By Sir Terry PratchettTwoflower was a tourist, the first ever seen on the Discworld. Tourist, Rincewind had decided, meant “idiot.”
Readers of the world, let’s make a pact. Let’s stop over-hyping good books and ruining them for other readers. If you LOVED a book, just tell people you really liked it and would definitely recommend it. If you thought a book was MIND-BLOWING, just say it had great plot twists. It’s not my fault that when I just wanted to know what The Colour of Magic was about, I was told that it was going to be “legendary,” “profound,” and on the same level as Douglas Adams. Now, that is some pretty high flattery to live up to, and quite frankly, it just didn’t.
The Colour of Magic, a farcical treatment of the classic fantasy genre, is the first in Terry Pratchett’s expansive and still growing 45-book Discworld series. It follows the not-technically-wizard Rincewind and his naive, gullible companion, Twoflower the tourist, on their adventures across Discworld as they simply try not to die. Along the way they encounter new worlds, disgruntled gods, ancient magic, heroes, some man-eating luggage, and death himself. Pratchett sure does manage to cram a lot of events into this book’s 200 pages, and if you don’t take your time reading it, you might end up with whiplash.
It’s unfortunate that the book’s fast-paced story felt like it had too much chaos and not enough actual plot, because I think otherwise I really would have liked it. The characters are entertaining, and Pratchett writes some genuinely funny scenarios and recurring jokes. But the overall feeling you have after reading The Colour of Magic is that it simply lacked substance. I had high expectations going into this book, because it had so many things going for it: fantasy, farce, parody, a British author, and raving reviews! But in the end, I found it altogether underwhelming. However, this was Pratchett’s first book in the series written over 30 years ago, and clearly the Discworld books have something going for them. I’m still willing to give the rest of the series a shot. I just may need to expect something a little less than brilliance.