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Synopsis via Goodreads: As it 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 which has a mind (and legs) of its own. Which is a shame because that’s all there is…
I loved this book, which was a huge relief as I was underwhelmed by the first book in the Discworld series The Colour of Magic. While The Colour of Magic had a score of memorable characters and unparalleled worldbuilding it was completely and utterly confusing. Because I’m the type of person that needs validation, I was relieved to find that reviewers on Goodreads agreed with this opinion. In their reviews they promised vast improvement in the series’ other books, starting with The Colour of Magic‘s sequel The Light Fantastic. While reading The Colour of Magic I enjoyed the characters of Rincewind and Twoflower so I thought I would heed the reviews and continue on in the series. And I’m so glad I did.
Unlike The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic‘s storytelling was eccentric, hilarious, and unpredictable without being illogical and difficult to follow. The story itself surrounds the slow approach of a menacing star heading straight towards Discworld (which sits flat on top of four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle called the Great A’Tuin). As predicted by the character Death, the only way to stop the star from destroying the world is to read out the eight spells inside the Octavo, the world’s most powerful book. One of the spells is missing, leading to a hunt to find the person carrying it inside their head. Are you following? Good.
This book is outrageous in the best way and is overflowing with characters and situations that kept me laughing out loud. The friendship of Rincewind (a wizard that can’t do magic) and Twoflower (Discworld’s first tourist) is well written and endlessly charming. While Rincewind takes a sort-of-serious, sort-of-exhausted approach to problem-solving, Twoflower is often wandering off to very literally smell the roses or take photographs of the life-threatening situations they find themselves in. Twoflower’s obliviousness and Rincewind’s inability to stay calm continuously clash, either making their situation worse or somehow assisting them in escaping. It’s all very absurd and I loved every minute of it.
A special shout out to the character Death who influenced the purchase of my next Discworld book, Mort. And a second shout out to the Luggage, a wooden, faceless chest that has more personality than some humans I know. Only Terry Pratchett could make a piece of luggage into an interesting, terrifying, and loyal character.
I’m very happy I’ve continued on with the Discworld books and I can’t wait to discover new corners of this strange world and meet more of its many inhabitants. I recommend this wonderful book to anyone looking for a laugh or for a pleasant and exciting afternoon read. The Discworld books also seem to be good for any fans of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series as they contain the same dry British humour. Though The Colour of Magic wasn’t nearly as good as it’s sequel, I do recommend reading it if only to experience the glory of The Light Fantastic and the hilarious adventures of Rincewind and Twoflower. I’m happy to give this book four out of five stars.