Sourcery – Review

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Published in 1988

Pages: 326

Genre: Fantasy, satire

“There was a man and he had eight sons.”

While this is an impressive feat in itself for any man and his libido, it is a terrible omen in Terry Pratchett’s Sourcery. The eighth son of an eighth son of a wizard is known as a sourcerer (the intentional misspelling is due to the fact that a sourcerer is literally a “source” of powerful magic) and the one central to this story is named Coin. In order to escape the anthropomorphic manifestation of Death shortly after Coin’s birth, his father inters himself in a magical staff and proceeds to take over Unseen University through his son. Such magic hasn’t been seen on the disc since the mage wars of old and only one non-magical wizard can put a stop to it. Continue reading “Sourcery – Review”

Catch-22 – Review

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Published in 1961

Pages: 463

Genre: Satire, black comedy

“It was love at first sight.”

This is most likely not what many would expect to be the first line in a book about a group of American bombardiers in World War II; then again, this isn’t just any book about a group of American bombardiers. Chances are high that popular culture has probably imprinted the title of Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel, Catch-22, in our collective minds. Focusing on John Yossarian, an American Captain on an island in war-torn Italy who tries his hardest to stay out of the air, it is a tale of lust, violence, convoluted sentences, repetitive exchanges of dialogue, and long winded paragraphs.

Continue reading “Catch-22 – Review”

Slaughterhouse-Five – Review

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Published in 1969

Pages: 275

Genre: Satire, science fiction, dark comedy

“All this happened, more or less.”

Writers are told that the first sentence of their book should simultaneously catch the reader’s eye and set the tone for the story; Vonnegut has achieved both of these with the infamous opening line of Slaughterhouse-Five. Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist, is a man who has come unstuck in time. This doesn’t happen to him of his own accord but is simply something that does happen, will happen, and has always happened. The story of Slaughterhouse-Five flows in and out of time, can be confusing at parts, but finds its way back on course over the years of Billy’s life. Continue reading “Slaughterhouse-Five – Review”

Cat’s Cradle – Review

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Published in 1963

Pages: 270

Genre: Satire

“Call me Jonah.”

Cat’s Cradle is a story of satirical strangeness and absurd action. A man who calls himself by another name writes in retrospect regarding his research for a book about the end of the world and unwittingly finds himself present at the subject of his novel. Fraught with sarcasm and sardonic criticism of science, religion, technology, war, and many other topics, Cat’s Cradle showcases Kurt Vonnegut’s knack for the nearly nonsensical. (I need to lay off on the alliteration…yeesh)

The book begins with the narrator, John, describing his attempts to write a book about the day that the atom bomb was dropped over Hiroshima; he decides to research Dr. Felix Hoenikker, who was regarded as one of the fathers of the bomb. Through his research, Hoenikker’s strange personality and life story are revealed as John is thrust into a journey that will lead to the end of the world as we know it (If you feel inclined to listen to the R.E.M. song , go ahead. I’ll wait). Continue reading “Cat’s Cradle – Review”