My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I must admit that I'm growing quite fond of Rincewind, the inept wizard. It's a pity he tends to disappear, or probably die, at the ends of his novels. I never know whether or not he will be back.
Anyway, Sourcery (first published 1988) is about the eighth son of an eighth son (wizard) of an eighth son: a sourcerer. They are very, very powerful, sourcerers (= sources of magic), and also very rare. There is a reason why wizards don't have much, or any, contact with women... And it can get worse when the sourcerer's father wants revenge for being banished from Unseen University for having fallen in love.
Rincewind, together with Conina (the daughter of Cohen the barbarian) and the Luggage sets out to save the Archchancellor's hat, symbol of wizardry, from the sourcerer, only to find that the hat has plans of its own, which could lead to the Apocralypse, the end of the world. In order to stop the oncoming mage war, Rincewind has to kill the sourcerer, a ten-year-old boy who is forced to help wizards rule the discworld.
As always, Rincewind goes about the business of being an involuntary hero using his rodent-like talent to escape death and arguing with his consciousness about what should be done in contrast to what would be sensible to do. To make matters worse, he (and the Luggage) both fall in love (symptoms: sweaty palms, hot sensation in stomach, skin of chest made of tight elastic, someone running hot steel into spine), which leads to the Luggage getting seriously drunk and lost.
In addition to Rincewind and the Luggage, the novel is populated with weird and funny characters. There's Conina, forced to be a heroine by genetics but wannabe hairdresser, Nijel the Destroyer, a wannabe hero, and Creosote, a rich wannabe poet. They all have their own to contribute to save the discworld from destruction when the Gods vanish and the Ice Giants return.
Sourcery was a lot of fun to read, finally making Rincewind one of my favourite Terry Pratchett characters. You shouldn't read it without having read the other Rincewind novels first, though.
Compared to the last discworld book I read, there was a lot less repetition this time, which made me all the more happy. I'm already looking forward to the next book (and regretting slightly that I'm going by publishing order, since I want to know how Rincewind gets back)!
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