From the Complete Discworld Reread
A dying wizard passes his staff on to a small child. The child has power much beyond his age, and quickly gains the ears of the most powerful wizards of Unseen University. Problems arise and the fabric of reality is threatened, where things from the dungeon dimensions await entry. I just reviewed this book when it was called ‘Equal Rites’, only this time it was titled ‘Sorcery.’ Perhaps that is unfair, there is plenty about ‘Sourcery’ that stands out on its own, but Pratchett clearly borrowed a lot of ideas from his first few books and recycled a lot of them here.
In ‘Sourcery’ we learn why wizards are supposed to stay chaste. Coin is the eighth son of a wizard, which makes him a sorcerer. While a wizard can use magic, a sorcerer IS magic, and really has no limit. Guided, or controlled, by his dead father who escaped death by transferring his essence to Coin’s staff, the young sorcerer takes over the Unseen Univeristy and shows the wizards how they can rule the world. Rincewind, everyone’s favorite inept wizard, sees early signs of trouble and does what he does best, starts running. Along with luggage his flight leads him to the world’s richest man, a dangerous hairdresser, and a man learning to be a fierce barbarian from a book. Of course eventually he has to help save the world, but that seems to be Rincewind’s cross to bear.
There is nothing inherently bad in this book, but it certainly isn’t one of Pratchett’s best. The entire storyline is logical and well crafted, characters act as a reader would come to expect them to, and there is always a good amount of wit and laughs. Coin is an intriguing character; he genuinely seems lost in his powers, a young boy who wants to both please his father and do something right. Rincewind is still amusing, and his luggage doubly so, especially when they fall for the same girl(long story). It is also interesting to see a hat used in place of the more typical magical weaponry.
My largest gripe is just how much of this book covers ground that has already been covered. Creatures from the dungeon dimensions trying to get in are understandable; they are a constant threat to Discworld throughout the series, the closest the series has to a recurring villain. But reusing the semi-possessed staff seems lazy. The unconventional barbarian was used in ‘The Light Fantastic,’ and here it is brought back twice. Even the ending is very reminiscent to Equal Rites, only with different characters. My only other gripe is that very few characters ended up mattering to the story, Coin and Rincewind do everything of importance.
3 stars. Still entertaining, but not the strongest of the series by any means.
Not really much to add to this book. I can see why it didn’t stick with me, it was too reminiscent of the other books. All the Rincewind books start to follow the same trappings, which I would guess is why I seldom see them listed as peoples’ favorites.
Rincewind did end this one trapped in the dungeon Dimensions, but at least luggage went in after him. I am not sure there were any major recurring characters that show in this book, if there were I didn’t catch them.
All in all, I am glad this one is out of the way, and one of my favorites is next on the list.