I’ve seen a bunch of people mention they haven’t read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and that they’d like to start, but are intimidated by the 41 books he’s published in the series.

It’s a lot of books, true. And if you’re one of those people who must do things in order, they’re numbered–good luck!

This post is for everyone else. The series arcs are character-focused, so you can read one and then move onto another without missing anything. Or only read the character arcs that appeal, since there are only so many hours in a day.

Wizards: These books focus on the wizards of Unseen University, especially Rincewind, the Discworld’s worst wizard. He’s cowardly, incapable of magic, and much put upon. He’s more acted upon than active, but he has a slapstick kind of humor if that appeals. In this case, I’m more fond of the later books, which seem better developed, with more rounded characters. However, any reference to the Luggage definitely makes me smile.

color magic

Color of Magic–Ankh-Morpork has its first tourist, a man named Twoflower. And Rincewind the world’s worst wizard is charged with keeping him safe–a difficult task in a city that’s perfectly willing to kill the naive. (You’ll want to read the next one when you get to the end.)

light fantastic

Light Fantastic–A sequel that follows closely the previous book, one of the few Discworld books that does so. It’s hard to describe without spoilers, then–consider it the further misadventures of the cowardly wizard Rincewind, who would love to run away, but his troubles follow.


Sorcery–The eighth son of an eighth son is a wizard. And then that wizard has eight sons… which results in a sorcerer. Sorcerer’s are powerful and rare, and very dangerous. Discworld might not survive.


Eric–A demonologist summons a powerful demon to get three wishes. Instead, he gets Rincewind, an ineffective wizard. This does not go as he expected.

interesting times

Interesting Times–The old curse says “May your live in interesting times,” and Rincewind the wizard really wishes he wasn’t doing so. Twoflower wrote about his vacation to Ankh-Morpork, and now his home country is in turmoil. And somehow, Rincewind is supposed to fix the problem.

last continent

Last Continent–One of the wizards of Unseen University is missing from all the way on the other side of the Disc, on the continent labeled on maps as Xxxx, or Fourecks. They send a team to go find what happened, dragging along a very reluctant Rincewind.

last hero

Last Hero–Cohen the Barbarian has outlived his legend. He’s missing his teeth, and doesn’t look quite the same in his loincloth, but he’s determined to get the crew together for one last mission–to return what humans stole from the gods. But if he succeeds, he’ll  destroy the world. Rincewind plays a smaller role in this one, but is still present. Shorter, but beautifully illustrated.

unseen academicals

Unseen Academicals–The wizards at Unseen University have been lax in putting together a football team, but if they don’t do one now, they’ll lose a substantial chunk of funding. The problem is wizards aren’t usually athletic–they’ll need to use the talents of some rather peculiar university staff, and they’ll discover the game is about much more than football. This is my favorite of this series, with old favorite characters and some interesting new ones.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

11 responses »

  1. Sarah W says:

    It’s so cool that you’re doing these posts, caitlin! 😀

    These are the ones that started it all and I think you can really see Mr. Pratchett’s talent develop and his skills sharpen as he settles into this fantastic world.

    But, you know, while I love Rincewind (and Twoflower,bless him), I’m really more of a Vimes fan, with Susan Death and the Witches sharing a very close second.

    And Moist, too, of course, though I liked his first two better than the third.

  2. Marcia says:

    I’m still laughing about Fourecks and Cohen. Hahahaha. I love Pratchett’s names about as much as the stories! Okay, I’m going to start this arc. For sure. Downloading The Color of Magic today! (And yes, I’m one who needs to read in order, and actually am uncomfortable not starting with the very first book of the whole 41. But I’m realizing I have to be more selective. I guess. 😀 )

    • Marcia says:

      Hey! I just realized The Color of Magic IS #1 of the 41! Now I’m HAPPY!!! 😀

      • Marcia says:

        Hahahaha…I also just realized, I ALREADY HAVE this one downloaded!! Now I just have to make myself stop with some of the other stuff and READ it!! I’m such a doofus! Good thing I have you to remind me to do these things.

        • caitlinstern says:

          Personally, I like the later books better, but I applaud your commitment to the timeline. Good luck getting through them all!

          • Marcia says:

            What? You doubt me? Just because I’ve gone from 3-4 books a week to 1 book in 3 weeks? Darn that WRITING! It’s such a pesky time-suck! 🙂 Seriously, I plan to manage my time a lot better this year, because I have lots of books I want to read, as well as write. So I’m tossing out the housecleaning and gardening, and grocery shopping. I’m going to concentrate on reading and writing, only! Yeah. That’s my story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it. And since I had Book 1, and was in the mood to buy something, I went ahead and got Book 2. I’ll decide after I’ve read those if I want to finish up with this particular arc. I can’t imagine anything better than the Wee Free Men arc, myself, but I need something light.

            I started on Jim Butcher’s Furies of Calderon, having gotten sucked into epic fantasy through the shenanigans of Amaranth and Sicarius, and it’s NOT light. Nope. Not at all. In fact, it’s DANG HEAVY! (I’m shouting a lot tonight.)

            I plan to enjoy Pratchett between Volume 1 and 2 of Furies. And I hope Butcher is writing like a thing possessed, because I seriously need me some new Harry Dresden! I don’t know how I’ll stand the wait.

  3. Thank you so much for this post! I’m bookmarking it for future reference :).

  4. Just noticed you have intro post for the rest of Discworld, so I’m bookmarking those too. Thanks again.

    • caitlinstern says:

      If you want to start the series, I highly recommend picking a stand-alone or arc that appeals. There’s a lot of character variation, so not all will be as well liked. And, you know, it’s a lot of books!

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