April 13, 2013

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Title: The Color of Magic
Author: Pratchett, Terry
First published: 1983
Add it: Goodreads, The Book Depository

Goodreads description:
On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious buy inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet...

The fact that I am putting a plot description from Goodreads here instead of writing it myself means that I'm not particularly inspired to write about this book. The reason is that Pratchett's humor is just not my kind of humor. I know a lot of people who adore his books, so I expected quite a lot from The Color of Magic, but I wasn't impressed at all. While reading, I noticed all the places where the narrative is supposed to be funny, I understood why, but for me it was not, that's all. It is written on my cover that Pratchett is a mixture of Jerome K. Jerome and Tolkien, but I think he is not even near any of them. 

Another problem is that I didn't care for the main characters at all. I didn't like any of them, except probably the Luggage, which is rather cute. The Discworld is quite authentic, with its peculiar geography and physics, but without some likable characters it loses its charm. Whatever happens to them, the reader is sure that somehow (probably in the most improbable way) they will be saved. Besides, all the action scenes look like some D&D log and are not very convincing. 

So this book was quite a disappointment, and I don't think I'll read more from the Discworld series. Sorry, all Pratchett fans! :)


  1. No no no wait wait! Don't judge Pratchett by The Color of Magic. It is pretty terrible, really, and no one should read it first. It is best to move further into the series and read a later installment: Wyrd Sisters, Mort, Nightwatch, or Hogfather, for example. Discworld changes quite a bit over time and the newer books bear little resemblance to the earlier ones.

    Or, do something completely different and read Good Omens. That's a great book. :)

    Pratchett might well not be your cup of tea, but The Color of Magic is a rotten way to figure that out.

    1. Well, your advocacy makes me less resolute to abandon the series. My colleague has lent me Wyrd Sisters, so I'll probably try to read it instead of just giving it back to him. I always try to start with the first book, as it is usually also the best. But is you say that it is not so in this case, I believe you ;)

      Good Omens is on my to read list, but because of Gaiman :) So I'll get to it sooner or later :)

    2. Ummmm . . . lesson learned. Read other people's responses before writing one of my own. I could have just as easily replied "What she said only try either one with the witches or DEATH." I really like DEATH. The character in the novels, I mean, not the other thing.

    3. Well, two very similar opinions from two different people is actually not 2 but 4 times more convincing :)

  2. Oh you can't judge Discworld by this book. No no no. Find of the books where DEATH is the main characters or one where the witches are and you'll have more fun with the books, I'm sure. Unless you don't like Monty Python or Simon Pegg and his crew because I think humor is definitely niche and some people do not find Monty Python funny. And didn't think Sean of the Dead was funny. But if you think MP or SP are funny that please please please gift TP another chance.

    1. I actually quite enjoy MP, and I generally like this kind of humor. Well, I'm quite convinced to give him another chance now, and I'm glad I am, because I had high expectations of him. Maybe you a right and it's only Rincewind that spoils everything? Death was very cute, so I'll google which books have it as a main character.

    2. I love Death too. (SQUEAK.) Mort is the first Death book, I think, and Hogfather is Death Awesomeness in book form.

      I'm glad you'll give Pterry another try with one of his better books. :)

  3. 1983? Seriously? Thirty years ago now, good Lord...

    I can only echo the other comments; this wss probably not the best place to start in the Discworld. This and The Light Fantastic are both pretty straight send-ups (if there is such a thing as a straight send-up) of the Swords and Sorcery genre. They branch out into more interesting stuff fairly quickly after that.

    I kind of get your point about Rincewind spoiling things. I wouldn't go that far, but he's always been my least favourite of the main characters. For me it's a toss up between Death and Sam Vimes of the Nightwatch, so any of their earlier books will see you right.

    WHERE. IS. MY. COW?!

    1. Are we not all, in some way, searching for our cow? :D

  4. Oh good, everyone already jumped in to say don't stop here! Colour of Magic is pretty universally considered one of the weaker books. Wyrd Sisters is much better, and I also recommend Guards, Guards. The Nightwatch books are my favorite, and that's the first one with them!

  5. Well, I've just read my first Discworld books - I'm not an expert at all and so don't know how good a representation this is of the rest of the series but I read the first two in the Tiffany Aching series - and I loved them. On the back of that I will certainly read more. I've also been given some advice about what and what not to read and have been recommended the books with 'Death' in them.
    Hope you continue.
    Lynn :D

  6. Your first Discworld book just should NOT be Colour of Magic, even if it is the first book in the series. You should read the books with Death (my favourite Discworld character, definitely) or the Nightwatch - trust me, Pratchett's capable of many Luggage-ly unique characters. With over thirty books in the series, I really don't think you should abandon it with this one!


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