Thursday, August 16, 2012

{Review} The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett
Published by HarperTorch (2000), originally published 1983
Paperback, 240 pages
ISBN 0061020710
Genres: adult fiction, adventure, fantasy, humor, magic, science fiction

Synopsis: The Color of Magic is the first book in the Discworld series, introducing the reader to Rincewind the wizard (of sorts), Twoflower the tourist, and the Discworld itself, of course, which is home to an eighth magical color, octarine. After a catastrophic fire tears through the Disc's twin cities, Ankh-Morpork, Rincewind and Twoflower are tossed into adventure after adventure involving trolls, heroes, gods, monsters, dragons, and an increasingly cranky piece of Luggage, eventually leading them to the very edge of the world.

My review: This was a fun book- a lighthearted, extremely humorous romp of a satire. Never taking itself seriously, it addresses some of the less savory bits of human nature and our world. Nothing is sacred in The Color of Magic and I think that's a bit of the point; it's certainly a book that aims to keep things in perspective for the reader.

I really like the characters, especially since Rincewind and Twoflower, the main protagonists, complement each other so well. Rincewind is cautious, a little paranoid (he has reason to be), very accident-prone, and just a little cynical. Twoflower is overly-confident, trusting, extremely optimistic, and apparently un-killable. It's amazing how a reader can identify equally with characters so diametrically opposed. I also adore the Luggage, a chest made of sapient pearwood with hundreds of little feet and a measure of sentience (not to mention a temper); it is more companion than inanimate object and has a story line all its own. There are a slew of characters and Mr. Pratchett weaves them in and out of the story so skillfully their entrances and exits don't disrupt the narrative in the least.

The tone of the novel is extremely enjoyable as it is intelligent but not superior. There is a magic about the narration that is reminiscent of children’s and YA novels, though Mr. Pratchett has here and there slipped in adult undertones (that tend to be quite funny). For so many of the incidents in this book being completely ludicrous, they come together to form a mostly coherent and very memorable story, which is about as much as anyone from Discworld can hope for.

I greatly enjoyed this book and I understand that Mr. Pratchett never intended to write a traditionally formulated story. However, the endlessly meandering nature of the narrative did, at times, slow me down and sap a little of my enthusiasm. A bit more direction would have been nice. I’ve heard, though, that a few of the wrinkles present in the first volume are ironed out later on, and Mr. Pratchett’s writing style becomes even better as the series progresses.

I would recommend The Color of Magic to just about anyone because even if they’re not already a fan of fantasy/science fiction, it’s a great introduction.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Discworld and its lovely (and not-so-lovely) inhabitants, so please leave a comment below if you are so inclined. I hope you have an awesome evening!
Mary Beth

1 comment:

  1. The style does indeed get better, and the later books are more focused. I recommend reading the second book, The Light Fantastic, to find out how the first book's story really ends. The books in the rest of the series are more free-standing and can be read in any order, though there are sub-groups that follow certain characters.


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