Great idea, first book in a wonderful series
Ok, maybe not the most original or clever way to start out a review, but I think it is the fastest way to get the most people to understand the basic concept of the book. The book is one part typical fantasy world and one part comedic satire, smashed together to make an original read.
The Color of Magic is about a “Wizard” (Rincewind) who cannot cast a spells, and the archetypal bumbling “Tourist” (Twoflower). Rincewind is constantly trying to get out of his own way in an effort to flee from trouble, which only leads to something worse. Twoflower is a good-natured optimist who does not have a clue, but has luck, lots and lots of luck. That and very loyal travel chest.
Be aware that this is the first book in a long, long series. Though series might be the wrong word. Most of the books can actually stand alone, but together they create quite a world. However, this book is not a masterpiece in itself. It lacks polish and seems to be in a rush to get through with itself. Youthful exuberance got in the way of craft.
The two things that got me through this book are, 1) the idea of a fantasy farce is brilliant, 2) I had already read “Good Omens” which is truly a gem, so I knew Pratchett had talent.
And I have kept on with the series. The first several books are packed with great ideas but still suffer from a lack of craft and subtlety. Pratchett eventual works out his issues and has been writing great books ever since.
Back to my opening, this is very similar in spirit to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you like that, my bet is that you will like Terry Pratchett, maybe not the first few books, but certainly the last twenty or so. Both Douglas Adams and Terry Prachett take genres that are often too serious and stuffy and busted them wide open with satire.