Book Review | The Color of Magic

I finally read a Discworld novel!

In Terry Pratchett’s book, The Color of Magic, Rincewind is an inept wizard who never finished his training—in fact, he only knows one spell. One day, he meets Twoflower, a tourist from a land that Rincewind didn’t believe existed. With Twoflower comes Luggage, a many-legged sentient suitcase who is determined to stay with its person at all costs. Twoflower asks Rincewind to show him around the lands, and so they are swept on a journey across the Discworld, and the chances of them getting out alive are dwindling.

I had a feeling this would be weird, and I was right.

To start with, I liked the characters well enough, though there wasn’t a ton of emotional depth there. The two protagonists were just kind of thrown from one bizarre situation to another, without much opportunity for growth as people. I feel like I only knew them on a surface level, but I have a feeling that’s partly the writing style that was common when this book was written. I did like them both, though, and some of the side characters were also fun. Twoflower is probably my favorite character, as his unrelenting enthusiasm and optimism are entertaining.

On the other hand, Luggage is kind of unsettling (if humorous). I also wasn’t blown away by Liessa, basically the only female character. She was even less well-developed than Rincewind and Twoflower and, naturally, had basically no clothes. Either this is the book showing its age, or Pratchett is making a parody of this particular thing, I’m not sure. Either way, she was not my favorite.

As for my favorite, though, the best scene was definitely the one featuring the dragons. I loved the twist about dragons-as-mythological-creatures and how they exist within Discworld. It was such an exciting scene, and I wish we’d gotten to linger there longer. As it is, the plot is slightly meandering and directionless. The characters don’t really have a goal in mind, unless you count not dying as enough of a motivation, so they’re really just thrown from one place to another without any rhyme or reason. This made for a reading experience where I was by turns interested and less so (though, admittedly, never bored).

In the end, while I didn’t have the best time reading The Color of Magic, I still was entertained by it. The concept of the world is ridiculous and therefore fun, the humor is pretty solid most of the time, and the wordplay is absurd and clever. The main characters are fine, and the hijinks are strange. I’ve heard that this isn’t actually the best book to start with, but since it was the first one published, and the only one I own, it’s what I went with. But I’ll probably read more in this series in the future, as I’m intrigued—even while I’m kind of baffled (in a good way). What a wacky book.

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