Happy Terry Tuesday!!!!!
This is a review of the second book in the Discworld series, and it’s kind of an oddball because this is technically a ‘sequel’ to the first book, while every other Discworld book is a stand alone novel and is meant to be a self-contained story. There is a brief overview of the first book, The Colour of Magic, in the very beginning so I guess you don’t technically have to have read the first one to understand the second given you’re okay with a page or two summary to fill yourself in.
Rincewind and Twoflower are trying to escape the predicament they were left in the last book – escaping from the Krulls. They both find themselves falling off the side of the world, Discworld being flat allows this kind of thing to happen. However, since Rincewind had an accident involving a magical book, a magical book that gave him one of the 8 spells of creation – the world rebooted itself to save Rincewind from dying. It’s theorized that the world wanted to keep all 8 spells of creation together. This caused the entire world to re-arrange itself and sent quite a panic through Unseen University where all the wizards reside.
After the re-arranging of reality, Rincewind and Twoflower meet up again in the enchanted Forest of Skund, where the trees talk to you. It almost breaks Rincewind’s brain, he doesn’t know what to make of the trees asking him questions so he decides ignoring them is best. Twoflower and Rincewind suffer through a lot together, battles, poisonings, sacrifices – it’s not an easy ride in the Forest of Skund.
Meanwhile, the wizards back at UU the wizards know why the world re-arranged itself and they are looking for where Rincewind could be. It’s imperative that they find Rincewind and get him back because they’ve been informed by Death that if the 8 spells aren’t read together at Hogswatch, the world will come to an end.
I liked Rincewind more in this one, I don’t know why but I’ve never warmed to him much, so I’m glad I’m taking the time to read his stories again. He’s a droll fellow, he never expects things to go his way because they typically don’t. He does have an uncanny ability to escape Death, which was incredibly annoying from Death’s perspective. The one area of expertise and usefulness Rincewind does have is in linguistics, he’s learned most of the common languages on the Disc and has at least a tenuous grasp on a few of the more rare languages. It does come in handy quite a bit.
Cohen the Barbarian makes his first appearance, rescuing a damsel in distress despite being in his 80’s and toothless – he later gets his own novel. We get to see a little more of the other Wizards and Unseen University, I had totally forgotten that Galdor Weatherwax was still in charge of UU at the time of The Light Fantastic, serves me right for going so long without a re-read.
This book still relies heavily on absurd and almost random humor for a lot of the jokes, they still aren’t the well crafted subtle jokes you see later on. There are things like “The Book of Going Forth Around Elevenish” the “Dungeon Dimension” and “Nasty Things” that looked like a cross between a bicycle and an octopus – whatever that means lol. I did smile more often in this book than I did with Colour of Magic, there were even a few jokes that I didn’t catch the first time I read it. There weren’t nearly as many footnotes in this one, only a couple that I remember, so maybe Terry was experimenting whether he wanted to keep them in or not. I’m glad he kept a few, but I liked it more with fewer footnotes, it helped things reading more smoothly. The prose was improved from the first book, the similes and metaphors were more developed and less jarring or just weird.
All in all, I thought this was an improvement from the first book, although this is still a few novels off of where I consider Terry to come into his stride. This was still a bit more scattered vs tightly plotted, and although I liked the characters a little more, I still didn’t connect the way I do with characters later on in the series. The world was a little more fleshed out and the writing had been improved. I liked getting to see a foreshadowing of things to come, there were many off-hand references to things that get expanded on later, like mentioning a fairy living in a castle made of teeth.
- absurd humor
- high fantasy
- short/fast reads
- multi pov
- old school wizards
- lots of fantasy tropes
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 11/15
- World Building: 12.5/15
- Writing: 12.5/15
- Pacing: 12/15
- Originality: 13/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 7/10
Final Rating: 79/100