The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Book Review)

The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett (the first novel in the Discworld series)

What It’s About: (via Amazon)
Imagine, if you will . . .

a flat world sitting on the backs of four elephants who hurtle through space balanced on a giant turtle. In truth, the Discworld is not so different from our own. Yet, at the same time, very different . . . but not so much.

In this, the maiden voyage through Terry Pratchett’s divinely and recognizably twisted alternate dimension, the well-meaning but remarkably inept wizard Rincewind encounters something hitherto unknown in the Discworld: a tourist! Twoflower has arrived, Luggage by his side, to take in the sights and, unfortunately, has cast his lot with a most inappropriate tour guide—a decision that could result in Twoflower’s becoming not only Discworld’s first visitor from elsewhere . . . but quite possibly, portentously, its very last. And, of course, he’s brought Luggage along, which has a mind of its own. And teeth.

My Thoughts:

This book got second place in my poll asking which book I should read next (I reviewed the winner, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, HERE). I really liked The Colour Of Magic! I far preferred it to Neverwhere. This is my very first Terry Pratchett book – I’d been wanting to check his stuff out for a long time but really didn’t know where to start. Maybe I was too ambitious in deciding to start with the first Discworld novel… I didn’t know there were 41 in the series!  Maybe I’ll read one each year. Yep, that’s my new goal. And if I make it to book 41, it’ll mean I’ve lived to a pretty ripe old age! 

This book, published in 1983, is a comic fantasy. I’m a big fan of the fantasy of The Lord Of The Rings novels and my all-time favorite book is comic sci-fi (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) so checking out a comic fantasy really appealed to me. It isn’t laugh-out-loud funny like Hitchhiker’s but I loved the subtle humor. The characters of the pessimistic only-knows-one-spell wizard Rincewind and the childlike & always optimistic tourist Twoflower are fantastic and work so well together. I hope they’re together in a lot of the other books? I see only some are “Rincewind” tales. Then, of course, there’s Twoflower’s violent & overprotective chest of luggage and his strange talking camera. 

This bizarre cast of characters, along with the many more they meet on their journey, are what truly make this book so hugely enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong – the story is fun but even the best story won’t hold my interest if the characters are dull. It’s not a very long book but the characters are so richly developed that I know, even if I take some time in getting to the next book, that I’ll easily remember the small details & characteristics of even the lesser people, animals, creatures & anthropomorphic furniture we only meet very briefly. Rincewind is the most straightforward & least bizarre of those in the book but he’s also the very best – he’s one of those characters you feel like you actually know after reading the book. This may only be my first Pratchett novel but I can already see why his books are so popular. I’m certainly eager to read more Rincewind tales and also to meet other crazy characters created in the mind of Terry Pratchett. 

My Rating: 4/5

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17 thoughts on “The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Book Review)

  1. As I was reading I made the correlation to Hitchhiker’s Guide, then you mentioned it later in the review. I did like Hitchhiker’s… so I may like this too. I’ll have to put it on my list 🙂

    • Yeah, you might like this one too if you liked Hitchhiker’s! I thought this one was fun. A lot of what I hear is that this series gets better & funnier so I’ll try to read some more of them. : )

  2. Pratchett suffered from Alzheimer’s and it’s been speculated that Neil Gaiman wrote most of the final books in the series. Pratchett died in March 2015. The last, Raising Steam (#40), was reportedly written by his daughter. You can easily tell that Pratchett didn’t have much influence in the writing. I’ve read the entire series and my favorite is #33 Going Postal. Overall it’s a fun series with a lot of satire along the way.

    • Yeah, that’s too bad as I certainly liked this quite a lot more than the Gaiman book I read. Wow – you actually read them all?! Hmm. I may be 75 by the time I read #33 but I’ll give the rest a go! ; )

    • Yeah…. I really doubt I’ll manage to read all in this series! Yikes. But this is a pretty short one & works perfectly well as a standalone book if you want to try one of his. : )

  3. Terry Pratchett is hilarious. The books vary in quality but I enjoyed all the ones I have read at random times over the years. Interesting Times is probably my favourite.

  4. The great thing about reading these books in order the first time through is that you see the progression and development of the writer. Reading the later books and then some the early books is a bit more of a shock. Once you read them in order, it is fun to put them together by the sub sets and you get several, shorter, series of books. One of my favorite authors and I’m still so sad he is gone and we will never have any new Discworld books.

    • Yeah, I think I’ll definitely read them in publication date order as I’d get too confused on the proper order otherwise! I think it will be many many years before I finish these, though… I did really enjoy this book so I’ll read more eventually for sure. I’m looking forward to the ones involving Rincewind. : )

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  6. Many, many years since I read this, though I remember enjoying it a lot. I tried to read all the Discworld books in order, but I only made it to about the 4th (entirely my own fault). If I remember rightly, the second book is basically Part Two of Colour of Magic.

    Talking of Pratchett & Gaiman, the book they wrote together, Good Omens, was my absolute favourite for a while. It’s about “the birth of the son of Satan and the coming of the End Times”, but it’s funny!

    • Well, I hope to make it to at least book four but I know it’ll take me ages. The second book sounds promising – I definitely want more stories with the same characters. Yeah, I’m curious about Good Omens. I prefer Pratchett to Gaiman so am hoping it has more of his touch. I’ll read that one someday as well! I think I need to renew my library card… : )

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