Terry Pratchett
Sourcery Cover



Still early in his Discworld series, Terry Pratchett's Sourcery still struggles with a lot of issues that plague his early work. It is still just plain cheeky, poking fun at Epic Fantasy tropes, which is always amusing. Especially in Pratchett's zany hands. But he is overly entranced by the too-distracted world of wizardry here. And falling way short of the satirist he will later become.

There are a tone of giggles here. I enjoyed, for instance, the Quixote-like Nigel, who fancies himself a barbarian raider, but learned how to be one from a book. Who learned how to fight an pillage. But whose mother forbade him to read the chapter on "rape." Which, he thought, was okay. Since he was waiting for the right woman. All very Pratchett. Warm, funny and contemporary. And Conina, the daughter of Cohen the Barbarian. Who wants to be a hairdresser. But her barbarian ancestry makes her want to use her shears and razors for quite un-beautician-like things.

The main story line, though, falls a bit flat for me. I like the resolution, but it rings hollow. As if Pratchett fell under the spell of the very genre he is trying to spoof.

Criticisms aside, I enjoyed the book, but not as much as Pratchett's later work. It was light and fun. Something I needed. Considering my reading schedule over the past couple of months: Gravity's Rainbow, Pale Fire, and Infinite Jest. And Pratchett is always an antidote to the "heavies."

I was wavering between three and four stars, but settled on three and a half. Because of the just ho-hum main story line.

Leo Walsh is an author living in Cleveland. Follow him at