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Terry Pratchett – Sourcery

February 2, 2016

Pratchett, Terry - Sourcery - 40069. Sourcery by Terry Pratchett (1988)
Discworld, Book 5

Length: 288 pages
Genre: Fantasy

Started: 18 October 2015
Finished: 26 October 2015

Where did it come from? Downloaded for my Kindle.
Why do I have it? Amazon was having a sale on Pratchett’s Kindle books a while back, so I picked up a bunch of them.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 17 September 2013.

Wizards always want
power… but can they deal with
the consequences?

Summary: The eighth son of an eighth son becomes a wizard, able to use magic. But the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son becomes a wizard squared, a sourcerer, a source of magic. After the early sourcerers nearly destroyed the whole of reality, wizards were forbidden to have families to prevent any more sourcerers entering the world. But one renegade wizard left the university, and had eight sons, and the youngest, Coin, has come to claim his place as archchancellor of the Unseen University. But Coin’s arrival (along with the spirit of his father in his enchanted staff) threatens to shake things up, and while the wizards enjoy the initial increase in their powers and abilities, once the status quo gets really threatened, they start to have second thoughts. So it’s up to Rincewind, the Luggage, the Librarian (who happens to be an orangutan) and their unlikely cast of allies to stop Coin from destroying everything. But how can they, when he’s the source of any magic they might try to use against him?

Review: This installment is the third of the Rincewind books, after The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic. And it’s definitely less loose and more self-contained and less sprawling than either of the previous two. It doesn’t share the same episodic travelogue feel of those two; instead, all the action centers around the Unseen University (although we aren’t with Rincewind the whole time; there are other characters who get points of view.) This is good in some ways – there’s a very clear story thread and way less narrative wandering – but making the story more centralized also makes it feel smaller. And small is not really what you want in a novel when the fate of the fabric of reality is at stake. I also didn’t feel like it had quite as many funny bits as the previous novels, either. That’s not to say it wasn’t funny – there were some great bits and one-liners, to be sure (although I don’t think any of Pratchett’s early books can stack up to his later ones) – but Twoflower added a comic element that was missing from this one, although the Luggage remains, and is frequently the best character around. Overall, I enjoyed this fine while I was reading it, although it didn’t bowl me over with its awesomeness, and although lightness was what I was after when I picked it up, it was light enough that it’s mostly evaporated from my memory a few months later. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: While this would work okay as a standalone, it’s much better knowing who Rincewind is. And while I don’t think the Rincewind books are Pratchett’s best, they’re good fun when you’re in the mood for his combination of dry humor and utter silliness.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: The Labyrinth Library, My Seryniti, The Wertzone, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: There was a man and he had eight sons.

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • Location 1496: “Carding’s robe, for example, had become a silk and lace confection of overpoweringly expensive tastelessness, and gave him the appearance of a big red jelly draped with antimacassars.” – a cloth covering the back and arms of chairs, etc, to prevent soiling or as decoration.
  • Location 3290: “The actinic flashes and pulsations from the great work in the main hall cast harsh shadows around him as he fumbled for the bolts.” – (of radiation) producing a photochemical effect.

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