The Light Fantastic–Terry Pratchett

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As you may have heard, Terry Pratchett died recently. This is a sadness to fantasy readers everywhere because he was a versatile and prolific writer who brought countless hours of enjoyment to the world.

In respect to that, I think it might be time to start working on the reviews of the Discworld books. I haven’t finished this series (it’s a LONG series) but I have read some.

The Light Fantastic is the second of the Discworld books and it features Rincewind and the Luggage, both of whom we met in the first book. At the end of the first book they were being hurled off the edge of the world but they’re saved and brought back for this book.

This time the world is headed for a collision with a massive star that would theoretically kill everything, and only by reciting the 8 most powerful spells can the world be saved. Of course, as we learned last time, Rincewind has one of those spells in his head following some unpleasantness when he was at wizard school. He’s being hunted by people who want the spell out of his head.

These books are characterized by their fast pace and utter absurdity. They are clever and sharp-witted. I always recommend them although in the interests of total honesty I have to admit that the Rincewind books are not my favorites. I think I’m a minority opinion on that front, though, so don’t let that stop you.

It’s worth noting that the Discworld books are not really a cohesive series. They have several storylines that are treated separately in different book arcs over the course of the series. In other worlds, you can skip books and read books in a specific storyline without causing yourself any issues. I have found a site that will help you if that’s what you’re planning to do. Here you go.

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The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches–Alan Bradley

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This is part of the Flavia de Luce series, which is lovely. The detective is an 11 year old girl with a love of chemistry and the series is set in 1950s England.

An ongoing theme throughout these books has been the effect of the loss of their mother in a mountain climbing accident when Flavia was just a baby.

At the end of the previous book, Flavia’s mother had been found. The implication was that perhaps she’d survived the accident, but no. Not so much.

This book has far less traditional mystery elements. There is a suspicious death, on the train platform when the body returns home ceremoniously, and a mysterious comment from Winston Churchill, attending the body home, but the main thrust of this book is unravelling the mystery of Harriet de Luce. Was she a spy during the war? Why did she leave her newborn to go mountain climbing?

These books are completely charming and I highly recommend them but I do not recommend starting here. Go back and read the first one, “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.” I would be truly surprised if you don’t get hooked on these.

I feel like I should write more here but there’s not much more I can say without revealing plot elements. Sorry!