Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is my second time reading this book
I believe this book marks the inflection point from the retconned books to the more continuity focused books. It appears that Equal Rites has already been retconned away by this book or else Rincewind is ignorant of those events when he tells Conina that no women enter the doors of the university. Although, I guess we can’t trust him too much because I believe even this one mentions that women work in the kitchens and so forth.
This book has a bit of a feel of a sitcom. It’s got guest-stars like Conina (one of Cohen the Barbarian’s daughters) who don’t really have any character growth and are mind-wiped at the end of the book. In fact, the reset button is hit on most of the Discworld at the end. I believe only The Librarian and Rincewind (and maybe some anonymous wizards) have any idea of what happened during the course of this book. And, at the end, Coin (view spoiler)[peaces out – having somewhat learned his lessons. (hide spoiler)].
That said, the narrative structure is getting a bit more conventional by this book. It’s less a series of fantasy Monty Python sketches, and a more coeherent story. That said, we do get introduced to Discworld’s Arabian analogue. Lots of fun there, including messing around with what the point of a harem is (see 1001 Arabian Nights) and having some fun with the Vizier trope. (Definitely a trope Pratchett enjoyed playing with. There was a great scene in Mort with Discorld-China’s emperor and vizier. I believe Pyramids also has that trope as a main bit of the story)
Can it be read standalone? There’s a bit about Rincewind and The Luggage that would be well served by having read the previous Rincewind books. That said, it’s not too important a bit of canon. Pratchett also does a good job introducing the the way wizards feel about each other (and he’s 1-2 books from ending that) so you don’t need that either. You miss the story of why The Librarian is the way he is an the joke about Cohen the Barbarian, but these are tiny Easter eggs. Yes, I do believe you can read this one standalone. I guess it also means you can skip if it you wanted to start further in the Discworld series.
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