Sourcery by Terry Pratchett. ★★★1/2
Sourcery is the fifth Discworld book and stands alone from any of the others. However, it’s definitely not one I would suggest starting with. If you’re interested in Discworld, I would suggest trying Guards! Guards!, Going Postal, or Small Gods.
Sourcery is one of the weakest books, and is more reminiscent of The Light Fantastic than anything else. It follows Rincewind and the wizards of the Unseen University when a sorcerer shows up, ready to take over the world.
I guess I just don’t find the plot of this one compelling. It’s very loose and unstructured, even if it’s grand in scale. There’s also the issue of Rincewind being the only memorable character. All the other wizards up to Moving Pictures are completely forgettable and get changed every book. The odd assortment of people Rincewind ends up traveling with really aren’t that intriguing or anything more than one note characters. In fact, they don’t even really do anything.
The installment also does badly on the female character front – at the levels of the first two books in the series. Conina is the daughter of Cohen the Barbarian but actually wants to be a hairdresser. She’s a fearsome fighter due to her barbarian genes, but she’s more a joke and walking sex appeal than anything else. She’s also the only female character to speak, or even to be named, in the entire book.
Sourcery‘s saving graces? There’s a pretty good Rincewind scene near the end that serves as a very memorable moment for his character. Vetinari’s introduced. The Librarian gets a significant amount of page time. It’s also, being a Pratchett novel, reliably funny.
I’d recommend this one only to people who are already fans of the series.