This tale of a failed and yet powerful magician who gets cornered into going on an unintended journey with a naive tourist is a classic by Terry Pratchett. It’s a comedy of errors in which Rincewind (the magician, or is he?) and Twoflower (the tourist) stumble from one dangerous episode to the next. What sets this book apart from so many in the genre is Pratchett’s ability to tell a lighthearted, humorous fantasy story without reducing it to a spoof. Pratchett’s wry sense of humour is delivered with a deft touch so as not to diminish the drama of Rincewind and Twoflower’s adventures. In fact, when he makes a joke in the book, it’s as if he’s sitting with his arm around your shoulder while the two of you laugh at it together.
Pratchett creates an original fantasy world that rides on the back of a turtle. While it contains many of the staples of the genre, he adds his own elements and twists that make the disc world fresh and unique.
What was missing from this book was an overarching plot. The main characters stumble from one episode to the next until the book’s conclusion with no sense of personal growth or change. They are exactly the same characters at the end of the book as they were at the beginning. Had they gone directly to the final episode earlier on in the book, the only loss would have been a bunch of amusing anecdotes.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading this book. The episodes and the characters are very entertaining. My personal disappointment was that I did not read it as a younger man when I enjoyed a light read a lot more. These days I prefer heavier themes.
The Discworld series consists of nearly forty books which, reportedly, can be read in any order.