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As a big Rincewind fan, I count Sourcery as one of my favorite Pratchett novels. This fifth novel of Discworld is the first to have a real epic quality to it. Seeing as how the plot is hinged around the "Apocralypse" (even though an inebriated Pestilence, War, and Famine cannot remember the proper term for it), it pretty much has to be an epic. Ipslore was a natural-born wizard, the eight son of an eighth son, who did the unthinkable (not to mention unwizardly) act of marrying and having an eighth son of his own--a sourcerer. By tricking Death, he enters his own wizard staff and later guides the ten-year-old boy Coin in assuming the Archchancellorship of Unseen University and trying to take over the world. A sourcerer has free rein over the use of magic, unlike modern-day wizards who talk about magic but rarely perform it. Sourcerers almost destroyed the Discworld in ancient times in the Mage Wars, and young Coin sets in motion a modern-day Mage War that can only end in disaster. Only one man can stop the sourcerer and save the world--most unfortunately, that one man is the inept wizard Rincewind. His only allies are the wise and good Librarian (who happens to be an orangutan), the beautiful yet deadly thief Conina (daughter of Cohen the Barbarian), and Nigel, the skinniest hero on the Discworld whose only heroic wisdom comes from a ghost-written book by Cohen the aforementioned Barbarian. The Luggage also plays a part, but he/she/it is not there at Rincewind's side.

I love how the character of Rincewind is strengthened and expanded in this novel; he's still the funny little man in a pointy hat that we met in earlier Discworld novels, but instead of running around all over the world trying to avoid dying, Rincewind is transformed in these pages into a hero--not a very good one, of course, but a hero nonetheless. His commitment to wizardry is steadfast and firm, while the vast majority of successful wizards go along with Coin, delight in the new magical powers they gain through sourcery, and eventually wage a magical war among themselves in the pursuit of raw power. Rincewind redeems himself admirably here by actually performing some acts of bravery, risking his life--albeit reluctantly--for the sake of the Discworld.
The book starts out like gangbusters, and although it loses a little steam and wanders a little bit in the later stages, the conclusion brings everything together rather nicely. It does, however, leave a few questions unanswered for the time being. The character of Coin, the ten-year-old sourcerer, could have used more thrashing out, I felt, but Conina and Nigel are very interesting new characters in Pratchett's universe. Sourcery is overflowing with typical Pratchett humor, but it also features an exciting, narrowly-focused storyline that provides a wealth of new information about the wizards of Unseen University, the brave and wise banana-craving Librarian, and the crucial role and importance of magic in the Discworld. Whereas earlier novels sometimes seemed to have stories built around the jokes, this novel is built upon a solid foundation of an epic fantasy plot--the comedy is just icing on the cake. Of the first five Discworld novels, this is by far the most exciting and entertaining.
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on 17 February 2006
A terrible thing has happened. Now it's become clear why wizards should remain celibate. One wilful wizard, Ipslore the Red, in defiance of tradition, marries and has children. Sons in fact. And his eighth son, Coin, is a sourcerer (the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son = a wizard squared = very powerful magic). But surely it's not that bad - it's not the end of the world, is it? Yes, it could be. The shade of Ipslore, through his sourcerer son, instigates wizard war. Hellish, apocalyptic events are set in motion. The four horsemen are abroad. The denizens of the dungeon dimension are struggling to rise. Ice giants are tearing across the plains. The gods are imprisoned. All that stands between the discworld and armageddon, is a spineless wizard, a barbarian (hairdresser wannabe), a grocer (barbarian wannabe) and a librarian ape. It doesn't look good. You shouldn't laugh ... but you will. And guess what. Rincewind, who is very well known for his complete lack of courage and over-developed instinct for self-preservation, does the most suicidally brave thing imaginable in an effort to save his beloved university library and the world.
It's another Pratchett gem. Doctors might consider prescribing these books instead of anti-depressants for some patients. They always work for me.
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on 8 September 2015
I am reading the Discworld novels in published order, and, for me, this is probably the weakest so far. It is still very readable, with a clear narrative, lots of tangential musings, and some very funny lines. It just didn't grab me as much as the others I have read so far.
The story centres on the appearance of a sourcerer at the Unseen University, and the consequences, with Rincewind - an old friend - seemingly the only one who can save Discworld. He picks up a couple of fellow travellers along the way, before the final denouement. The story moves along at the author's usual rapid pace, but once or twice, particularly at the end, characters inexplicably change just to make the story work, which I found rather spoilt it for me.
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on 16 March 2016
I cannot believe I've reached my 40s without ever having read any Terry Pratchet. I always loved Douglas Adams and it in a similar style. I reckon that with around 40 books to go at, there's a couple of years reading material here and I'm loving it.
'Sourcery' was probably my least favourite of the 5 books so far, but its still a great read.
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on 18 October 2015
I'm not going to review the novel - it's been done many times before and enjoyed by millions. The latest edition of the hardback makes a smart display set - the paper's not that great but then who reads books these days - with everything available on tablet.... I may even sell off my first editions and just keep these
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on 2 September 2001
This book is incredibly hilarious all the way through. It uses both wit and slapstick to conjure up a very addictive read. I would definitely say that this is not one of the greatest novel ever written but is an amusing and entertaining read. Terry Pratchett manages to produce a novel true to fantasy as it hasn't an ounce of the real world in the whole of the book, and many authors manage to forget the idea of fantasy not being real. The story is all about the unwitting, and cowardly hero, Rincewind the failed Wizard who finds himself in an awkward position of having to save the world again. He is joined by several well loved old friends and you also make the acquaintance of many new characters as well. Overall this is an extremely enjoyable book that will raise the spirits of even the most moody people. It is full of laughs all the way through. It is a great book if you are not really looking for a storyline as such but more of an all round fun time.
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on 8 June 2016
Not my favourite Discworld novel, but I cannot complain on how fast this novel arrived (once again, thank you, Prime).
In terms of knowledge for this novel, readers will need to know- Actually, you could figure it out for yourselves, as people with a mad imagination could only read these, including myself, in fact. I suppose it is a bit of a sequel to Equal Rites, what with the seventh son of the seventh son and all.
Still, it is as enjoyable as any Discworld novel.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2005
Having broadened his scope with Granny Weatherwax and Death in the last couple of books, Terry Pratchett returns to original lead character Rincewind for the 5th Discworld novel. Rincewind is even more inept and cowardly than ever before, but is still a hilarious and sympathetic character, and it's nice to see the return of his homicidal sentient luggage.
Looking back at the entire series of Discworld novels before embarking on a re-reading, Sourcery was the novel I remembered least about. It turns out to be for a good reason - this book has a very simple storyline: a sourcerer tries to take over the world, Rincewind has to stop him, the end. It's not a bad book, and there's plenty of great humour, but don't expect any intricate plotting with this instalment. Re-reading the series in order it becomes clear that this novel is an expansion of some of the ideas previously used in Equal Rites - in both stories the main plot focuses on a young powerful wizard arriving at the Unseen University and putting the world at danger by their meddling with powerful magic (though this was only briefly touched on in Equal Rites due to the novel concentrating on Esk's apprenticeship), and both novels feature inherited magical staffs that watch over their young owners and drive the plot.
Sourcery is a good novel for fans of the Librarian, as he gets a substantial role for the first time, while Lord Vetenari makes his first (named) appearance. The novel breaks out of the standard Ankh-Morpork setting for a mid-book excursion to Klatch, and the introduction of Cohen's daughter Conina and inept wannabe-barbarian Nijel. It's a reasonably amusing diversion as Pratchett gets the opportunity to satirise Arabian Nights-style stories with flying carpets and genies, but ultimately the story of Nijel and Conina doesn't really have any impact on the outcome of the story. There's some good build up as we learn why the wizards laze around in the University instead of ruling the world, and some fantastic imagery as Coin transforms the University into a tower to challenge the gods, but ultimately the climax is a bit of a letdown.
With it's epic scope involving the fate of the entire Discworld and the release of the apocalyptic (or at least apocralyptic) Ice Giants, Sourcery should have more impact than it does. A light, readable, amusing book - but just a bit too basic a romp to really rank among Pratchett's finest.
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on 26 February 2015
Theses books are wonderful for teens, or younger. It introduced my lad to the delights of reading. We intend to get them all, as they aren't always in our local library, and also it's helped my lad master using an dreaded. Double win.
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on 1 August 2011
This is the 5th book in the critically acclaimed DiscWorld series and they appear to go from strength to strength. I thoroughy enjoyed books 1-4 which I read prior to this one, and now this one, Sourcery, is my new favourite (I seem to say that about all of them as I read them :-p)

DiscWorld has always had wizards from the lowest student to the 8th (highest) level, and usually they led quiet unassuming lives, avoiding contact with most of the citizens of DiscWorld. Generally speaking there is a rule that states that wizards should not have children, but one of them ignored this. He was the eighth son of an eighth son and so, naturally, was born a wizard. However, this wizard went on to have 8 children of his own, the eighth being a boy; the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son. His son, however, was not born a wizard, he was born a Sourcerer. They have not been seen since the beginning of magical time on Discworld, which was a good thing, as they were extremely powerful beings, making an eighth level wizard, including the most powerful of them, the Archancellor, nothing but a baby in comparison. The Sourceror is so powerful that he threatens the existence of DiscWorld itself - and he's only 10-years-old!! Can our inept, not even level 1 wizard, Rincewind stop him?

A vary excellent installment to the DiscWorld series.

A note on the Kindle version: Flawless! Not one typo, misprint or mis-represented letter. Neat formatting too.
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