Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.
But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard…
Pages – 292
Published – January 18th 1985
Rating – Should Read, 4 stars
Read from 26th December 2016 to 1st January 2017
So this was the first book of 2017! And what a good start to my new reading!
My Dad did warn me that it would take me a few books to truly get into this world and that I would love the witches and to just wait till I got there. And he was right; this was a very slow and different read for me. I had to get used to the abstract concepts that just weren’t explained and just take them at face value. The humour was quite subtle and I do know that it gets much funnier as the series goes on which I am also looking forward to.
This was a surprisingly long read due to the constant flow, there were not chapter breaks and I think this is the first book I’ve ever read done in this style. It is split into four sections and it sort of read like four short stories almost with each section being based on one challenge even though the two main characters followed throughout.
The characters were hard to understand at first because we are just flung into them and forced to be part of their lives but they do grow on you and you start to see the foundation of some really strong character depth. By the end of the story you can almost tell their tendencies and what they’re going to do next, you bond with Rincewind’s sarcasm and know that he will always try and get out of a situation. And then you enjoy Twoflower’s naivety and ability to put them both into perilous situations and not even caring what will happen. You could also call the luggage another main character as it brings a personality of its own which is surprising that you can call a traditionally inanimate object a character and shows the unique nature of Pratchett’s writing.
This was incredibly daunting for me to enter into as it is a 40+ book series but the story itself was so contained that is does feel very fulfilling and gratifying to finish. Sometimes with series it can be a struggle to feel that enjoyment and you don’t tend to get it until after committing to 3+ books.
The world is incredibly interesting and the magic system is also quite complex in its simplicity. It explains magic in a multifaceted way in that there are different branches and approaches. Some are based on rigorous learning and memorisation, and others are simply belief and the strength is based on your imaginations ability to convince itself that an object or being is real.
I did struggle with some aspects of this books story telling in that it was very fluid between perspectives and small side plots and story lines. In this it then jumped scenes of our main characters, in so much as, there would be a situation, the characters would approach, there would be a side scene, we would return to the characters after events have unfolded. This is quite an original way of approaching time progression and not letting the story be slowed down by the mundane detail. It did feel very different to many things that I have read and it did take my brain a bit of getting used to before it felt like a sudden brick wall.
The way the story is set out, we are basically introduced to four separate areas and obstacles and this was a good way of showing off the world and giving hints to other more complex ideas that will probably be explored in forth coming books. The world is probably the most interesting part of this. It felt very simple to begin with in the way that it was presented but as the story went on more layers (literally – *wink *wink, *nudge *nudge) were added and it really started to expand in your mind and the possibilities became endless.
The main issue I had with this book was the writing style, it wasn’t my favourite. It was quite choppy and back and forth that I sometimes struggled to follow. You really had to read in a quiet space with no distractions which I don’t often have the liberty of. I did get the general jist most of the time but at points I got so confused as to what was going on due to the completely out of the box nature of some of the concepts present in this.
I am looking forward to reading on in the series that will probably last me years.
What was the first book of your new year?