BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Eric is Pratchett’s novel parodying the classic tale of Faust.
PROS: Some amusing bits
CONS: Not as funny as other books, very short book.
BOTTOM LINE: Aside from continuing the adventures of everyone’s favorite Wizzard, Eric just doesn’t hold up compared to other Discworld books.
It’s been a long time since I last read Eric, and I didn’t really remember much about the story. That’s probably because it’s not one of his better efforts. Still, being Pratchett, it has some funny bits and some good characters which raise it, slightly, above mediocre.
Eric is a retelling of the classic tale of Faust. In this case, Eric plays the part of Faust, while Rincewind plays the part of Mephistopholese. You have to feel sorry for anyone who tries to summon a demon to make a deal with and gets Rincewind instead. As you can imagine, all sorts of bad things then occur. Unfortunately, the book feels like Pratchett only had a few ideas to work with and, as a result, it’s very short and not up to par with other Discworld novels. That’s not to say there aren’t some good aspects to the book, there are. Some of the more memorable characters, aside from Rincewind, are Cohen’s daughter, Death (of course), Eric’s parrot (“Wossname!”) and the great god Quezovercoatl.
Pratchett also manages to make Hell (the fire and brimstone one) into a place of true nightmares (one of endless beauracratic protocols and vacation slideshows). He even manages to give a typical Pratchett-ian view on the birth of the Discworld universe, complete with a Slartibartfast-like creator. These areas go a long way to making Eric a fun read, but they can’t manage it on their own.
The book itself just doesn’t seem to hang together very well. I’ve read that it was supposed to be a graphic novel, but was later made into novel. I think a graphic novel would have been better given the lack of material to make a full fledged book out of.
Still, a mediocre Pratchett book is better than any Jordan door stopper novel. You should read this book, just not at the expense of other, better, Discworld novels.
(See the full Pratchett Reading Table for all Discworld reviews.)