“I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
Death thought about it.
“CATS,” he said eventually. “CATS ARE NICE.”
Sourcery (Discworld #5)
By Terry Pratchett
Once upon a time, there was an eighth son of an eighth son who was, of course, a wizard. As if that wasn’t complicated enough, said wizard then had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son — a wizard squared (that’s all the math, really). Who of course, was a source of magic — a sourcerer.
After visits with a few other crazy denizens of the Discworld, Sourcery brings back Rincewind the Wizzard (it says so on his hat!), the Luggage, the Librarian, and a few other fellows that we’ve seen before to tell the reader exactly why it is that Wizards really shouldn’t reproduce.
Sourcery isn’t the best book in the series and my theory on why is based on publication placement. At this point, readers have assumedly gotten through four other books. They know the world but aren’t yet experts in it. This novel is still holding your hand, and while some narrative points are revelatory, others we’ve seen before. I know what Octarine is. I know that eight is a sacred number. Yet it is explained again, which slows the pace.
Don’t let that get you down though! Despite some of the repetition, the book still had lots of funny bits. On top of that, it fleshed out the character of the Librarian some more, gave us a few appearances by Death, and provided passing references to people and places we’ve seen before. On top of all that we are introduced to a barbarian who doesn’t want to be a barbarian, a non-barbarian who wants to be a barbarian, a child who wants to implement wizard rule, a Seraph, a Vizier, a completely new city, and a wizarding war.
A lot happens in this book, it just takes its time getting there. And of course, with every book in the series the world grows even larger and more humorously delightful.
Should You Read This?
It wasn’t as good as Mort, but I enjoy anything that places the homicidal Luggage at the center of a story is good for me.
I’m hoping that future books aren’t as heavy on the repetition, but so far I’m happy with the series and my one-a-month progress. Next up- a return to the witches with Wyrd Sisters!
Summary from Goodreads
I’ve read two Discworld books so far (out of order) – Mort and Small Gods. I’m trying to decide whether I should start at the beginning with The Color of Magic or keep skipping around–any advice? I’ve heard that the first few books aren’t as strong.
I’ve only read the first five so far, in publication order. Mort was the strongest of the set, but I did enjoy the first two just form a world building perspective. If you have a grasp on things you can probably skip around though.