Around the Discworld: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #1)


Colour3Today is my review for the first book in the Discworld series and the first step on a journey that Louise over at Lou’s Book Stuff and I agreed to undertake together whereby we read the entire Discworld series in order.

So, The Colour of Magic is our first read and to be honest this is definitely a book where forewarned is forearmed.  As starts to series go this is kind of what I anticipated and a number of people had also mentioned to keep my expectations in check for this one as it isn’t the best that Discworld has to offer.  Like most first books this is a good introduction, it gives you a feel for the world, it introduces a couple of characters that I understand pop up again throughout the series and it demonstrates the madcap, quirky humour so you can get an idea if this will be something for you or not.

I confess that it took me a little while to get into this one, I don’t know why exactly, but I swear that I must have gone back to the beginning at least four times before I finally got on board.  After that little hiccup the rest was a very easy story to get along with although the plot is a little jumpy.  This doesn’t feel so much like a coherent plot as a series of incidents that introduce us to places and characters.

The main characters are Rincewind and Twoflower.  Rincewind is a wizard, although not a very competent one, and Twoflower is a tourist who has a surprising lack of fear for his own personal safety, by which I mean that he’s not so much courageous as simply oblivious to danger of any sort.  I must say that I love that Pratchett starts his introduction to the world with a story that follows a tourist – it’s really just so appropriate because as a new reader of a very well established world I definitely feel like a tourist.  My one wish – how I would love some luggage of the kind that Twoflower owns, luggage that you can’t lose.  These two characters become inextricably linked.  Twoflower hires Rincewind to be his guide to Discworld and whilst Rincewind has notions of double crossing his gullible would-be employer it soon becomes clear that he has instead become responsible for his safety and so the two embark on a series of (mis)adventures that usually involve scrapes with death – and, yes, we are also introduced to Death.

First impressions.  I liked this, I wasn’t totally bowled over but nor was I expecting to be.  I did find myself smiling at quite a lot of the descriptions, characters and humour, I mean, I wasn’t outright belly laughing but I do feel like this is a series that I could see myself really sinking in to.  I have to say that this really put me in mind of Monty Python, just a little bit crazy where it feels like literally anything can, and will, happen.  And, I loved some of the creativity, I mean, there’s a lot of imagination crammed in and little plays on tropes, dragons that only exist if you can imagine them or Gods that can’t be invoked by name.  The other thing that really stood out to me was that, for a book that was written not much shy of 40 years ago, this doesn’t feel like it’s aged badly at all.

Anyway, those are my initial impressions of the first book of the series.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, there doesn’t feel to be a plot that you can really become involved with.  It feels a little flighty and the characters seem to fall into trouble and get out of it with equal alacrity – and yet, although I mention that as a slight issue at the same time it feels fitting in regard to the crazy mixed up nature of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this.  It didn’t totally wow me and at this point I wonder, if I’d picked this up years ago, or if I’d not already read some of the other storylines and loved them, would I carry on after picking this one up?  I’d like to think the answer to that is yes and I do always like to give the first book in a series some leeway so I’m fairly certain that I would.  I look forward to reading and discussing No.2 this month.

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars

I bought a copy through Audible and actually really enjoyed the narration.  I have #2 to read on kindle so it will be interesting to compare the two different formats.