Tana's Reviews > Eric

Eric by Terry Pratchett
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's review
Dec 13, 10

did not like it
bookshelves: humor-and-satire
Read in October, 2010

Oh, Eric. Where do I even begin?

Even though it’s probably the shortest Discworld novel (197 pages in large font), it took me weeks to read. This might have had something to do with the obscene amount of schoolwork my teachers decided to heap on me at the time, but usually I will willingly give up homework, television and social life for a new Pratchett book, and I will do it with a grateful and reverent smile on my face.

This one, however . . . not so much.

For one thing I think I may be the only person on the planet who just doesn’t like Rincewind. No, that’s not true. I hate Rincewind. Some of his books are good -- The Light Fantastic and Interesting Times -- but as for the wizard himself, I would happily drown him. And in Eric, there is no escape from Rincewind. No scene-stealing side characters like Twoflower or Cohen the Barbarian. No interesting subplots. Nothing. Just page after page of Rincewind and Eric – who really seems to be more of an unthinking automaton than Hex himself – tramping from one LOL RANDUM adventure to another.

That sense of randomness is probably my biggest complaint about the book. From beginning to end, Eric is just . . . sloppy. It feels less like a coherent novel than a collection of scrapped ideas and plot points that didn't fit anywhere else.

Case in point: Hell. In Eric hell is a nightmare, all right – as uselessly bureaucratic as any government agency. However, as funny as the idea may be, the humor is somewhat spoiled by the fact that the scenes in hell invariably feel like hastily-revised outtakes from Good Omens. They don’t fit.

Nothing in Eric fits. Other than the presence of a few recurring characters, it bears little resemblance to the other Discworld novels, which is especially odd considering it's the ninth book in the series. It baffles and distresses me that something like this could come after a novel like Guards! Guards! or Wyrd Sisters. The book is for the most part unnecessary filler; as far as I can tell the only purpose it serves is to bring Rincewind back from the Dungeon Dimensions, which might easily have been handled with an extra paragraph or two in Interesting Times.

Unless you happen to be a hardcore Pratchett fan desperate to read anything new by him, I would recommend skipping this one. Definitely don’t start with it. And for God’s sake, someone shut up the damn parrot already.
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