Book Review: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

This book is the first book of Pratchett’s infamous fantasy series Discworld, and the third book I have read in this series (following Soul Music and Guards! Guards!). It was originally published 1983 and is Pratchett’s first full published book.

The story revolves around a pretty useless wizard Rincewind who offers his services as a guide to a very eccentric tourist named Twoflower (what kind of name is that, by the way—though I probably shouldn’t say that, since the majority of Discworld characters have weird names) who is determined to experience every interesting thing the Discworld can offer (including watching a bar fight and seeing a dragon who then chases them) along with his magical bag.

There’s also a mini-series/movie of this book from 2008 starring David Jason as Rincewind and Sean Astin as Twoflower. However, I have not seen it, so I have no idea if it’s a good adaptation or a good movie in general.

I really enjoyed this book. Certain characters (cough Twoflower) are incredibly annoying in the beginning. However, even the most annoying character grows on you by the end of the book. None of the featured players are certainly the most developed, complex people I’ve read in book, but they are all understandable and, to a certain extent, likable.

My favorite character in this universe has always been Death and He makes some brief appearances throughout the book, for those who are craving some Death.

One of the things I like most about Pratchett’s books is that you have absolutely no clue where they are going to lead. You could end up on a different continent or, in this case, the edge of the world. I was confused about why he choose the title The Color of Magic until near the end, where we (and Rincewind and Twoflower) spot to Rimbow—Discworld’s equivalent of a rainbow, I would assume—and magical colors fill the horizon as they look off the edge of the world.

You certainly need to have a certain kind of humor in order to really enjoy Pratchett’s books—whether this one or any other—and I am happy to say I was cursed with that sense of humor.

This book is probably a great book to start reading Pratchett’s Discworld series, both for the obvious reason that it is the first one he published as well as being extremely short (my softback copy contains 277 pages). But honestly, one of the coolest things about the Discworld series is that most of the books can be read in whatever order you like.

Pratchett said himself in the forward of this reprint, “The Discworld is not a coherent fantasy world. Its geography is fuzzy, its chronology unreliable…There are no maps. You can’t map a sense of humour.” This, I think perfectly encompasses both this book and every book which follows it.

For any fantasy fan, this series is one of those that I think everyone should dabble in sometime in their life. And this book is a great start. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it!

What are your thoughts of this book and others in the Discworld series? Have you heard of them? Read them? Watched the movies based on them? Let me know down in the comments, follow this blog for more madness and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

  1. I’ve been meaning to get into this series… I tried The Color of Magic once and didn’t make it past the first chapter. But my sister recommended some of the other Discworld books, so I might try those instead.

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    1. I would recommend starting with any book featuring Susan (Death’s granddaughter). She brings the crazy world more into logic. I believe she is first featured in Soul Music…or was it Hogfather? Anyway, most people I talk to claim that Hogfather is the best book in the series, so you could start there. This series is massive and I can completely understand having trouble getting into it!

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  2. Great review! I’ve read all books in Sir Terry’s Discworld series and love them. Definitely a unique writing style. It is a toss up whether Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams or Jasper Fforde is my favourite. Fforde’s Thursday Next series is great ffun but he hasn’t written for awhile, seems to prefer the book touring circuit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read Fforde, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Douglas Adams. He’s just too all over the place with his plots for my organized mind. But I have only read three books in the Discworld series and I already love them! But to read all of them…that takes dedication!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was going through my “I want to read fun fiction” stage. Please consider Jasper Fforde. The Eyre Affair is book one of the Thursday Next series. His work is hard to catalogue, literally books within books, sci-fi fantasy alternate British world but very readable.

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