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 I  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

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thebookwormdrinketh July 23, 2018 - 2:09 pm

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!! 💖💖🍻

Meeghan reads July 23, 2018 - 2:16 pm

I’m glad you… not so much liked it, but are willing to keep reading?! 🤷🏻‍♀️😅🙈

waytoofantasy July 23, 2018 - 2:34 pm

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. 🙂

Vera July 23, 2018 - 2:50 pm

I did not finish this book. 🙈 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… 🙁

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

A Storm Of Pages July 23, 2018 - 3:38 pm

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!

Justine July 23, 2018 - 5:22 pm

Ive been waiting for these reviews to come in! This is the one series my real life friends have actually read and I haven’t even touched. My best friend said exactly what you said pretty much. The first book doesn’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 ^^

elnadesbookchat July 23, 2018 - 5:50 pm

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.

jennifertarheelreader July 24, 2018 - 1:21 am

I loved reading this, Kathy! And before I read my first Pratchett book, I will wait to hear about one you absolutely love! And I know this is part of a series, so maybe better worded I should say a series that you love from him.

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky July 25, 2018 - 9:49 am

Thanks, Jennifer! And I’ve heard things get so much better as the series goes on, so I’m 100% sure I’ll soon come across a book that I love!

Kaleena @ Reader Voracious July 26, 2018 - 5:26 pm

Discworld is a series I would LOVE to read but as a completionist I doubt I ever will because the number of books is DAUNTING. I look forward to reading your reviews and hope they get better for you!

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Melanie Roussel July 30, 2018 - 10:56 am

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!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky August 15, 2018 - 5:01 am

My fellow readathon-ers who have already read the series seemed to love it a lot more than I did, so I’ll definitely be revisiting it in the future. 🙂 Thank you for the follow! And apologies for the late reply!

maddalena@spaceandsorcery July 30, 2018 - 5:23 pm

Pratchett is one of those authors I always meant to read but have not gotten around to. Yet.
I will certainly follow your journey through the series and… take notes 🙂 so thank you very much for sharing this!

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Susy's Cozy World August 3, 2018 - 2:59 pm

Your rating system is marvelous!!! *_* And I have to watch the movie! I keep saying this to myself but so far I haven’t had any luck!!!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky August 15, 2018 - 4:56 am

Ha, thank you! I had a lot of fun searching for the right turtle and elephant images. 😀 And the movie is soooo much fun!! Definitely go watch it!

robertawrites235681907 August 5, 2018 - 5:18 pm

And here I thought the whole world was a Terry Pratchett fan. I didn’t enjoy this book either. A great and honest review.

Gerry@TheBookNookUK August 7, 2018 - 5:49 pm

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!

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Norrie August 14, 2018 - 5:27 pm

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 😀
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…

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky August 17, 2018 - 6:25 am

Haha Pratchett *is* a bit of a wordsmith. And so many people have told me to skip the first three books, but I was like, “Nah, imma be a completionist.” But turns out they might have been right…So I’m with your friend on this one. 😀


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