Book Review: The Color of Magic

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The Color of Magic
By Terry Pratchett

Not My Edition:
Paperback, 210 pages
2000, HarperTorch
ISBN: 9780061020711

From the back of the book: The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett’s maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins – with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.

What I liked:
EVERYTHING. (Yes guys, it’s another one of these gushing reviews *roll your eyes here*). I’ve had a random Discworld book on my shelf for a few years (The Wee Free Men) and I knew I wanted to start at the beginning and enter the series in some way that made a little sense, but I just never got around to it. I was sad to hear of Pratchett’s passing – despite only having read Good Omens, I knew we’d lost someone special. This was the catalyst that finally pushed me to start the Discworld series, so I grabbed book one from my library. I knew nothing going into the series, and as you can see, the blurb on this particular edition tells a prospective reader next to nothing. Having completed the book, I feel that was actually a good strategy for me – I never knew what to expect and I took the world just as Pratchett presented it to me. What fun it was!

Twoflower and Rincewind are awesome characters and compliment each other well. Twoflower is optimistic and appreciative of his new surroundings, eager to step into any situation. Rincewind is morose and moody, sarcastic and the most perfect washed-up wizard character I’ve ever read. Twoflower is constantly forcing him to blow up the boundaries of his comfort zone as they catapult from one precarious scenario to the next. The secondary cast seems to be constantly changing; yet while some characters have a good portion of the limelight and others are only mentioned for a paragraph or two, they all felt very real! I feel like I can never be sure that some minor character won’t be important in another book.

The pacing was great – the two characters hopping from scene to scene, revealing the vast and varied world of Discworld. It’s like no fantasy world I’ve ever read – the rules of the universe are unclear, and it took me a moment to realize that I don’t need to wrap my head around everything Pratchett is saying. I was trying to force some logic onto Discworld during the first few chapters and that’s not the way to read this book. I realized I need to just accept what Pratchett is telling me about his creation and not try to apply my everyday, non-magical, linear thinking human logic to it – it’s okay if I don’t immediately understand everything!

I greatly enjoyed Pratchett’s sense of humor too – I was constantly chuckling or laughing. I seriously wanted to be friends with Rincewind and I’m not sure I’ll ever find a wizard character that will trump my newfound love for him. I highlighted a couple quotes:

“The enormity of this [Rincewind’s] lie was so great that its ripples did in fact spread out of one of the lower astral planes as far as the Magical Quarter across the river, where it picked up tremendous velocity…”

“Picturesque. That was a new word to Rincewind the wizard. Quaint was another one. Picturesque meant – he decided after careful observation of the scenery that inspired Twoflower to use the word – that the landscape was horribly precipitous. Quaint, when used to describe the occasional village through which they passed, meant fever-ridden and tumbledown.”

Pro Tip: At first, I thought I would just read the series in the order that it was published. However, in doing some online research, it seems that it might be a little more linear, if I read the stories based on their character arcs. For instance, Twoflower and Rincewind have eight novels in which they are the focus (I assume). From what I understand, I should be able to read through their tales, then move on to the next bunch of characters. So that’s what I plan to do! For those of you who have yet to start on your Discworld adventure, here’s the little chart I plan to follow – from what I can tell, it’s the most up-to-date version. But if you have another method, let me know!

+ Vocabulary Alert +
coruscate – to give off or reflect light in beams or flashes
canard – a false report or story

What I didn’t like:
This book was too short! I wanted more adventures! Also, it ended on a pretty large cliffhanger, and I have some other books to read before I dive in to another Discworld book, so I’m going to be stuck with the suspense for a while! But really, I loved this book and I hope to love the rest of the books just as much.

~

In short: I cannot wait to read more of this series! I am kicking myself for waiting so long to start this series and I hope to keep it a priority in my TBR.

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