The Light Fantastic, the second Discworld book is effectively the second part of the first book, The Colour of Magic and picks up directly after the events that occurred then. This would be the only Discworld book to do this!
Be warned this review will contain spoilers for The Colour of Magic & The Light Fantastic.
So at the end of The Colour of Magic, Rincewind has fallen off the edge of the Disc seemingly to his death. However the failed Wizzard (his spelling, not mine) is saved by the Octavo, the magic book that stored the eight most powerful spells in the Disc. It saves him because it wants the spell back that is currently lodged inside Rincewind’s head.
If you remember, the reason why Rincewind is a failed wizard is because when he was a student at the Unseen University he was dared to look inside the Octavo. One of the spells jumped into his head and no other spell has dared take residence inside since.
Rincewind, rather then falling to his doom, instead lands in an unknown part of the Disc. Meanwhile back at the Unseen University there is concern about a giant red star that seems to be heading straight towards Great A’Tuin (the turtle that holds the elephants that hold the Disc). They summon Death using the Rite of AshkEnte and discover that the Disc will be destroyed unless all eight spells of the Octavo are said.
Needing Rincewind, several orders of wizards set out to find him (with quite amusing results) led by Trymon who has a more sinister plan for the spells.
The Light Fantastic is the earliest of the Discworld books that start to really show off the excellent wit of Terry Pratchett. It also introduced several characters that would reappear in later books. Twoflower makes a return, meeting up with Rincewind again but this time they’re joined by Cohen the Barbarian (getting on in his years), a character that is much loved by Discworld fans.
Continuing the theme of The Colour of Magic, Rincewind and Twoflower journey all over the Disc as well as entering Death’s Domain where they meet the bony ones adopted human daughter, Ysabell. She will also reappear in a later book but a lot less ‘psychotic’, or maybe that should read…a different kind of psychotic.
Like most of Pratchett’s early Discworld books this one also focuses on the ‘Dungeon Dimensions’. Horrible creatures that live in between the worlds just waiting for a chance to escape into reality. Here they get their chance through Trymon and it results in Rincewind having to be a bit more heroic then he is used too.
The big reveal surrounding the red star at the end of the book is a nice touch and reminder of just how fantastical the Disc actually is. A touching final few pages really hit home just how close Twoflower and Rincewind have become over the course of two books. That we would have to wait until Interesting Times (Book 17!) to see the pair reunited shows the strength in characters Terry Pratchett has created.
This also the start of a very amusing and long relationship between the Disc’s worst wizard and his homicidal luggage!
The Light Fantastic is a great book, one that improves on a number of things & sets up the future of the series perfectly.
The Light Fantastic