhaps if I were just reading it now for the first time I might feel differently though?

hamilcar barca said...

Discworld Mal - i liked Sourcery and gave it a B+. my "so-so" remark is based on what self-proclaimed "Discworld fanatics" wrote at Amazon. com.