The Color of Magic The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Dufour Editions
Year: 1990
Pages: 206

With all apologies to Rusty, my opinion can be summed up in a single onomatopoeia: ho-hum.

This book starts off the Discworld series, which seems to be Pratchett’s bread and butter, and is based on the premise of a flat, disc-like world born on the back of a giant turtle. It’s an interesting enough concept, but the fantasy world that Pratchett creates upon said world is little more than an uninspired derivation of every other fantasy world that’s ever been made.

Featuring a ragtag bunch of wizards, swordsmen, thieves, and all those sorts of characters requisite to the typical scifi/fantasy novel, this first novel centers around a wizard who only knows one spell and a rich, four-eyed tourist with a magical box made out of pearwood. It’s kooky, but not in a particularly endearing way. Instead, the setup strikes me as arbitrary and not at conducive to decent setting.

My views here may be biased, because I am not a particularly devoted reader of fantasy, but I do manage to enjoy most of Alan Dean Foster’s stuff, so it’s not as though I am automatically turned off of a novel because of strange characters or setups. I just found Pratchett’s insouciance toward clarity of prose to be irritating: parodies of longstanding genres are necessarily well-executed, and this book isn’t: it’s just plain mediocre. Actually, it’s impossible to tell whether Pratchett is aiming for parody or not. It’s so inconsistent, parts good and others miserable, that it’s a true chore to read.

At just over 200 pages, it didn’t consume a large chunk of my life, but it’s a chunk I’ll never get back.

§791 · October 8, 2005 · Tags: , ·

4 Comments to “The Color of Magic”

  1. Rusty says:

    I see your ho-hum and raise you a bah.

  2. rob says:

    I echo Rusty’s grumpy sentiments.

    Perhaps you’re just not British enough to get Mr. Pratchett? Who knows.

  3. Rusty says:

    Or perhaps I should have started him out on something like Feet of Clay, which has a much more… normal, shall we say?… setting (Ankh-Morpork itself, rather than the wilder parts of the Disc) and storyline (essentially a good old detective/mystery deal). I still believe though that later books such as those are even better once the reader has the background knowledge of the earlier books, which is why I suggested the first one in the series.

  4. Stephen Frug says:

    Having just recently gotten into these, I’ve found that Pratchett’s earlier books (I’ve tried his 3rd & 4th, Equal Rites and Mort) are just not as good as his later ones. Try one of the later books. Guards! Guards! was very funny, and the first of a self-contained sub-series…


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