Review: The Colour of Magic (Discworld 1) – The Readathon Commences!

The Colour of Magic

Title: The Colour of Magic
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Colin Smythe
Release Date: November 24, 1983
Genre(s): Fantasy, Humour
Page Count: 288 (paperback)






The Colour of Magic marks the start of our Discworld Readathon!

There are two things I learned from reading this book:

1) I can see why people say that the first couple of books in the series can be skipped.

2) I liked the film adaption (part one, at least) better than the book.
Yes, go ahead and pelt me with all your rotten vegetables, but at least the movie had the charm of Sean Astin and a powerhouse cast of Jeremy Irons, Tim Curry, and Christopher Lee.

The Colour of Magic follows Twoflower, a first-time tourist to Ankh-Morpork, the largest city in Discworld, and Rincewind, an incompetent wizard tasked with guiding him. They bounce from one misadventure to another like a pair of disaster magnets, jokes are had, and Pratchett pokes fun at old fantasy tropes.

And…that’s about it.

The story is like an erratically stitched-up tapestry of fantasy adventures, which Iย  wouldn’t have minded if I could connect with the two main characters, but I really, really couldn’t. Rincewind and Twoflower start out as a happy-go-lucky tourist and a jaded wizard and they end as a happy-go-lucky tourist and a jaded wizard, and I knew just as much about the two of them by the end as I did in the beginning–as in, not much. To top it off, their interactions felt weirdly sparse and lacking in depth. I mean, they occupy the same physical space for much of the story, but they always just seem to talk around each other.

But here’s the thing: there’s something oddly comforting about how underwhelming this book is. It shows that even legends like Terry Pratchett have to start from somewhere. They all have their rough foundation from which they have to improve on, because people aren’t born from the womb oozing genius talent–it’s a product of a lot of hard work and a willingness to learn.

Things are only going to get better and better from here. And I can’t wait to see that trajectory of growth.

P.S. Oh, and the idea of a disc-shaped planet that sits on top of four elephants that sit on top of a turtle? Brilliant.


I’m forgoing my usual rating system for the readathon and giving this book two and a half elephants riding turtles out of five.


Check out what all the other participants had to say about The Colour of Magic!

Nina @ The Cozy Pages

Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads

Didi @ Didi Oviatt

Alicia @ Miss Honeybugs Reads & Crafts

A Storm of Pages

Nicole @ The BookWorm Dinketh


Emma @ The Stride of my Step

22 thoughts on “Review: The Colour of Magic (Discworld 1) – The Readathon Commences!

  1. thebookwormdrinketh says:

    Ha ha!! Well, you may have been a LITTLE harsh, but it’s funny that you just said EXACTLY what I did in my comment back to you on my blog! I agree that the story was a little… I’m still going to stick with frantic. Terry Pratchett was very Now we’re over here…. NOW WE’RE OVER HERE! It was like an eager puppy excited to get his world out to people so much that he forgot he needed a story to go along with it. But, I loved it anyways just because he gave us a lot more in this book than you know! I’m reading it again after having read the series previously, and it’s funny how much foreshadowing is in this book for things to come! Hang in there, it DEFINITELY gets better!! ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿป


  2. waytoofantasy says:

    I’ve only read a few of the Discworld books but have always meant to read them all. I LOVE Small Gods, it’s one of my top five favorite books ever. And Guards! Guards! Took a minute to grab me but man, it became a lot of fun. I tried to read the first one but got bored pretty quickly. Glad you are continuing though, I know the writing picks up. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Vera says:

    I did not finish this book. ๐Ÿ™ˆ I read it ages ago and remember enjoying it then but somehow, probably due to my currently mood, I just could not finish it and I am mildly ashamed about it… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Reading your review somehow helped, lol. Pratchett writes fantastic books so please don’t hold this one again him though. ๐Ÿ’–


  4. A Storm Of Pages says:

    Your thoughts are completely understandable – this is not the best in the series, and to be honest not the one you would hand to someone if you want them to start loving the series, but I do feel that with the amount of descriptors, as well as Rincewind explaining things, you get a good foundation as to what the world looks like, rather than proper storyline or characters development – though I don’t know if that’s what Pratchett intended!

    Just wait till we get to Equal Rites, and Mort – just The Light Fantastic inbetween!


  5. Justine says:

    Ive been waiting for these reviews to come in! This is the one series my real life friends have actually read and I havenโ€™t even touched. My best friend said exactly what you said pretty much. The first book doesnโ€™t have the flair of all the other books. Hope you enjoy the rest and your rating system for this one is funny and adorable lol ^^


  6. elnadesbookchat says:

    You have to love the luggage though! I remember liking this book, but not my favorite of the franchise. I also remember thinking that the Death character was brilliant and that is what made me want to read the other books, to see more of him. Good post.


  7. Melanie Roussel says:

    I am a HUGE Terry Pratchett fan. I mean a serious fan – you should see my flat, I have a ton of memorabilia and artwork. However, I would never recommend anyone to start with The Colour of Magic. Despite it being a pretty logical place to start, I always give people Guards Guards or Going Postal. It’s a softer introduction to the world of Pratchett. So I think it’s a very fair review, but I would always tell people to go back and read it once they understand the world and canon to appreciate the beginnings of a masterpiece world. I’m glad I found you, great blog! I’ll be following!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

    I’ve not read this one but I do remember watching something where Neil Gaiman said that he recommends readers don’t start with this one! I like what you said though – it’s reassuring to think that everyone has to start off somewhere!


  9. Norrie says:

    I tried to read this one maybe 8ish years ago.
    I gave up pretty quickly. I don’t think it was the book… more like me not feeling like my level of English was up to this, and i didn’t have kindle to look up words so it was super overwhelming. I still have the book though, so i think i should give it another try ๐Ÿ˜€
    But my friend who is really into the series also told me i should just skip it cuz it’s meh, so i’m torn…

    Liked by 1 person

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