With all apologies to Rusty, my opinion can be summed up in a single onomatopoeia: ho-hum.
This book starts off the Discworld series, which seems to be Pratchett’s bread and butter, and is based on the premise of a flat, disc-like world born on the back of a giant turtle. It’s an interesting enough concept, but the fantasy world that Pratchett creates upon said world is little more than an uninspired derivation of every other fantasy world that’s ever been made.
Featuring a ragtag bunch of wizards, swordsmen, thieves, and all those sorts of characters requisite to the typical scifi/fantasy novel, this first novel centers around a wizard who only knows one spell and a rich, four-eyed tourist with a magical box made out of pearwood. It’s kooky, but not in a particularly endearing way. Instead, the setup strikes me as arbitrary and not at conducive to decent setting.
My views here may be biased, because I am not a particularly devoted reader of fantasy, but I do manage to enjoy most of Alan Dean Foster’s stuff, so it’s not as though I am automatically turned off of a novel because of strange characters or setups. I just found Pratchett’s insouciance toward clarity of prose to be irritating: parodies of longstanding genres are necessarily well-executed, and this book isn’t: it’s just plain mediocre. Actually, it’s impossible to tell whether Pratchett is aiming for parody or not. It’s so inconsistent, parts good and others miserable, that it’s a true chore to read.
At just over 200 pages, it didn’t consume a large chunk of my life, but it’s a chunk I’ll never get back.