Review: The Discworld Novels

By Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic
Pratchett is highly praised by most FanBoys. I endeavored to find out why. I have previously read Good Omens, Pratchett's collaboration with Neil Gaiman, but I wanted to see how much of that was Neil and how much was Terry. I picked up Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic based on my expectations that these would be like Douglas Adams' Hitch-hiker's Guide trilogy: a whimsical farce, or perhaps a farcical whimsy. What I picked up was... different.

As stated above, I was looking for some zany madcap adventure. What I got was a book that was humorous in some parts, but not the out-of-control comedy book I was expecting. As this was his first book, I thought that the writing style of Pratchett would have developed over time, so here, I thought that the rough spots were acceptable. (As an aside, I consider this book a Discworld novel, not a standalone book.)



Equal Rites
What I really liked about the first two books was Practhett seemed to fall into the situational comedy range of comedy. He took two (somewhat) normal characters and placed them in outrageous situations rather than taking several characters and have them say 'funny' things (as in most of the situation comedy television shows these days). I think it came about right at the end of the first book. Right when Rincewind spotted the space suits -- bam! -- everything clicked. Everything started to gel. Then Equal Rites seemed to abandon this style.

While an interesting story, this book didn't seem to be anywhere near the humor level of the earlier books. As I believed Pratchett was supposed to be one of "this age's premiere humourists", the lack of any funny bits struck me as odd. Still, this was nice story and he is an entertaining author.

Small Gods
Have I been reading all the wrong Discworld books? Aren't they supposed to be funny? Like Equal Rites, good story, engaging storytelling, very little humor.

The Fifth Elephant
This book is the exception to the rule that every book one picks up in an airport bookstore will be horrid. It was either this or Letters to Penthouse XII. Determined to give Discworld one last try, I picked this one up. Even if there aren't any "funny bits" like the last two books, at least the story should be strong enough to carry me through the flight.

So there, in the gift shop that sells hats shaped like giant wedges of cheese, I purchased it. It is rather good. I've rather enjoyed the first half of the book so far, although it's obviously part of a series of books: references to Sybil aren't readily apparent until a few pages after that character is mentioned, nor is the relationship between Carrot and Angua. This book reminded me of the writing style employed in Good Omens rather than Equal Rites. This is a good thing.