Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sourcery - Terry Pratchett



1988; 260 pages. Book #5 in the Discworld series. Genres : Fantasy; spoof. Overall Rating : B+.
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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.
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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 :
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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.
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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.
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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...
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"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."

8 comments:

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.

Lula O 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.