Book Review | The Color of Magic, by Terry Pratchett

Posted By Emily | 2 comments

When you mix soft-serve chocolate and vanilla ice cream together it creates a magical combination that is superior to the individual parts.

I greatly enjoy humor and fantasy combined in that same way, but I’m a picky person when it comes to both of those genres. Unlike when indulging in my simplistic ice cream desires, I often find that my craving for the perfect fantasy/humor mixture goes unsatisfied. One of the keys to that perfect swirl of ice cream marriage are the twists and it’s my opinion that those twists are an all-to-frequently missing component from books that try to combine humor and fantasy and rely on the fact that they contain both ingredients in an attempt to compensate for a serious lack of magic on the plate.

The Color of Magic is the first written of the seemingly infinite number of Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett and is not lacking in magic at all, in spite of the fact that our protagonist is a wizard who, well, can’t do any magic.

Mr. Pratchett is one of the most delightfully whimsical authors in a genre that prides itself on delightful whimsy so, as with all of his following novels, you are in for a comically bizarre journey.

Protagonist Rincewind (what a great wizardly name!) happens to come upon s man named Twoflowers, a visitor from a foreign country who unknowingly has an absurd amount of money and has come up from the other side of the world (or in this world, the other side of the Disc) to be a tourist in a country where tourism is a concept yet invented. The novel opens with the biggest city in the world burning to a crisp and a brush with Death, although not actual death, so it gets off to a roaring start right away and only becomes more entertaining from there.

There’s even sentient furniture involved, although if you try to get to Narnia through it (or take the gold it’s full of) you will just be violently eaten instead.

Anyone who is familiar with Pratchett as an author knows that he is inventive, although in the sheer amount of books he has written just in the same world repetition inevitably enters in to the equation. In spite of this The Color of Magic takes us pretty far in a large world for a relatively short book, clocking in at a relatively brief 288 pages.

This would make a great airplane book because it’s a quick-finishing and very easy read that doesn’t get boring or leave you feeling like anything is missing.

If you have read any other Discworld novels, as I have, it has the same addicting tempo of winks and nods. Pratchett likes to weave a joke into seemingly every paragraph and his style is full of intellectual twists and turns. You will find yourself snorting aloud on occasion and for being the first of the Discworld novels it certainly doesn’t feel like a poorly written pilot to me.

If you haven’t read any Pratchett before, this is as great of any book to start, which I recommend you do immediately.

While the dizzying number of Discworld books weave in and out of time you’ll find that they don’t follow any one particular plot line necessarily. At least not enough that you’ll feel left out by picking any book at random and diving in. Written in a familiar tone you feel as if you’re listening to a friendly story teller even if the concepts imagined up by the author are fantastic to a point of ridiculousness. This extremity is mastered by Mr. Pratchett and is why he has been so successful over the years.

He balances on a steep precipice, his writing could easily tumble over and fall flat at the bottom of this metaphorical mountain just due to the sheer height of invention that he has climbed, and yet he dances on top, marrying humor here and vanilla there with more twists and turns that my tallest soft-serve.

I’m sorry, I meant chocolate and fantasy.

Err… I think it’s time for me to get some ice cream. I KNOW its time for you to pick up this book and give it a taste.



  1. Great review! The Color of Magic is one of those books I constantly mean to get to but never end up reading. But I do have an airplane ride coming up soon so maybe…

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    • Thank you! It really is worth the read and isn’t a huge investment of your time. Definitely keep it in mind for your flight! 🙂

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