I head back to Terry Pratchett’s wonderful fantasy realm of Discworld for this week’s book. The fifth book in the series is as much a delight as the first, and gives us another day of the inept wizard, Rincewind.
When the eighth son of an eighth son is born a sorcerer walks the lands for the first time in countless aeons, guided by a possessed staff filled with a soul that has eluded Death, the young Coin is about to plunge Discworld into an apocalypse as magic goes to war, and wizards, who had been united by the Unseen University turn on one another, and take sides in a dangerous battle.
Rincewind is thrown into the middle of this when the Archchancellor’s hat, a sentient thing after thousands of years of magic arranges to be stolen, and finds itself in an adventure with the hapless wizard, Conina, the daughter of Cohen the Barbarian, Nijel, a would be hero, as well as a poetry spouting, newly destitute ruler, a magic carpet, and a timeshare genie’s lamp.
Filled with great word play, laugh out loud lines, and the fact that despite the hilarity of the situations, a number of characters play it fairly straight. We get a glimpse of the Dungeon Dimensions, a promise of more adventures with Rincewind, in spite of, or because of, the ending.
And my favourite thing is the interactions with the wizard turned orangutan turned librarian, he’s such a great character and can convey so much with a single ‘ook.’
Rincewind is aware that he’s a horrible wizard, but also knows that that is exactly who he is, a wizard, no matter what anyone else tells him, and that is a really important message, one that gets shared, even if it’s wrapped up in wordplay and ridiculous fantasy -inspired situations.
The story moves along quickly plunging our would be heroes in and out of danger, and bringing the entire disc, still on its lengthy journey on the back of four elephants, which in turn are standing atop a giant space-faring tortoise, to the edge of destruction as magic reworks the realm, the gods are tossed aside, and the ice giants return!!!
There’s a lot going on in this two hundred page novel, which also has some equally enjoyable footnotes, and the reader is best served by buckling up, holding on, and laughing aloud, as plot points develop, new friends and enemies are met, and that sentient travel accessory, Luggage, makes itself known to many, as it seeks out its master.
Discworld is a delight, and I can’t wait to dig into the next one. Having said that, I’m glad I waited until now to read them. They’re all written, they’re just waiting for me, and I actually appreciate them now, whereas I wouldn’t have as a teenager.