“what shall we do?” Said Twoflower.
“Panic?” Said Rincewind hopefully. He always held that panic was the best means of survival
As if moves towards a seemingly inevitable collision with a malevolent red star, the Discworld could do with a hero. What it doesn't need is a singularly inept and cowardly wizard, still recovering from the trauma of falling off the edge of the world, or a well-meaning tourist and his luggage with a mind (and legs) of it's own. Which is a shame, because that's all there is....
So a few months ago I went into Waterstones and picked up the first three books in the Discworld series The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic and Equal Rights. I had heard many great things about these books, how funny they are, how the characters are crazy and ridiculous, how inventive the world is, so my expectations were high!
It is important to point out that until recently, i'd never read any fantasy. Ever. Last year, at christmas, for the first time I picked up the Harry Potter series. Now not only had I not read them, I had no idea of the plot. I knew it was about a wizard that went to wizard school, that was literally it. How I had got this far in life (especially as an avid reader) and managed to avoid spoilers or even plot direction is beyond me. I remember my housemate at the time Amy going to watch the final film and mentioning something about a war, I was very confused! Then at the end of the year I picked up and read The Hobbit, my second venture into fantasy, and finally I was ready for Discworld.
So first, a confession......I am not very good at reading fantasy. I'm just not, I adored Harry Potter and The Hobbit but my brain sometimes struggles to imagine the worlds properly, especially if I make a mental image and then something in the text changes it. I find it frustrating.
With this in mind I found the first book The Colour of Magic disappointing, the were certain parts of the world building I just didn't get, I didn't find it funny, and I sometimes got a little lost. I think this is partially due to my inexperience in the genre and partially because of the book. Either way for me, it was a miss, I put the other books to the back of my mind.
Then last week, I felt compelled to pick up The Light Fantastic, and I'm glad I did, simply, this book saved the series for me.
It sticks with the same main characters as in the first book, Rincewind, Twoflower and the luggage, and continues were the other book left off, with them falling off the edge of the planet (the most literal “cliff hanger” moment in literary history). Now I liked Rincewind in the first book, and liked him just as much in this, frankly he a bumbling buffoon, and then theres the luggage......... My favourite new character has to be the toothless Conan the Barbarian, going from an epic legend to an old man, he is hilarious. Thats the main difference in this book, it is genuinely funny. I laughed out loud at several points, in the first book I could see where it was supposed to be funny but it just didn't hit it off for me.
My only real negative is that I still struggled a bit with imagining some the settings (partially because they are always moving around and every place they go is more crazy then the last!) but defiantly not as confusing as I found the first book.
I'm glad I decided to give this second book a chance and I've decided I'm sticking with this series (over time...I mean come on theres 39 books!)and hopefully I won't regret it!
I would give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars
Favourite Quote: ( This is hard, because it's full of great one liners and descriptions, I'll pick one of my favourites at random)
“The short conversation that follows eventually led to a tree religion. Its tenet of faith was this: a tree that was a good tree and led a clean decent and upstanding life could be assured of a future life after death. If it was very good indeed it would eventually be reincarnated as five thousand rolls of lavatory paper.”