Review: The Color of Magic

The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1)The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dropping the rating from 4 stars (original) to 3 stars (second time through).

This is my second time reading through this book. First time was somewhere between 10-15 years ago. Going through it again, I realized just how much Mr. Pratchett improved as he iterated upon Discworld. Or, perhaps, it’s more accurate to say that this book had a different purpose than later Discworld books. This one is, essentially, a parody of where fantasy had evolved in the decades since The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Pratchett takes tons fantasy tropes, hero’s journey tropes, fish out of water tropes and obliterates them or subverts them. A lot of what he introduces here continues throughout the 30+ book series, but there are places where I’m sure he would have done things differently had he known he’d carry on beyond a couple books.

The plot itself is mostly nonexistant and I hadn’t remembered just how quickly Rincewind and Twoflower tear through locations on the disc. Perhaps that was also meant to be a commentary on tour buses skipping through town too quick for anyone to enjoy anything, but I think it just has to do with the aforementioned thought that this would be a universe for a couple books – maybe three. Essentially, it’s a series of scenes in which Twoflower’s naivette gets them into trouble and causes Rincewind to stress out before something (usually the luggage) saves them.

Still, while there are many different reading orders for The Discworld, I still think it’s worth reading the original trilogy to see how Pratchett sets things up before he starts slowly evolving things like the City Watch, introducing fantasy tech, and taking us to neat places like Uberwald.

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