on January 26, 2007
"The Light Fantastic" is the second book in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld Series. He has gone on to win the Carnegie Medal for "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" and was awarded the OBE in 1998.
"The Light Fantastic" follows on directly from "The Color of Magic", and focuses on the same two characters : Rincewind and Twoflower. Twoflower, from the Counterweight Continent, is the Discworld's first tourist and had employed Rincewind (a single-spell wizard, a native of Ankh-Morpork and a coward of some renown) as his guide. As "The Color of Magic" closed, both characters were close to Krull - Twoflower was boldly going where no tourist had gone before, while Rincewind was in a rather precarious position. (You could say "The Color of Magic" finished with a cliff-hanger). A standard wizard may have been able to save himself, but the only spell Rincewind knows came from the Octavo - the Creator's spell book, which had been carelessly left behind after the universe's completion. He doesn't know what it does, but it's so powerful that no other spell is brave enough to stay in his head. Fortunately, as the book begins, the spell realises that any harm to Rincewind may be fatal to itself - so, it contributes to Rincewind and Twoflower finding a way out of their current situations.
While "The Color of Magic" saw the two characters generally running away in random directions, there seems to be more of a point to their actions in this book. Rincewind has started suffering from homesickness and wants to return to Ankh-Morpork. His spell is also rather keen on this idea. This, Rincewind suspects, is connected to the strange new red star that has appeared in the sky - he fears it may also involve saving the world. The pair's journey back to Ankh-Morpork involves sacrificial virgins gingerbread cottages, trolls, druids and the Discworld's greatest hero - Cohen the Barbarian.
While I enjoyed this instalment more than the previous one, I'd still recommend reading "The Color of Magic" before "The Light Fantastic". This book continues the story began there, while the pair form a prelude to the seventeenth Discworld book, "Interesting Times". Pratchett's books are always very funny, while Rincewind and the Luggage are strong selling points. Definitely recommended !
on October 26, 2001
I read this book before I read The Color of Magic, which actually came before this one and serves as an introduction to some of the main characters in this book. However, that doesn't take anything away from The Light Fantastic.
Pratchett's made his Discworld books in a way that they're somehow related either by sharing the same protagonists or by happening in the same locations.
The Light Fantastic deals with the adventures of Rincewind the Wizard and Twoflower the tourist, who are being chased by the high counsil of wizards (from the Unseen University) so that the eight original spells can be said and the world can be saved. However, one of the spells is lodged in Rincewind's brain -- it got there itself, and has been trying to get said against Rincewind's wishes ever since.
Throughout the book, Rincewind and Twoflower cross their path with a large array of weird and utterly funny characters, that either help them escape or try to harm or catch them. You'll laugh your heart out with the comments of Cohen the Barbarian, or with DEATH (WHO ALWAYS SPEAKS IN UPPER CASE)...and of course, with the luggage, who still follows them everywhere they go.
I found The Light Fantastic to be a better story that The Color of Magic, but nonetheless recommend that you read both of them back-to-back.
Pratchett is the real thing...the Discworld books rock!
on December 25, 2000
Like "Godfather II" before it, "The Light Fantastic" is that rare sequel that improves upon the original. Not a difficult task here, as "The Colour of Magic" was, while being intensely imaginative, sprawling and largely unfocused. Here, Pratchett concocts a story with as much linear thrust as the strange red star that threatens to ram into the Discworld. Needless to say, the only person who can save the world is Rincewind, that scaredy-cat wizard who doesn't know any spells (well, he knows one spell... or at least he knows where to find that spell). He is cynical as ever, and funny too. Once again he is joined by the world's first tourist, Twoflower, who is an even more hyped-up innocent here than in "The Colour of Magic". I still love the relationship between these two great characters. Rincewind is in constant sarcasm mode, while Twoflower takes everything he hears at face value. There are some wonderfully comic misunderstandings between these two. Throw in Twoflower's ever-loyal Luggage, and we've got a threesome for the ages.
Once again Pratchett populates his world with ridiculous characters (Cohen the Barbarian, an 80-year old hero whose legend is in his own lifetime) and marvelous groan-worthy puns (What do you call an angry mob robbing a music store? Luters...) that make this an entertaining fantasy parody from page one. And on top of that, he throws in some neat meta-fiction too. When introducing Herrena the Henna-Haired Harridan, a warrior heroine, he implores whomever is to draw the cover of the book to resist the urge to dress her up in "something off the cover of the more advanced kind of lingerie catalogue for the specialized buyer". It just wouldn't be practical in her line of work. And the swarthy men she rides with? Well, they're going to die sooner or later, so let's not bother getting to know them. It's a wonderful moment of self-awareness.
Is it necessary to read "The Colour of Magic" before "The Light Fantastic"? I think so. If only to get a better idea of the characters, and their predispositions. And that's really what these stories are about: character. How can a pack of seemingly ordinary innocents save the world? Read on and find out...
on July 25, 2000
Please accept my title in the Pickwickian sense: I love Pratchett and consider him to be the replacement in my life for the loss of Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Douglas Adams. Why aren't Americans ever that funny?
Please forgive me, however, for being just a little heretical. I liked the characters of Rincewind and Twoflowers, was intrigued by The Luggage (I want one!), and loved Cohen the Barbarian. I DID miss the richness of the characters in the later Ankh-Morpork Pratchetts: characters such as Corporal Carrot, DEATH (I'm really not shouting), Angua, Susan Sto Helit, Commander Vimes, and The Patrician. Rincewind and Twoflower were both -- dare I say it? -- schmoes at the beginning of the book and and at the end.
I think that Pratchett has a real affinity for Ankh-Morpork, and the farther he strays from it, the less vital his stories appear. (I except SMALL GODS, which is a real tour de force.) So, bring on the Pratchetts, and let's have more of the Night Watch and Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, more trolls and golems, and lots more of that beauty spot on (or, actually, near) the Circle Sea -- Ankh-Morpork.
on April 6, 2000
If you were smart enough to read Colour of Magic (A riot) then you will be looking for more Rincewind, Luggage, and laughs. Light Fantastic is here to the Rescue answering all questions and concluding the story that started it all.
Once again Terry has collected an off-the-wall collection of humorous encounters for our heroes. Rincewind and friends must once again save the world. One of the world's eight most powerful spells is hiding in his head, and the wrong people want it. So he must call upon all his finely tuned abilities... of running away! Twoflower and the Luggage are there to help along with Diskworld's greatest warrior... who is now a ridiculously old man.
-Many people consider this one to be better than CoM... They are both awesome. End of story. However, they are both too short and should have come in one normal sized book.
-F.Y.I- The next book is Sourcery. Equal Rights was written next, but has no Rincewind and is generally not considered one of Pratchett's better works.
on February 8, 2001
After reading many, many series of books, I should know to temper my expectations until at least the second book. This would have served me well for discworld. While book one was enjoyable, it aimed primarily to set up the world and its characters. With this second volume, we see the next layer of storytelling and humor shine through.
For one, a story can actually materialize now instead of just Rincewind and Twoflower wandering around. Also, new races of characters are added in the traditional way, but in a decidedly non-Tolkein attitude. The trolls in this book in particular are very funny and very witty in their descriptions. Pratchett is starting to take the accepted boundaries of fantasy and twist them to meet his satirical needs, and it is brilliant.
The only reason for a four star review and not five is that I simply must leave room for improvement. There are something like two dozen books now, so I assume there is a smattering of fives in there somewhere.
on May 27, 2000
This was the first "Diskworld" novel I read and re-read and re-read again. The book starts with the syrup like flow of light accross a truely fantastic landscape; a flat world that sits uppon the backs of four enormas elephants whom in turn stand on the shell of the impossibley large space swimming sea turtle The Great A'Tuin.
Enter the hero, or rather antihero, Rincewind the Inept, a "wizzard" who has never performed even the slightest feat of magic, and his naive companion Twoflower, the Diskworld's first (and, hopefully, last!) tourist. They are forever followed by the Luggage, a traveling trunk with a bad attitude (and possably one of the greatest literary characters ever imanged). These three companions take us on a wild romp through the lands of the multiverse's only turtle bound world.
You have to read it to believe it. Take a trip down The Light Fantastic and see for yourself. . .
on March 2, 2002
This is yet another funny, literate entry in his discworld series. they are highly reccomended. I laughed out loud several times! Possibly not the best in the series, but certainly worth a read. Rincewind is great!
on August 27, 2001
This book is a definite improvement upon the colour of magic. The characters do get a bit more depth and shading than they had in the prior book. The way that Rincewind keeps getting drafted into these expeditions and the ending made this book worth buying for me.
on February 4, 2002
The light fantastic is the second book in the Discworld series. It follows Twoflower and Rincewind after The Colour of Magic. The plot follows a red Star bigger than A'Tuin's head.Heading for the disc.
It is the funniest book I've ever read.Great for people who are getting into the disc world series.