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Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of books has been, for the last 25-odd years one of the most popular and best selling fantasy series of all time. The series, set on the titular Discworld - a flat world atop four giant elephants on the shell of Great A'tuin - the celestial turtle, flying through space, is a take on all things fantasy, bringing the swords and sorcery action we loved in Lord of the Rings and taking it down many notches for the sake oh humour. The series satirizes everyday life as well as the typical fantasy cliches we've come to love through its quirky and loveable characters and its surprisingly deep and well thought out plots.
Sourcery begins with the birth of a young wizard who is the eighth son of an eighth son, making him a Sourcerer - a source of magic, a wizard squared. Trained at the Unseen University - the Disc's premier school for wizardry, he quickly becomes an incredibly powerful force and, driven by his father who infused his soul in his staff, the young Coin quickly craves more power. A power which could start the War of the Mages all over again, and cause massive destruction all across the Disc.
Unless, of course, one particular inept wizard can can take the University's most precious artefact, the very embodiment of magic itself, and deliver it halfway across the world to safety...
Like the first two books, this one focuses on Rincewind again - who has quite large roles in a lot of the early Discworld books and again like many other early stories in the series, this one has a much more apolcalyptic story to some of the later ones - like The Light Fantastic and Mort, the end of the world is nigh.
Like Mort, Sourcery is one of those books where Terry is again getting to grips with this world he has created. Now that he's confortable with his Death character, he's focusing a lot more on the wizards, which I don't think he quite got right yet, but we get introduced to yet more places which will make bigger, frequent appearances throughout the series. It's becoming a bit more obvious now that the Discworld from Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic isn't exactly the same Discworld we have in this book. While still on its starting steps, it's taking a much bigger and more distinct form.
Terry's writing style, though, is just as clever and witty as ever as he twists words around, mixing in classic British comedy and wit into the fantasy "epic", making it a fantastic, enjoyable read for start to finish
In the Discworld, the eighth son of an eighth son becomes a Wizard. He then goes off into a life of chastity and doing Wizardy things and that is where the story should end....
This however is where this story starts, as the eighth son of an eighth son has eight sons....the eighth of which is a Wizard squared....a sorcerer.
Sourcery sees the return of the much loved / pitied Rincewind, the cowardly accidental hero of Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, who appears to be the only one to save the world, yet again.
Many of Pratchett's books are thought provoking as well as funny (especially in his latter books). Sourcery is not one of these and although it is not particularly thought provoking, it is still hilariously funny and, to my mind, one of the most exciting Discworld books to date.
Sourcery is a very addictive book, and if you've read any of my other Discworld reviews I always talk about how un-put-downable they are........well this is that squared!!! The book is so filled with action that you can't wait to find out what happens next. It is also filled with wit and slapstick, painting a beautiful mental picture of this fantasy world as you go.
Book 5 Sorcery is part of a series of 36 books written by author Terry Pratchett. It each book is different but they all take place on a disk world which is carried on top of a giant tortoise named great A Tuin. On top of him stands to giant elephants who hold up the disk world. Rincewind who is one of the characters in the book is also is in book 2 along with death aka grim reaper and the infamous luggage.
Luggage was a character developed by terry after he had seen a woman taking her luggage from the airport and it seemed almost lifelike to him an so in this story he has got legs and it can give expressions.It always follows its master which happens to be rincewind the Magician.
Sorcery has a lot of funny characters in it like nijel a trainee barbarian hero who carries a book with
him called how to be a barbarian hero in two weeks. He is not your typical hero and won't go after bad guys he will try talk to them in a civil manner by saying I say that's a bad idea to go and beat him up if you do i will have to resort to giving you a good smack round the head.
He also has to have like a stage name like the destroyer.
There is also another great character and her name is coina who is like a female cutthroat who someday dreams of being a barb a but men around her are so scared of what she can do with knives that they will end up with more than just a hair cut they might even end up dead.
Rincewind is a wizard who is not very good at his job he runs in the face of danger and can't really do very good magic in fact the only way people can tell that he is a wizard at all are his clothes that are a big give away and his long pointy hat that says wizard which he misspells.
Sorcery starts off when a evil sorcery wants revenge on the world so he makes sure his son learns sorcery and tries to continue to rule the world.
Sorcery has enough humor to keep you going for a while and is well written with lots of great characters..
please note this will be on ciao or dooyoo
Discworld for Beginners
Discworld is a place of magic, mystery, madness, and occasionally murder. This manages to incorporate all of these elements into the story, more or less in the above order. Its a place where mythical creatures such as unicorns really exist, Trolls are members of the City Watch, Zombies can earn a living, and luggage made of magical wood (sapient pearwood) have legs and a personality of their own. Discworld has become just as detailed and complex in its own way as Tolkeins Middle Earth, Feists Riftworld, or anything else Fantasy writers have even produced. And its as funny as Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or Red Dwarf you really dont need to be a fantasy fan to enjoy and appreciate Pratchett. In fact, his books are what really got me reading fantasy in the first place (I was a complete sci-fi fan who saw fantasy novels as a corruption of the art of writing, long ago in the deep recesses of my mispelt yout )
In the times long ago, there was more raw magic on the Disc. And there were Sourcerers (yeah I know, but thats how Pratchett spells it, so thats how Im spelling it ), who battled each other with the magic, nearly ripping the fabric of the whole planet apart. (This was called The Mage Wars). This was narrowly avoided, and the Sourcerers gradually died out.
The number 8 is a magical number on Discworld. The eighth son becomes a Wizard. Wizards study magic so as to limit its use to an absolute minimum, because of the problems cause by The Mage Wars. Wizards also keep their libido hidden under several layers of robes, determination, and dust. Unknown to most of them (who just assume that women are evil / cant be trusted / are unattainable to them all of which are true to some extent), the real reason for this is that the eighth son of a Wizard is a Sourcerer. A new Sourcerer would mean vast amounts of raw magic flowing back into the world, and new Mage Wars but this time, the Disc may not be able to stand the effects
All was quiet for millennia. But then one Wizard broke the rules, married and had eight sons and that eight son became the first Sourcerer the Disc had seen for a long time
And its up to the Wizards of Unseen University to stop them well, actually the task more or less ends up in the lap of Rincewind (the incredibly useless Wizard who starred in The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and The Last Continent), Nijel, a wannabe Barbarian (offspring of the aged Cohen (The Light Fantastic), whose handicaps to this goal include asthma, myopia, muscles the size of a small pimple, and a frantic need to look up Cohens DIY How to be a Barbarian book), and Corinna, a sexy female Assassin who in fact wanted to be a hairdresser and who manages to release Rincewinds libido from the deep, dank prison it had been living in...
Oh, and the Arch-chancellors hat has quite a lot to say for itself, too
Sourcery is one of Pratchetts best which means its one of the best humour books you could possibly get. Although I dont view Rincewind as one of the better characters here (and Im not quite as keen on The Luggage as some seem to be), they work well in this book, and the other characters are pretty good too I liked Nijel and Corinna, and particularly a Seraph who appears and tries to be a poet but just cant get the hang of it and insists on calling Corinna O Gazelle of the heavens and similar wonderful poetic names The Librarian (accidentally turned into an ape, refuses to be turned back into a human, and having an ape for a librarian is just one of those things that ends up seeming perfectly normal ) is also back, which is great, and Death appears along with his three horsemen of the apocalypse buddies. One of the funniest parts of the book is where they get drunk and forget about the end of the world Its highly satirical, highly imaginative, highly bizarre, and highly likely to send you into paroxysms of laughter.
Sourcery is the fifth of the Discworld series and the third to feature Rincewind and The Luggage. (As far as I know, there are four in total The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, The Last Continent). This and The Last Continent are the best two Rincewind novels (though Light Fantastic is also good, its not in the same class), but I couldnt really choose between them, theyre both outstanding books. This is probably one of the books that being familiar with the series is helpful, although I still think youll enjoy it even if youve never read a Discworld novel in your life.
I just also want to mention the incredible cover artwork by Josh Kirby, who has done all the covers Ive seen for the Discworld books (and that's nearly all of them...) The manic style fits perfectly with the Discworld style, perhaps even more surreal (imagine DiVinci on acid while staring through curved glass at an orgy or something) I feel hes as good an artist as Pratchett is an author and so deserves a mention at the very least - and he doesn't often get one...
Well, there you have it. A modern masterpiece, my only grumble is that it ends at all!
A giant turtle is slowly makes it's way across the expanse of space, and on his (or her) meteor pocked shell stand four rather large elephants, who in turn carry the flat, circular, and highly magical Discworld. Discworld is world of heroes, heroines, witches and wizards, where magic is a very real part of life and DEATH may just come to collect your soul in person (well in bones anyway).
There's a very good reason why the wizards of Discworld are celibate, and in this book, Sourcery, we are about to discover just what that reason is ..
As the eighth son, of an eighth son, Ipslore the Red was, of course, destined to become a powerful, if not particularly wise, wizard. If only he had followed the lore, and kept away from women that would have been the end of the story. But in Pratchett's fantasy world, nothing is ever so simple, and Ipslore left the Unseen University (where wizards are taught to be, well, wizards) fell in love and had seven sons. Again if he'd stopped there (or even learnt about birth control) Discworld would still have been relatively safe, but he couldn't control himself and managed to produce an eight son, a wizard squared, that is a sorcerer.
There was a time when there were many sorcerers, not a good time (just so you understand), but a time when you could never be quite sure which room (or even shape) you would wake up in. Discworld is now just too old and set in it's ways to survive all the raw magic that's floating around, and the apocralypse is nigh ..and once more the burden of saving the world falls on the wizard, Rincewind's (we know he's a wizard it says so on his hat) shoulders.
And so begins the fifth book in the surprisingly successful Discworld series, I'm afraid I won't be telling you anymore about how the story actually continues, because then it wouldn't be worth you actually reading the book and you would miss all the laughs and shrewd observation that resides within the cover.
I will however tell you a little bit about some of the characters you will meet, including of course our hero, Rincewind. And what a hero he is, or rather is not, magic certainly isn't his forte. In fact he's only ever managed to successfully perform one spell (well that performed itself really), but deep in his heart he knows he's a wizard, he's got the robe and the hat to prove it. As far as I'm concerned the only thing that Rincewind is good at is the one thing that his life really depends on, that is surviving
For all his faults (or perhaps because of them), Rincewind is a likeable character, and it's very easy to find yourself hoping and praying that he survives against all the odds. To assist Rincewind in this quest to save the world we meet as unlikely a pair of characters as you can imagine, in the form of Conina, the would-be hairdresser, who finds that her genes keep getting in the way of her career. (Well with a father like Cohan the barbarian what can you expect). The second of the pair is Nijel, the barbarian hero in training, whose got all the leather gear (shame about the woolly vest) and a training manual. Both of these characters are excellent parodies of stereotypical characters, and give an interesting and somehow unromantic love interest to the story.
Oh I nearly forgot the final member of Rincewind's supporting cast, that is The Luggage, which has to be the most enigmatic and vicious character ever imagined. At first glance you might think The Luggage was a regular trunk, but with your second glance, you might just notice the hundreds of tiny legs, or the way it seems to be glaring at you (as if it's wondering whether you're worth eating). For all it's faults, you really couldn't find a more loyal or dogged companion, and it'll follow Rincewind to the ends of the earth, or did until it fell in love .
Now you may be asking, who exactly are these heroes up against, and the answer is .a mere child, Coin, the wizard squared, who is guided (and guarded) by his staff. Although at first glance, Coin is a power mad child, it soon becomes obvious that his destiny is not his own and he perhaps is not that happy at the ultimate power he wields.
From the bright cartoon characters on the cover to the characters and story inside, this book is a sheer brilliance. From the very first page, I found myself immersed in and entranced by the story, there are just so many layers within the pages, from the simplicity of the main story, to the many parodies and in jokes. The final layer to the storyline is held within the many footnotes, that adds so many extra little details to the story.
I can honestly say there was not a single page (or even paragraph) that I was tempted to skip, and I finished the book within two sittings, with the only break being enforced by the need for sleep. But, this is not a book that you can only read the once, in fact if you do only read it one time you will be loosing out, as many of the jokes are not always obvious during the first read. I have actually read the book twice in the last month and about four times altogether and still managed to discover some subtle jokes I had missed previously.
While this may not be the perfect place to begin your adventures on Discworld (if you haven't read the previous books you may miss some of the jokes) it is definitely one of the better in the series. Am I recommending this book? You bet, at a very respectable four stars out of five (a perfect book is almost impossible to find) this is an amusing, entertaining and at times side-splitting fantasy book that will delight any fan of the genre, young or old.
Publisher: Corgi Adult
Paperback: 269 pages
Price : £5.59 from Amazon (UK)
Sourcery is the fifth book in Terry Pratchetts often bizarre but always amusing Discworld series which currently weighs in at around thirty titles. A little while ago I was foolish enough to set myself the challenge of reading and reviewing them all and here we are, only four months later, and already I'm on book five. This could take a while ... There is every chance that you'll find that the Discworld is a bit of an odd place. That's easy to say about a flat disc shaped world that travels through space on the back of four giant elephants who are themselves stood on the back of an even larger space turtle. But what might not be such a strange concept is that there are laws, rules and traditions firmly in place and whenever they get broken bad things happen. Take wizards for example. The Discworld has a natural abundance of magic and so it comes as no surprise that it's inhabitants have attempted to harness this resource. Of course, there are people who are more adept at using it than others. If you are an eighth son of an eighth son you will become a wizard and, because wizards are expected to be celibate, that's where the story should end as indeed it has for centuries. But things that shouldn't happen tend to happen quite a bit on the Discworld. One particular wizard, Ipslore, did fall in love and was banished by the wizards. He had seven sons, each of which was as powerful as any wizard. Then he had an eighth. A wizard squared, a source of magic, a sourcerer. Bitter at the wizards' rejection, Ipslore is determined that his eighth son Coin, the sourcerer, will exact his revenge and become the ruler of them all. But, rather than leave it to destiny to take care of it for him, he is determined to play a more active part in events and, with literally only seconds of his life remaining somehow manages to transfer himself into Coins' staff leaving Death more than a little miffed. Some year
s later the child arrives at Unseen University where all wizards go to learn their craft. Coin goes on to demonstrate his tremendous abilities and, despite the fear he initially arouses, his powers allow the wizards to perform magic they haven't been able to for years. Gradually they get swept up in things and soon most of them are obeying his every command. But it soon becomes clear that becoming Archchancellor of Unseen University is merely the first step in Coins plan. Meanwhile, thanks to hundreds of years of sitting on the head of numerous Archchancellors of Unseen University, the Archchancellors' Hat has learned a few tricks of it's own. It's very much aware of Coins' ambitions and knows that the Discworld itself is in grave danger. The Hat summons a thief to steal it from the University and attempts to seek out a wizard unaffected by Coins' presence. A wizard who has a keen sense of tradition, doesn't mind facing a perilous journey in dangerous lands and almost certain death. A wizard who would not mind taking risks for high rewards. Unfortunately they find Rincewind. For those of you who haven't read the first two books in the series (and if not, why not?) Rincewind is a failed wizard, unable to perform even the most basic spells. A self confessed coward he spends most of his time simply trying to stay out of trouble which is something else he's not very good at. Since his last adventure he has become honorary assistant librarian at the university and life has been largely trouble free. But then Coin arrives and against his better instincts, he reluctantly becomes involved in an adventure which may possibly end with the destruction of the Discworld ... again. So, here we are with book five in the Discworld series and if, like me, you've read the first four (in order obviously!) then you will know exactly what to expect. A varied cast of characters let loose in a magical land dealing
with the not so glamorous side of life. Add a strong dose of humour and an extremely active imagination and you'll end up with some of the best comic fantasy you are likely to lay your hands on. After a short and rather dark opening prologue the usual elements soon fall into place. There is a constant flow of throwaway lines which will have you grinning like a idiot for most of the time and a fair selection of well thought out sequences to enjoy. Mr P has even found room for a flying carpet. As expected there is a selection of new characters to get acquainted with as well as a few returning favourites. While not all of them are totally successful creations there are certainly more hits than misses. Initially it's Coin himself (I love some of these names Mr P comes up with) who would appear to be the central character but the re-appearance of Rincewind a little way in soon confirms the direction the story will take. Coin gets relegated to supporting character status for most of the book, which is no bad thing. The main players are Rincewind, who is back on top form, and Conina, a female thief who would actually rather be a hairdresser but can't quite ignore the calling of the genes passed down from her parents. We also encounter Nijel the barbarian adventurer who is just starting out at this adventuring lark and is keen to gain a bit of experience. We also get the return of the Luggage last seen with Rincewind in the first two books. The Luggage is a magical wooden chest that gets around on hundreds of little legs. Ferociously loyal to it's owner - now Rincewind - it had been rather enjoying the quiet life on top of the wardrobe before the sourcerer came to town. Rincewinds' previous adventures were chronicled in the first two books entitled "The Colour Of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic". The following couple of books told the tales of other Discworld characters and while it was gr
eat to open up the series a bit I've got to say it's very comfortable to welcome back a character who feels like an old friend. This is where reading the whole series starts to pay off. It's not essential and there is no reason why you couldn't tackle this as a one-off but there is a rich vein of humour which will go completely unnoticed if you have not read the previous books. Many examples are subtle - Rincewinds first appearance in book one was in the Broken Drum tavern while in Sourcery he visits the Mended Drum - while others are more obvious references to his previous adventures and the characters he met while on them. The Discworld series is like Marmite. You either love it or loathe it. As far as I am concerned the Discworld books are comic fantasy at it's best but if you simply don't like comic fantasy then you obviously won't like this. As such the only real way to rate each of these books is against the rest of the series. Coming straight after "Mort", "Sourcery" doesn't quite maintain the urgency of the previous novel. There seems to be a little more padding out of the plot here than in the previous few books. It's not quite as tight a story as we have come to expect and that's something the first two books also seemed to suffer from. Rincewinds return is welcome, as is that of the Luggage even if it doesn't really have much to do for most of the book. Conina is the most interesting of the new characters and it would be great to see her returning later in the series. It may not be in danger of overthrowing "Mort" as my favourite of the series but it's good entertaining fun and although some sections of the story do slow things down a bit there is always plenty of humour wrung out of each situation. If you are up for a little shopping around you'll always be able to save yourself a couple of pounds off the RRP. WH S
miths are well worth a look both on the high street and online as they are currently running a 3 for 2 promotion which seems to include most (if not all) of the Discworld novels. Next up for review is "Wyrd Sisters" and the tale of the book with no ending. Thanks for reading. © Nomad 2003 Book information -------------------- 'Sourcery' by Terry Pratchett 270 pages, published by Corgi, £5.99 ISBN: 0-552-13107-5 Some websites worth a look --------------------------------- The L Space Web - http://www.ie.lspace.org/ Discworld monthly - http://www.ufbs.co.uk/dwm/ Terry Pratchett Books - http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/ Other Discworld book reviews by me ------------------------------------------- 'Destination Discworld' an opinion on Book 1 - 'The Colour Of Magic' 'Fantastical Magical' an opinion on Book 2 - 'The Light Fantastic' 'Men Only' an opinion on Book 3 - 'Equal Rites' 'A Life Of Death' an opinion on Book 4 - 'Mort'
Well the race is on. I'm in the middle of my annual re-reading of the Pratchett books - this year thrown out slightly by the surprise mid-year release of Thief of Time. I'm only up to Sourcery, and I've just discovered that there are two books due out in November. This could seriously put my schedule out of joint. Sourcery is not one of the best Discworld novels, it must be said; which is a shame, since it follows Mort, my all-time favourite. I must make clear that I am not saying it's a bad book. Far from it. It's still infinitely better than anyone else. Tom Holt, Andrew Harman, Robert Rankin - Pratchett could make his weekly shopping list sound funnier than their best efforts. But this tremendous success means that there is no measure for a Discworld novel, other than a comparison with the best Discworld novels; which means that a review of the 'not-so-best' ones will sound slightly critical, when actually it is simply that they are not quite so fantastic as the others. The book is nominally about a young boy called Coin, who is the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son, which - as any idiot knows - makes him a sourceror, a source of magic. His father, Ipslore, should never have had children, since wizards are forbidden certain mattress-located activities, but he had a row with his peers at Unseen University, and was thrown out. So he has an eighth son. This is not all though. When Death comes to claim Ipslore he avoids dying by hiding his soul in the boy's staff - and, since separating him from it would also kill Coin, Death has to let him stay there. So Ipslore tries to run his son's life from the confines of the staff. Coin goes to Unseen University, as an eight year old boy, and seizes control from the resident wizards, demanding to be made Arch-Chancellor. He also gives the wizards fantastic power - as a sourceror he is a channel for magic to enter the Discworld. That's more
or less all you see of Coin. The real plot involves Rincewind the completely incompetent wizard from the first two Discworld novels. He suddenly finds himself being commanded, by the Arch-Chancellor's hat, to take it away from the university so that it can't be worn by the Sourceror. And so he sets off on one of his adventures in which he always seems to run endlessly from one disaster to another. Also the Luggage gets his own little side-plot after being rejected by Rincewind and going off for a sulk. I won't ruin any more of the plot. Basically this is Pratchett's 'Star Wars' book. It's about the battle between the dark side and light side of magic - wizardry and sourcery - and the question of whether great power gained without the required effort is a good idea. It is a sound plot, with far fewer needless diversions than in the first few books, where Pratchett gave the impression that he'd had lots of unrelated ideas, and somehow wanted to get all of them in. There are also no ridiculous Deus Ex Machina. It's just that there is nothing particularly new. Reading this only a couple of weeks after The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, I felt I was reading the same book again to some extent, with a couple of elements borrowed from Equal RItes. But, as I said, I would still rather read this than anything from any of the other pretenders to the comic fantasy crown. It is a very good book, and if you aren't reading it in quick succession with the others, it would be fantastically entertaining.
The Disworld has a lot of Wizards, some good and some completely incompetent, one of these is Rincewind, a wizard that knows only one spell and will never dare use it and has a hat that says 'wizzzard' in sequins. A wizard is the eighth son of and eighth son, eight is a magic number on the Discworld. Wizards are not meant to have sons, as another eighth son would not be a wizard, but a sorcery, very powerful and very dangerous. Rincewind is, again, the vbery unwilling hero, this time he is helped by Conina the Barbarian ( Cohen the Barbarians daughter, who would really rather be a hairdresser) and also by the luggage, but this is more by luck than judgement. Rincewind has nothing more than a sock full of sand to defeat this sourcerer who is being influenced by his dead father who has taken up residence in his staff. A great book, definitely one of the best.
Coin may only be a child, but he is also an extremely powerful sourcerer who has decided that he wants to take over the Disc World. The only people who stand in his way are Rincewind the inept wizard, Conina the Great Barbarian Thief who really wants to be a hairdresser, and Nijel.