Another week, another Pratchett. Although I expect that ratio to drop off a bit now. This time, Equal Rites, the story of a young girl trying to make her way in the world as a wizard. Which should be no problem, except for how only men can be wizards. (And suddenly, the title makes all kinds of sense.)
Here’s the thing. I know these are funny. I’ve read at least three of them, even before this latest spate. And the common knowledge is that ER is substantially better than even The Light Fantastic, but I found that they were mostly equivalent. Well, for the humor value, at least. ER had the better story, but it was a little too obvious for me, I guess.
Except, that’s not it either, exactly. It was more travelogue than battle of the sexes. So I guess part of my complaint is that it failed to meet expectations, and then once they got to the part I was expecting, it seemed rushed and simple. After a fairly contrived ‘nobody else could have accomplished this!’ moment that seemed to have nothing to do with gender, suddenly girls are allowed. Maybe I just didn’t get it.
Disclaimer: Still very enjoyable light reading. I think it suffered from inflated expectations more than any other single problem. I’m ready for the series to be as funny as I remember, though, and am starting to fear it’s the age difference. (That part probably shouldn’t have been in the disclaimer, but I’ve been trying to get this written for almost a day, and I’d rather be done than clear or concise.)
Just as I predicted, The Light Fantastic removes most of the complaints I had about The Colour of Magic. Despite being published three years apart, it’s clear that these are one book split in half. Which is nice for me; I’d intended to read something else in between, but there was an unfortunate circumstance whereby I got called away on my weekend suddenly and forgot to grab a new book to read. Luckily, tLF was still in my trunk from when I borrowed it, though.
So, over the past five days, I’ve gone through that at a pretty quick pace. (Quick for me, anyway.) In addition to making up for the abruptness of the previous book, it’s also much more internally coherent and rather a lot more funny as well. Pratchett certainly improved between the two books. Not only that, but the lead characters became less inscrutable (Twoflower) and more likeable (Rincewind). On the whole, then, this was the perfect fluff book to read while hanging about in hospital rooms. I look forward to more of them.
Weird. I’ve read a few Discworld books, mostly in high school, and I’m quite sure that one of them included Rincewind and the Luggage. But it wasn’t this book, and it doesn’t seem to be the next one either. So I’m a little puzzled on that score, but it’s okay. For one thing, this is brand new, completely uninfluenced by my memory, so that’s good, I guess.
Unfortunately, I can’t really add anything that’s not already been said on the topic. It was amusing, but not nearly as funny as I remember Pratchett being. Rincewind is a barely sympathetic character, the Luggage is more menace than lark, and Twoflower is okay, but he’s written as too mysterious to really get into him.
The plot was fine, but great sweeping swathes of it were missing for no clear reason and it ended with essentially no resolution. The Light Fantastic appears to be a direct sequel, and perhaps he already knew he was writing it when The Colour of Magic came out, but it was a bit jarring of my expectations since I know that these are traditionally stand-alone.
Mostly I’ve complained, so I will say that I got the occasional laugh and never regretted the time I was spending reading it. Plus! Now I understand the Tourist from nethack, so that was worth the price of admission.