Posts Tagged With: wizards

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

reaper-man

Synopsis from Amazon:

DEATH IS MISSING – PRESUMED…ER…GONE.

Which leads to the kind of chaos you always get when an important public service is withdrawn.

Meanwhile, on a little farm far, far away, a tall dark stranger is turning out to be really good with a scythe. There’s a harvest to be gathered in…

This is book 11 of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series. The main character is Death. He retires. The Grey Shadows have come and told him his time is u, so he sets off to the Discworld with his horse Binky. He gets a job as a reaper man on a farm, and goes by the name of Bill Door. He works hard, makes friends by being excellent at being awful and plots a way to fight the new Death. Meanwhile, in Ankh-Morpor, there is too much life force around, bringing items to life, and preventing the dead for moving on. This causes mayhem, an attack of trollies, and wizards going mad.

I found this book to be a little bit like the first in the series, The Colour of Magic – enjoyable, but with maybe a little bit too much going on. With so many characters I sometimes struggled to remember who was who, what they doing, and why. That said, there were areas of the book that just had me laughing out loud. Pratchett’s humour is well captured in this book, as is his sense of imagination, I just found there to be too much taking place.

My favourite Discworld character, right from the start, has been Death. He is great with the one-liners, sarcasm and irony. The other character I really enjoyed in this book was the university’s Dean. I laughed so much when he started going around like a gangster, and how his catch-phrase became “Yo!”. I found myself almost crying with laughter at him.

Overall, I enjoyed this book even though there were times when I was unsure as to what was going on. The comedy in the book made up for any complaints I have. Worth reading if you like Pratchett.

7/10

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Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Synopsis from Google Books:

Discworld’s pesky alchemists are up to their old tricks again. This time, they’ve discovered how to get gold from silver — the silver screen that is. Hearing the siren call of Holy Wood is one Victor Tugelbend, a would-be wizard turned extra. He can’t sing, he can’t dance, but he can handle a sword (sort of), and now he wants to be a star. So does Theda Withel, an ambitious ingénue from a little town (where else?) you’ve probably never heard of.

But the click click of moving pictures isn’t just stirring up dreams inside Discworld. Holy Wood’s magic is drifting out into the boundaries of the universes, where raw realities, the could-have-beens, the might-bes, the never-weres, the wild ideas are beginning to ferment into a really stinky brew. It’s up to Victor and Gaspode the Wonder Dog (a star if ever one was born!) to rein in the chaos and bring order back to a starstruck Discworld. And they’re definitely not ready for their close-up!

This is the tenth book in the Discworld series, and in my opinion, one of the best, alongside Mort, which was hilarious.

In this adventure we see the creation of Moving Pictures, basically films. This is Pratchett’s take on the creation of the movie world. Set in Holy Wood, the alchemists have created something dangerous and enchanting.  People rush to Holy Wood from all over the Discworld to seek fame and fortune – but something is not right. As Victor gets drawn into the fray, him and his co-star Ginger find out the secret danger that is Holy Wood, and with the aid of Laddie and Gaspode, a talking dog, they have to save the day.

This book is incredibly funny. Pratchett is subtle and sly with his humour and mocking of Hollywood. We see the characters chasing fickle dreams and destruction. As ever, the books are engaging and exciting. There was adventure and some heart stopping moments. Pratchett does not fail to catch the imagination and like with the other books I was quickly and easily transported to the Discworld.

As in the other books, Death features. He seems to be the most regular character, and as always he made me laugh. I loved it when he was in the bar drinking, very funny. Gaspode was probably my favourite of the new characters. His dry humour and sarcasm were great reading. There were so many funny characters andstory lines in this book. I loved the troll, Rock and his aim for fame, and the troll Ditritus and how he tried to date Ruby, and I think the funniest part of the book for me was when the senior wizards were sneaking out of the university like naughty students.

This is a great book. I highly recommend it. There is action, film, adventure, love, trolls, dwarfs, talking animals, wizards and Death, alongside fire, hidden cities and Dibler, the man always out to make a fast profit. I can’t think of a complaint for this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

9/10

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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

wizardearthsea.jpg

Date of Publication: 1968

Number of Pages: 183

Synopsis (from back cover): Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed and terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.

Review: I am not a fan of fantasy or science fiction. I am, however, an enthusiastic fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, and especially The Lord of the Rings. I knew that the Earthsea saga was supposed to be similar, and it is, but happily, it is also very different. The entire population of the world lives on small islands that make up the Archipelago of Earthsea, and wizards are common, if revered, laborers. Each village, township, or great city employs one, and they are all educated on one enchanted island, Roke. Fishermen depend on wizards to help calm the weather and the sea, and even the very fish themselves. Wizards are healers and magicians. And Ged is both the most powerful and talented, and also the most prideful and, therefore, the most cursed of these wizards.

This story follows Ged’s early life, from his birth and childhood on the Gont, where is father was a smith and his aunt a petty village witch who taught him his first spells, to his education at the great wizard school on Roke, and to his great mistake of pride and his journey toward rectifying it. In a way, it is very much like The Lord of the Rings, if it had been told from Gandalf’s point of view: a powerful wizard wanders the earth, doing great things to help people, but always in pursuit of some dark mission. In another way, it reminded me of Homer’s Odyssey, in that Ged is constantly sidelined by manipulative and dark forces. All of these likenesses in fact add to the enjoyment I had in the story. Ged is a wonderfully complex hero; he is not wholly good and makes terrible mistakes that endanger the entire world. He gives in to pride, anger, and envy, and this causes his early downfall, but it also makes him a better person. The people around him either help him or hinder him, but this doesn’t make them one-dimensional. In fact, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Tombs of Atuan not just to read more about Ged, but also about his friends, Vetch, Yarrow, and Ogion, and also about his nemesis, Jasper. I recommend this book to any fan of Tolkien or C.S. Lewis…to well-read fans of fantasy and science fiction, this book will already be a favorite.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Sarah

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