Terry Pratchett’s most famous series is set in the Discworld. The flat, circular world of the Discworld novels is flat and round. It sits on four elephants that are on top of a giant star turtle. The Discworld novels cover various human issues, even though the world might look and sound very different from ours.
Hey, what are the best books about Discworld? Are you looking for a funny, witty read? Are you an avid reader? Read on for the best Discworld Books!
What Is Discworld?
The Discworld series books have a variety of characters that serve as vehicles for fantasy shrouded satires of historical and contemporary human society, and most of the best Terry Pratchett books contain standalone stories.
Terry Pratchett was a pioneer in the Discworld series. In it, 41 of his novels were set. It is pretty mind blowing to see the facts, depth, and narrative lines within his academic setting of Discworld.
The best Discworld novels are playing their part in the bigger picture. Characters cross and intertwine their stories, sometimes across multiple books. It is incredible how Terry Pratchett has managed to keep the Discworld series enthralling for so long.
As characters are occupying the Discworld, you’ll meet wizards and police officers, witches as well as golems.
The realm, which is a parody of the flat earth movement, is a disc that sits on the backs of four giant elephants. They then sit on top of a giant turtle. It is known only as of the Great A’Tuin and swims through space while carrying the world.
Everything in the Discworld is grounded within our world. This, combined with the humor of the residents, makes it more accessible than dry fantasy.
Best Discworld Book To Start With
While the list below is the standard reading order, many loyal Pratchett fans recommend that new readers start their Discworld journey with a collection. Many of the Terry Pratchett books in the series are also part of a collection or subseries that share the same theme or character story arc.
Rincewind is a wizard that appears in or is mentioned in many Discworld novels. His peers at the Unseen University mock him and ignore him because he’s so bad at being a wizard.
Sourcery: Rincewind is involved in a sinister plot to overthrow the Discworld by a dead wizard (occupying his son’s staff).
Sourcery features ice giants and gods and new dimensions which beginnings of the modern Discworld developing. In his first Discworld tale, The Color Of Magic, Rincewind also encounters The Luggage, a sentient travel box.
Terry Pratchett’s books, magic, and Ankh Morpork, also take firmer form as a tool to inspire more. Many of these factors are why I believe that Sorcery is more resilient than most people think.
The eighth Discworld novel, The first book in the City Watch series of Ankh Morpork, is the first to focus on this twin city state that lies at the center of many of the series’ events.
Guards! Guards! is a plot to overthrow Lord Ventinari and features sentient dragons and some magic. Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson is a volunteer for the Watch at six feet six inches tall raised by dwarves.
Although it lacks the city and watches more sophisticated dynamics, it is still very well paced, and the action is excellent. It is also hilarious. You can’t deny that dragons are farting! This contains all the elements necessary to create some of the most dazzling fantasy in the Discworld oeuvre. This is great stuff.
The first three books feature all Whodunnits in Ankh Morpork, while the next two are set the City Watch outside the city. Night Watch covers both.
We can travel back to the time Sam Vimes joined the force. It is the second highest rated watch series book, and it contains the first three books (Night Watch! Thud!, Snuff), which are more Sam Vimes Books than City Watch Books.
This book is a must-read for a Discworld fan. There are many origin stories and grandfather paradoxes. Carcer is a horrible and well drawn villain.
The Wee Free Men (Tiffany Aching)
Best choice to start with for younger readers
Tiffany Aching is a beautiful addition to the Discworld. There is now a cradle to grave service with a five part young adult series. It is not my favorite book because it is a young adult fiction book.
The book builds brilliantly with the Witches series, and Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle, Elves, and Chalk all interact to create an engaging story. The Wee Free Men is like other young adult fiction; it relies too heavily on one hero. But then again, a 30-year-old man isn’t a young woman.
This is the second part of a series, just like Men at Arms or Reaper Man. The Discworld enters a new golden age, with Men At Arms and Wyrd Sisters. Equal Rites’ introduction to Esmerelda Weatherwax by Equal Rites is most notable in the Discworld series.
Along with Sam Vimes, she is the most crucial cipher in the series for morality and lessons on life. Because Discworld is not only funny, but it’s also an incredibly moral show.
The Discworld books are known for their literary approach. Drawing on King Lear and Macbeth and Hamlet Wyrd Sisters is an excellent example of this. Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick, and other great female characters show how far the series has come since its fantasy pastiche days.
This is the first of Monsieur Death’s Holiday books and a great example of the genre. Some of the best set pieces are Death’s short order cooking job in a Discworld McDonalds.
Other than Death, the actual characters aren’t very memorable. Princess Keli is a cipher, and Mort is just an average, hapless teenager, but he becomes more interesting as time goes by. Ysabell starts as a whiny teenager but then seems to blossom in a matter of pages.
Death is the core of the book. He’s such a brilliant character that he can handle the entire thing by himself. You’re waiting for Death to return to all the scenes that he isn’t in.
This is the most unsubtle of Terry Pratchett’s parodies, and I love it. SPOILER ALERT: Everyone is a woman. Everybody. It’s almost like getting slapped in the face by a wet fish while another shout, isn’t sexism silly?
Pratchett has done some fantastic work with female characters and gender dynamics, such as Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, but this book nails it. It’s hilarious in a Dom Joly/Stewart Lee repetition that I enjoy, but that others find a little too much.
Death disappears. It happens again. This is my third age in Discworld. What do you do if your main plot has been used twice? Unfortunately, Soul Music is no exception.
You get great stories from Soul Music to The Fifth Elephant; you get some great stories and additions to Discworld lore, but it doesn’t get any more innovative until The Truth.
This book tells the story of Death. All books feature Death. The Death of Mort and Ysabel is a complicated piece of writing. However, it doesn’t change that everything going haywire and death disappearing has been done before in Reaper Man. Death is still a great character, and even his work as a cook in a cafe is hilarious.
Men at Arms
As you can see, I spend a lot of my time on the Ankh Morpork City Watch. Men At Arms is where they peak. This standalone novel is where Sam Vimes develops as a character.
It teaches us about the Boots theory and confronts a mad, devious antagonist. This book is not about Sam Vimes as some of the earlier books suggested. It also focuses on the entire Watch.
There are too many highlights, so it’s hard to pick just a few highlights. Still, the book features the socio-economic theory and unfairness of Gaspode, Gaspode, the wonder dog who can point a gonne at anyone, and Vetinari manipulating city residents and guilds to keep it ticking.
This may have been an accident, but Guards made it so! Guards! Something like The Truth, not to mention Raising Steam was inevitable.
This book, which is about the history of a free press, only adds to the atmosphere of urban life in early modern times. Journalism is an ideal place for humor, and this book does it brilliantly.
The Truth is my first taste of the second golden age of Discworld books. Instead of repeating Soul Music and Feet of Clay, you get real innovation. The Truth, The Amazing Maurice, Night Watch, The Wee Free Men are all new departures for the Discworld.
It’s hard to know where to begin. It’s right in the middle of the golden era of Discworld, and it’s not very entertaining. Eric’s parody is not like later parodies such as The Phantom of the Opera or Midsummer Night’s Dream. Faust is a classic tale, but it lacks the Pratchett flair. Rincewind books usually have a lot of interesting characters, but this book lacks that.
Going Postal is another book that follows the Ankh Morpork style of slow ooze. The contemporary era features the diversion and debut of a new character. Moist von Lipwig, a charming chancer, is like many Terry Pratchett characters who come to heroism reluctantly.
Going Postal brought back memories of Neil Gaiman quote about Terry Pratchett, “He’s no jolly.” This book shows that Pratchett is angry. It’s not the only example of righteous anger, but it’s one of the best ones.
Perhaps my favorite book. Put. As a first step into the Discworld, Small Gods is the book that I always recommend. It is a meditation on religion and personal morality and the dangers and prospects for progress, faith, and good deeds. It’s also quite funny.
Terry Pratchett’s anticlericalism is a constant theme in Discworld. However, this book manages both to be compassionate towards religion and utterly scathing. It’s also highly complete, despite Pratchett not having spent 12 books building it up.
The first post Rincewind book introduces a decent female character. This is something that was missing in the previous two books. The world building in The Colour of Magic is a bit off kilter, especially the fight between Esme & the Archchancellor. The interaction between a grumpy witch and a precocious little child is excellent.
Sometimes setting up things in a new place indicates that a writer is running out of ideas. However, this is not the case with Witches Abroad. Pratchett’s love for narrative and stories is again the heart of the plot.
The fairy tale is the key element of the plot. The Abroad section is where the majority of the humor comes from. It involves sending up foreigners with their humorous ways, but most Brits with their terrible habits abroad.
This is also where Esme Weatherwax grows as a powerful and good witch (but not excellent). Nanny Ogg remains the same as she always was, making it easy to make jokes about national stereotypes, especially those involving Brits abroad.
Carpe Jugulum is a book I have always loved. This is the last Witches book before Tiffany Aching takes center stage. Granny Weatherwax overcomes her greatest challenge and finds a way to make tea.
It is more entertaining than surpasses Witches Abroad and Lords and Ladies and Maskerade, for me. Later Discworld books continue to explore the fascinating theme of the Magpyr Vampire families and their struggle with modernity.
Making Money the second novel by Moist von Lipwig. With the introduction of modern banking, Ankh Morpork continues to develop. The plot is not the same as Going Postal.
Its publication at a time when the world economy was in decline makes it timely. And there is magic about money. Fiat currency is strange.
The characters are less three dimensional, and the dialogue is slicker. This is part of the decline in the Discworld. However, it’s still quite entertaining.
Thud is my favorite! This is the starting point of decline for later Discworld novels. Vimes is heroic to Pratchett and the residents of Ankh Morpork. Thud makes Vimes the Allman! This is much to the detriment of both the series’ character and the character.
While treating fantasy conflict as geopolitics is an innovative approach, the use of religious fundamentalists for moving things along is not very effective. Mr. Shine is a powerful and optimistic political slogan. However, it’s challenging to convey the optimism that only a troll can feel for his king through such a simple measure.
Another one of the later Discworld books. Brilliant ideas save the weaker writing. What if Ned Simnel’s combine harvester had worked? What if the Discworld had both mechanical and magical power?
It was amazing to see how the railways were built and funded. The Discworld is still at this stage with its multi novel subplot of dwarfish religious extremists opposing advancement and geopolitical turmoil.
The Last Hero
Is it a novel? Is this a graphic novel? A graphic novel? It doesn’t matter. It’s the end of Rincewind’s story. He is joined by Leonard, Captain Carrot, and the Librarian to try and stop the destruction of the planet.
Cohen’s Silver Horde overthrows the Agatean Empire using cunning, violence, and guile. Pratchett seems to be on the weaker ground, sending up cultures and industries he doesn’t know. (Compare Moving Pictures to The Truth).
This lacks the punch of Jingo and Monstrous Regiment as a send up of tyrannical excess. While it’s still enormously enjoyable to read and you root for Cohen and his Horde, I found myself rereading the book and realizing how dependent Rincewind’s books are on other characters than Rincewind.
Pratchett villains are often described as an archetype: They are mad but in a usual way. You might describe them as having been through madness and come out the other side. Jonathan Teatime, pronounced Teh’ah time, is one such.
The first book in the series industrial revolution examines the movie industry. Holywood or Hollywood is a target for satires, but not for fantasy authors.
Making Hollywood magic magical is not an easy task. The comic masterstrokes of Gaspode, Detritus, and a man so lazy that he stays in perfect shape are all hilarious, but the novel’s conclusion is a little anti climactic.
To stop a war, the City Watch leaves Ankh Morpork. Pratchett is an excellent liberal, and the anti Jingoism, as well as general frustration at war’s idiocy, shine through.
It works well in the dual story that is common to all Discworld books. Sam Vimes tries to solve a crime, while Nobby and Colon, Vetinari, Leonardo da Quirm sneak around in a submarine. Vimes Klatchian is the perfect foil to his Ankh Morpork failures.
Terry Pratchett had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was having difficulty writing alone. The book is longer than any other Discworld book. It is much more challenging to write something shorter than something more extended, as every writer knows.
The book has a lot to love, from the introduction of Constable Sweeney to the Goblins. There are also many things to dislike: Wilikins, who Jingo doesn’t easily recognize, and the local magistrates are cartoonish. But Terry and Sam were able to enjoy one more holiday together.
Thief of Time
The Auditors of Reality are up against Death once more. His granddaughter is also involved the Death of Rats. Great characters meet a vaguely autistic clockmaker and an auditor who is slowly losing her mind. It is exciting and funny to see the gradual destruction of beings of pure reasoning by simple human experiences.
The listening monks are given a chance. The conclusion is better than the setup. Unfortunately, this is one of the difficulties of writing books that don’t know where they are going.
If you are looking for the best order for Discworld reading, reading more about Best Suggested Terry Pratchett Discworld Reading Order [Best Update 2023].
Other Best Discworld Novels Considered.
- Lords and Ladies
- The Light Fantastic
- The Colour of Magic
What is the Discworld series?
The Discworld series is a collection of comedic fantasy novels written by Terry Pratchett, set on a flat, disc-shaped world that rests on the backs of four elephants standing on a giant turtle.
How many books are in the Discworld series?
There are 41 books in the Discworld series.
Who are the main characters in the Discworld series?
The series features many recurring characters, including:
- Rincewind: a failed wizard who is the protagonist of several books.
- Death: a personification of death who is a recurring character in many books.
- Granny Weatherwax: a powerful witch and one of the main characters in the “Witches” sub-series.
- Sam Vimes: a city watchman and one of the main characters in the “City Watch” sub-series.
- Moist von Lipwig: a con artist turned postal worker who is the protagonist of “Going Postal” and “Making Money”.
What is the tone of the Discworld series?
The Discworld series is a comedic fantasy series with a distinctive tone that combines humor, satire, and social commentary.
The Discworld books by Terry Pratchett are largely chapter-less. This means they are continuous streams that Pratchett has broken up only by ellipses. It amazes me how the author manages to make it all work seamlessly.
He tells the story endlessly, and there is always more around the bend of every paragraph. We hope that the book list above will provide you with some helpful information about the Discworld novels.
If you want to read more about the Discworld, don’t forget to visit our trivia section for loads of interesting facts!
Last update on 2023-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API