Saturday, 28 January 2012
Review: The Light Fantastic
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett is the sequel to his first discworld novel, The Colour of Magic. Published three years after the first, in 1986, the book starts off where we were left, with Rincewind the inept wizard falling from the disc. The Octavo, a very potent grimoire, goes to great length to save his life - or, to be more exact - to save one of the Eight Spells of the creator, which had taken up lodging in Rincewind's head some years previously. One moment falling right into space, next moment he finds himself in a wood of talking trees. He is reunited with the tourist Twoflower, but we never get to know what happened to Tethis the water troll, who was inside the Potent Voyager, a space capsule, with him.
Rincewind and Twoflower continue their travels across the disc, being pursued by wizards and accompanied by yet another hero, Cohen the Barbarian. This time, they meet druids building a kind of magical computer, they take a short stroll through Death's realm, are kidnapped, then saved by trolls, and so on. All the time, a new, red, menacing star grows bigger in the sky, threatening to destroy the discworld. Or is it? In any case, it is driving people mad with fear and curiosity.
I liked this second discworld novel quite a bit more than the first. It has more of a storyline; it was clear quite early that the goal would be to return to Ankh-Morpork and everything that happens somehow works towards this goal. Then comes the showdown, epic fights and heroic deeds (done by Rincewind, who was the greatest coward ever known before). The sudden change of character fits, though, as he is finally home and tired of running away again.
Disappointing, for me, was that we still don't know what happened to Hrun the Barbarian and Tethis from The Colour of Magic. Books that give no satisfactory explanation of the disposition of some of their characters, however minor they may be, always upset me.
Overall, it was a good read. The Light Fantastic is funny and exciting, but now that I'm getting used to reading Terry Pratchett again, and the first excitement for reading the whole series has faded, I can't help noticing that his later novels are, well, better. I'm looking forward to continue with the discworld novels and follow the author's development.
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