The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

(8.5/10)

The Light Fantastic is the second Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett and picks up the story that was begun in The Colour of Magic.

A red star has appeared in the sky and the Discworld is heading right towards it. There is only one person who can save the world; but unfortunately this is the rather inept and cowardly wizard called Rincewind who was last seen falling of the edge of the world.

As The Light Fantastic starts we are once again re-united with Rincewind the wizard, Twoflower the tourist and of course, his luggage.

The writing style is the same as The Colour of Magic with the emphasis heavily on humour. This works most of the time but it did seem at certain points that Pratchett was trying to be too funny, too often. I felt that the storyline sometimes suffered in the search for yet more laughs. This is a small gripe though as there are very few fantasy books that are as well written and enjoyable as this, I really fell in behind Rincewind and sincerely hoped that a happy end and a certain degree of respect was in store for the much happened-upon wizard.

"There was no real need for the torches. The Octavo filled the room with a dull, sullen light, which wasn't strictly light at all but the opposite of light; darkness isn't the opposite of light, it is simply its absence, and what was radiating from the book was the light that lies on the far side of darkness, the light fantastic."
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

The first half of the book further develops the characters of Rincewind and Twoflower as they stumble from many frying pans into even more fires. After a while the book really needed an injection of new life and this came in the form of the greatest hero of all time – Cohen the Barbarian. Cohen is far and away the best thing about this book, not often do you get hero that is eight-seven years old, suffering from bunions and piles and with a back that gives in half way through a fight to the death. Add to this the fact that he has no teeth and we are given a truly original and entertaining character that really steals the spotlight.

'I never get any royaltiesh,' he said. He looked moodily at the snow. 'That'sh the shaga of my life. Eighty yearsh in the bushiness and what have I got to show for it? Backache, pilesh, bad digeshtion and a hundred different recipesh for shoop. Shoop! I hate shoop!'
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

DEATH also makes an appearance and this is always a treat, Pratchett obviously has great fun writing this character and this enthusiasm is passed over to the reader and the cameo performances always light up and Discworld story.

The Light Fantastic is a funny and at times delightful book. The story of Rincewind and Twoflower is brought to a strangely moving conclusion and Pratchett's work gets better and better.

Review by

1 positive reader review(s) for The Light Fantastic

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The Light Fantastic reader reviews

from Newcastle, Australia

This is probably my least favourite Discworld stories, but still miles ahead of many other books that I have read. Discworld is about the characters, it always has been and it always will be, and I count Rincewind as one of my favourites. But great characters aren't enough if you want to call a story great, and in The Light Fantastic we get a very confused story that struggles to find its own feet after being burdened with trying to tie up the loose ends from The Colour of Magic. There are some brilliant scenes, and the one with Twoflower trying to teach the four Horsemen how to play "something you build over water" is one of my favourite Discworld scenes ever. I just dont get that same immersive feeling in this book like I do in Sourcery or Eric.

from Somerset

The Light Fantastic further fleshes out the Discworld and introduces some great new characters - Cohen the Barbarian is by far the best of these. I love the fact that the main character Rincewind is a complete coward, this is refreshing after reading fantasy novels where the lead is super-human and indestructable. A fun, fast and enjoyable read, the Discworld series gets better and better.

8.2/10 from 3 reviews

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