Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Light Fantastic Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Series: Discworld Book Two
Pages: 241

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(Spoilers for The Color of Magic are below).

Continuing right after the concluding events of The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic continues the story of Rincewind and Twoflower.  Most Discworld books are individual stories, but this is the exception. The Light Fantastic is the second half of The Color of Magic, and that book should be read before reading this one.

The second installment in the Discworld is less clunky than its predecessor.  It has a more entertaining sense of humor, its transitions feel more fluid, and overall it feels less neurotic.  A definite improvement over The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic turns out to be a fun book, but Pratchett still hasn’t worked out all of the kinks.

The Great A’Tuin, the giant turtle that holds the Discworld is swimming straight for a giant star.  This unfortunate event will likely mean the end for civilization for the planet.  The only thing that can stop the turtle is the eight great spells, one of which is known by the incompetent wizard Rincewind … who was last seen falling off the Discworld and floating through the far reaches of space.

The Light Fantastic can be really funny at times, but it does have moments where the plot becomes less interesting and the jokes don’t reside to well. The chief problem in the last story was everything felt like mini-stories that had little to do with one another.  That issue is greatly improved upon in The Light Fantastic, transitions have a more natural feel, but the book still has some neurotic tendencies with its plot and that can get distracting.

The biggest area of improvement comes thanks to the development of the Luggage.  The Luggage was briefly developed in the previous book, but takes on a much more important role now.  With its thousands of tiny feet, its ability to carry all the items Rincewind and Twoflower need, its perseverance and loyalty in following its owner anywhere – even the far reaches of space – and its ability to waver off fierce enemies by eating them, the Luggage has to be one of the most brilliant Pratchett character creations. Its personality resembles a loyal dog and it gets involved in a number of memorable moments.

One of my favorite quotes/situations with the Luggage reads like this:
“The lid snapped shut. Gancia vanished.  And just in case Weems thought it was accidental the Luggage’s lid snapped open again, just for a second, and a large tongue as red as mahogany licked across broad teeth as white as sycamore.  Then it slammed shut again. To Weems further horror hundreds of little legs extruded from the underside of the box.  It rose very deliberately and, carefully arranging its feet, shuffled around to face him.  There was a particularly malevolent look about its keyhole, the sort of look that says “Go on – make my day …”
Another great parody is the introduction of Cohen the Barbarian.  This 87 year old lisp speaking hero is a great parody of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian. He has a number of amusing moments, one of which he laments on the lack of money he’s received from royalties.

Rincewind and Twoflower continue on like they had in the previous novel.  Bother characters are entertaining, especially on a conceptual level.  The plot they take part in this time around is stronger, especially as the story heads into its final act.

The Light Fantastic wraps up the Twoflower and Rincewind story in a simple but satisfying way – nothing to heavy or cynical here. I would recommended this book to people who have read the The Color of Magic and are looking for closure.

Score: 8.4

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