Bibliophile reviews The Last Continent: by Terry Pratchett

Year published: 1998
Genre: Fantasy

Because Euro Crime requested it, her is a review of a Discworld book I reread in December:

Disclaimer: I am a Pratchett fan and have read all the Discworld books, so this review is based on a comparison with the other books in the series, as well as my knowledge of literature in general. It may also be a bit biased.

The Story: The Librarian of Unseen University, the Discworld’s premier college of magic, is suffering from a virulent form of the flu that causes him to change shape every time he sneezes. In order to cure him, the other wizards need to know his real name, which is a bit difficult as he was changed into an orangutan years before and has worked very diligently at destroying every clue as to his real name to avoid being turned back into a human. The wizards think Rincewind may know the answer, but he is stuck on the continent of Foureks, which is possibly what our world’s Australia might be if transported onto the flat and magical world of the Disc. While trying to find a wizard who can find Rincewind, the wizards stumble on a wormhole that leads to a rather unusual tropical island. It is not until they are stuck on the island in the company of the university’s housekeeper, Mrs. Witlow, that they discover that they have gone back into the distant past. They stumble across a God who helps them get off the island in a highly unconventional and dangerous “boat”, and they set off to find Foureks. Meanwhile, Rincewind is on the run on said continent, first from general danger, then from a Creator who insists that he is the only person who can fix the problems of the country, and then from the Watch, who want to hang him for sheep-stealing. Will Rincewind save the day and bring rain? Will the wizards find Foureks? Read it and find out.

Technique and plot: Rincewind is the protagonist of one of four sub-series within the Discworld series. Of the four series, the Rincewind books are the most frivolous and parodic. As the other series have become darker and more serious and the humour deeper, the Rincewind books (along with some of the early standalone books) have become the comic relief of the series. This is not to say the other series are not funny, but the humour tends to be deeper and darker than in the Rincewind books.
The narrative is Pratchett’s usual chaotic mixture of plots (only two this time) that at some point you know are going to come together, you just don’t know when. The Rincewind plot is, for most of the story, a series of sketches, while the plot with the wizards is more coherent.

Rating: Of the Rincewind books this one and The Last Hero are probably my favourites, but in relation to the other books (and considering that Rincwwind is my least favourite regular character) in the series I can only give this one 3+ stars.


palo-girl said…
i didnt read that one, but i did read 'the last hero'
wow i LOVED it. terry pratchett never fails to crack me up!
Bibliophile said…
The Last Hero is not only a good story in itself, but it is greatly enhanced by Paul Kidby's wonderful artwork.
Euro Crime said…
Thank you for the review. I loved this book. Did the Luggage reappear? I can't remember now but I must read some more Pratchett one of these days...
Bibliophile said…
The Luggage appears - eventually. I don't think the Rincewind books would not be half as funny without the Luggage.

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