Sadly I got into Discworld just a few months before Terry Pratchett died. I had heard of it for a long time, but didn’t bite the bullet until earlier this year. I regret not experiencing the adventures of Rincewind and his colorful friends while the author lived. Maybe I could have enjoyed the experience of reading each new book as it came out. Either way, I was just getting into this magical series when I heard the news of his passing. Weird and sad all at once.
But that hasn’t deterred me from pressing on. There are over 40 books in the series, a massive achievement for any writer. Sourcery is the 5th in the series. I won’t bother going over the earlier ones. They’re great in varied and special ways. Go and check them out if you wanna.
A part of me feels like Discworld is the series Tolkien would have written had he grown up in the 60’s. There is strong satirical vein throughout it, a obvious jab at the fantasy troupes we fanboys and fangirls know inside and out. But there is also a true love for the genre, a love that seemed to grow with every book (I’ll say right now that so far, my fav book in the series is Equal Rites, but enough about that). Discworld is the kind of high fantasy you’ll be ready for once you’ve gorged yourself on LoTR and Harry Potter and have graduated onto something smarter. And smart it is.
That being said I had a hard time enjoying Sourcery. It’s not a bad book. It’s probably a great book. But the way in which Pratchett lays waste to the Discworld, as the unstoppable boy sourcerer destroys everything in his path, even trapping the gods themselves, thus releasing frost giants to finish the job, was disillusioning. It almost felt that five books in, the author was trying to destroy his own creation. Or aiming at a soft reboot of sorts. But these books are always looking for ways to rewrite the rules the last one established. It makes sense, if you “get” this kind of story. Irreverence even unto itself. It’s entertaining and refreshing, but it can devolve into meaningless cynicism rapidly.
It don’t think Sourcery is cynical in any way. Cynicism is a modern day poison that kills creativity. But it does teeter on the edge a few times, almost going to such a point that you feel the stakes are meaningless and life in Discworld doesn’t matter. But I believe Pratchett had too much heart to push us over. He always pulls us back in time, saving the day once again.
The Discworld series is an amazing journey. It’s unlike most fantasy you’ll ever read, but it has it’s highs and lows. You need to adjust your expectations in order to appreciate the humor and rhythm. Once you do it’s a series worth losing your afternoons in. Sourcery may have had a few bumps for my taste, but it was gold where it counted.
TL,DR: Check out Discworld, once you get tired of D&D and Harry Potter.