Fantasy Review: ‘The Last Hero’ by Terry Pratchett

The Last Hero: A Discworld Fable (Discworld, #27)Part 27 of The Complete Discworld Reread

Rincewind has grown a bit tiring in the last couple of his books so it is not real upsetting that Pratchett left him behind after The Last Hero. What’s nice is Rincewind got an entertaining and all too fitting send off in this one. It let me bask in the glory that is one cowardly WIZZARD one last time; and do so with a fun, picture filled story with half the page length of a typical Discworld book. (Random aside, these books have gotten progressively longer. It was nice to be reminded that Pratchett could pack a whole lot of punch into books without huge page counts).

Something of a mashup book, The Last Hero contains lots of shout outs to previous books and even grabs a popular character from the Watch books to join in a very Rincewind-like story. Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Hoard, last seen ruling a vast and rich empire, seem to have gotten bored. It appears that they have decided to return fire, stolen so long ago, back to the gods of Discworld. With interest. On small problem that he wizards back in Anhk-Morpork see in this venture; it may destroy all of Discworld if the hoard succeeds. And that would suck.

So Rincewind joins a mad genius fans of the series knows well and a red head from the watch that is in no way a king and leads the charge to stop Cohen’s plan. This decidedly un-Rincewind like behavior comes about in a scene strait out of Catch-22, only the sane would be insane enough to volunteer for such a mission. (Another aside, because it is my damn blog. I am the WORST at catching references as I am usually too into the book I am reading to be thinking about what it is parroting or paying homage to). So yes, I am quite proud to have caught the Catch-22 wording this time around).

The selling point of this book is Paul Kidby’s artwork that is present on every page. Not quite a graphic novel because the artwork wasn’t presented in exact time with the text. It makes this book a bit harder to rate among the rest of the series. For those who grew up with Kidby’s artwork on their covers I am sure this was something to love. Even I, with my generic American paperback covers, recognize and identify Kidby’s work with Discworld and there is some great stuff within. But I don’t have any ties to the work, no emotional resonance is to be found.

So it is only the Pratchett story that matters to me. And it is over just a bit too quick to make an impression. Certainly it is entertaining, and simple enough that no loose ends are to be found. I enjoyed the Silver Hoard, the unnamed bard(there must be an allusion I am missing with this), and Rincewind’s time on the metal bird. The wit and the jokes are still strong. So I guess it counts as a success?

I am going to go ahead and leave this one unrated. I simply don’t know how to attach a star to it, much like my occasional attempts at reviewing comics I can only give this a pass/fail grade. And if a person finds themselves like me, reading every single Pratchett book they can get their hands on, then The Last Hero will not disappoint. So I have to give this a passing grade and move on to the next book.

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