Sourcery: Wizardry vs. Sourcery

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Sourcery begins as Ipslore the Red is about to die — or, more accurately — it begins as Death is coming to collect Ipslore’s soul. Wizards can see Death, so some plan to negotiate terms before departing.

Ipslore is an eighth son and a wizard. Banished from Unseen University for marrying and having children, Ipslore manages to create a magic staff for his own eighth son, a newborn he has named Coin, just before he dies. Coin, being the eighth son of an eighth son, is not just a wizard — he’s a sourcerer. And instead of dying, Ipslore transfers his being into the staff, cheating Death, so that he can guide Coin’s destiny.

What’s the difference between a sourcerer and a wizard? It’s not that sourcerers are more powerful than wizards so much as wizards are not particularly powerful at all. Sourcerers are powerful like gods. According to the L... Read More

Phoenix: A turning point in Vlad’s story

Phoenix by Steven Brust

Phoenix, the fifth novel in Steven Brust’s VLAD TALTOS series, is a turning point in Vlad’s story. By the end of this book, his life will have changed drastically. The story begins as Vlad is stuck in a situation that he might not be able to get out of alive. In desperation, he calls on Verra, his patron goddess, for help. She saves him (or so it appears), and in return she demands that he sail to the island kingdom of Greenaere and assassinate its king. Vlad can’t refuse, and so he goes. This sets off a series of events that eventually lead to a Teckla revolution in Adrilankha. During all the turmoil, both Vlad and his wife Cawti, a member of a rebel group, are captured and rescued more than once, and both have reason to believe they don’t have much longer to live. The usual crew is there to help, though, including Kragar (Vlad’s assistant), Loiosh and Rocza (his jhere... Read More

The Wizard’s Dilemma: One of the stronger in a strong series

The Wizard's Dilemma by Diane Duane

The Wizard's Dilemma continues the story of Nita and Kit, young wizards at work. If you haven't read the others, you should. Though one could get through this and the others without prior knowledge, lack of background knowledge robs the reader of the full impact of the story.

The Wizard's Dilemma is a darker, more personal book than the previous ones, which is made quickly clear when Nita's mother is diagnosed with cancer. As one might expect, Nita turns to wizardry for a solution (as does Dairine). And as one might expect from Duane's nuanced and depth-ridden series, the solution is nowhere so easy.

While Nita learns more about the necessary skills and knowledge via test runs in various "practice universes", Kit is off in his own universe, literally. Or, to be more precise at the start, his dog's universe (filled with thousands ... Read More