In the thirteenth part ofÂ The Last Continent, Ponder discovers his destiny; the wizards escape; Rincewind does a lot of gross things. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to readÂ Discworld.Â
So. Iâ€™m now more than 60% of the way throughÂ The Last Continent, and I still donâ€™t know whatâ€™s happening. That sounds like an exaggeration when I read it, and I want to be careful to make sure this doesnâ€™t sound like I hate it. Itâ€™s a lot of fun to read out loud; the book is more like a collection of humorous vignettes than the rest of theÂ DiscworldÂ books. At the same time, I feel impatient while readingÂ The Last Continent. Thatâ€™s a strange thing to admit becauseâ€¦ well, itâ€™s my fault Iâ€™m reading this in 20-page spurts, you know? I CANâ€™T BLAME ANYONE BUT MYSELF.
I worried that this might just be a Rincewind problem, but you know what? As much as I dislikedÂ Interesting Times, at least there WAS a gradually building plot within it. Here, the wizards are now barely away from Mono Island and, as I predicted, Pratchett found a way to get Ponder Stibbons back with the rest of the wizards, eliminating any real, lasting change for this character. (Again: for now. I will take this back if itâ€™s leading to something else.) I feel like Iâ€™ve been stuck on this island or with Rincewind suffering in the desert for a long, long time, and thereâ€™s nothing in the text yet to give me a hint how this is all going to come together.
Usually, Pratchett drops hints along the way. He pushes his characters from one dramatic scene to another and demonstrates how theyâ€™d react to it. Here, though, I get the sense that both Rincewind and the wizards are moving from one joke to another, not one plot point to another. Granted, I have no interest in the wizards obsessing over Mrs. Whitlow. Unless it was from her perspective, I just wasnâ€™t going to be entertained by that. I was amused by the gag where Rincewind made a sheep-stealer take off in terror while he was searching for water, but what does this all mean? Is this his means into Bugarup?
Probably. But I still have no clue what anyone is supposed to be doing. Thereâ€™s a part of me that wonders if this is the whole parody element: what if Rincewind is forced on a quest without knowing his purpose until the very end? Thatâ€™s amusing, I suppose, but as the reader, Iâ€™m getting frustrated thatÂ IÂ still donâ€™t know what Rincewind is supposed to do, why itâ€™s truly important, and how the wizards end up imprinted through time. Thatâ€™s a lot of information to keep from the reader for this long, you know?
I want to believe that this will all come together by the finale, and I also have to accept that the nature of Mark Reads means that sometimes, I will be reading books in a way that breaks them up oddly. Still, I will admit to appreciating that the God of Evolutionâ€™s most perfect creature is a cockroach. I should have seen that one coming.
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