Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett

Title: The Color of Magic
Author: Terry Pratchett
Date Finished: April 29, 2008
Yearly Count: 23
Pages: 210
Rating: 4.5/5

WHAT????? I am so glad that Nymeth warmed me about the cliffhanger ending, otherwise I think I would be in a state of shock right now. I picked up this book for the Once Upon a Time Challenge without knowing very much about the author or the Discworld series other than what I've heard from Nymeth, but I'm certainly glad I did. I loved the wild ride this book took me on and will have to rush out to the bookstore to get the sequel, The Light Fantastic (plus any other Discworld books I can find!).

This short novel follows the travels of Rincewind, a failed wizard, and Twoflower, a foreign tourist--two unlikely companions--after they are forced to leave the burning city of Ankh-Morpork. I wish I could explain the plot, but I'm at a loss for words. They encounter dragons that only kinda exist; a woman who is trying to kill her brothers so that she can rule Wyrmberg, an upside-down mountain; the edge of Discworld where a troll made mostly of water captures them; they are continually cheating Death who by the way has a great sense of humor. This is only a place that could exist if gods are playing the characters as pawns on a giant gameboard--wait! that does happen.

Sounds very strange--and not very much up my alley, but I really enjoyed this book. I laughed out loud--a lot, but I also did a lot of thinking. I'm certain that if I read this one again I would pick up on so much more. I have always really enjoyed satirical works--Gulliver's Travels being one of my favorites--so I felt right at home with Pratchett's sense of humor and social commentary. I realize that I'm doing a poor job of explaining this book, but how does one adequately describe a world that is shaped like a disc which sits on top of four giant elephants who rotate in a circle around the shell of a giant turtle floating through space. :)

Did I love every part of the book? The chapters were long. Groan. In seriousness, at times I found it difficult to follow the plot. The scenes rapidly change and I had to retrace bits to find what I missed. There were several parts that flew right over my head, such as a strange otherworldly experience when Rincewind and Twoflower find themselves momentarily in an airplane? It took some time to get used to the occassional disjointedness, but it did require a little rereading and close reading on my part.

Would I recommend it? Let's put it this way--hubby saw me laughing out loud; I read him some of the bits and pieces I thought were too funny to be left alone (namely the bit about "inn-sewer-ants"--my profession and hubby's family's profession). When I finished the book with a giant smirk on my face, he proclaimed that we should pick up the follow-up book so that he can read both. And hubby doesn't read [and generally does not encourage my book-buying habit]. Bottom Line: It's a fun book, but it certainly isn't as light as it seems.


Laura said...

"...a world that is shaped like a disc which sits on top of four giant elephants who rotate in a circle around the shell of a giant turtle floating through space." You know who this reminds me of? A certain weirdo professor we've talked about, or possibly a Dr. Seuss book (Horton Hears a Who, anyone?) You might have to add this to the list of books I would like to borrow...and return of course! :)

Framed said...

I've had this book on my shelves for some time now. Must . . . Read . . . Soon. Of course, that could mean a year or two. Thanks for your review.

joanna said...

I've been wanting to read this since it's the first in the Discworld series... I read Wyrd Sisters this year and wanted to go back to the beginning. Probably for next year!

Unknown said...

I hope you enjoy the rest of the series. I am a little on the fence with Pratchett, some of his books I really enjoy and others are very average. I think I prefer his original ideas to his parodies. Be warned he mostly doesn't use chapters at all in future books.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Laura - This one was a lot of fun--and you'd definitely giggle at the insurance part. :) Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if a certain professor was familiar with these books. And yes, of course you can borrow.

*Framed - It's short and a mostly quick read. Squeeze it in between some of those other heavier books (or add it to a challenge!)

*Joanna - This is my introduction to Discworld and I'm glad I started at the beginning. I hope you enjoy it!

*Rhinoa - Yes, I found that out when I was looking up some information on discworld. I like to have natural breaks in my books, but the changes in perspective or focus midchapter were helpful in finding a "put down" place. Nymeth has me very confused--she's told me that most people don't like the first one or get the wrong impression of what Discworld will be, so I'm hoping that I continue to enjoy the series.

Ana S. said...

Sorry that I have you confused :P Let me try and explain better: from what you said in this review, I am quite sure that you'll continue to enjoy the series. Especially this paragraph: "I have always really enjoyed satirical works--Gulliver's Travels being one of my favorites--so I felt right at home with Pratchett's sense of humor and social commentary."

His satire becomes increasingly sharp as the series continues. The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic are in many ways parodies of the "unwritten rules" of fantasy and of some well-known fantasy books (although they also go beyond that). In the following books, he left that behind to focus more on social commentary and on stories that feel more personal. So if you liked that about this book, I really do think you'll continue to enjoy the series.

And I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you enjoyed it so much! Nothing makes me happier than sharing a favourite author of mine. Where are you thinking of going next with the series (after The Light Fantastic, that is)? Are you thinking of reading them in publication order?

Literary Feline said...

I really must read this series. It was recommended to me years ago, and I picked up the first four books in the series, but I still haven't managed to get to them.

Debi said...

After all the wonderful things Nymeth has to say about these books, I can't believe I still haven't read one yet! My daughter has read a few and has absolutely loved them as well. I thoroughly enjoyed your review...thanks!

Nikki in Niagara said...

I absolutley loved this one as well. The luggage was my favourite! I've only read two other Discworld books and unfortunately they didn't do it for me the way this one did.

CJ said...

These are sitting on my shelf. In fact, I think I've got at least one of them in a challenge pile. I should check that out...

Thanks for the great review, Trish.


Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Nymeth - I didn't realize how much of the fantasy satire I was missing out on until I finished the book and was doing a little reading about the book on the Internet. Even not understanding the "unwritten rules" of fantasy and what they are, I think I was able to pick up on a lot--but what I really liked was the social commentary.

I'm not quite sure where I'll go from here. I definitely need to read The Light Fantastic so that Rincewind doesn't keep hanging midspace beyond the edge. ;) I've got the page you sent me bookmarked and The Witch or The Death threads look particularly interesting to me. At this point the "Science" Discworld books don't tempt me at all!

Anyway, I'm glad that you're thrilled--I love that feeling as well--when I pass on a book to someone who ends up really enjoying it. Yay!! :D

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Lit Feline - Well, if you've got the first four--go for them! This book was a quick read--a perfect weekend novel. I hope you enjoy them!

*Debi - Yes, if not for Nymeth, I probably wouldn't have discovered this little gem. I'm looking forward into delving further into the series since she says they only get better. :) I think I read Annie's review of Wyrd Sisters (or maybe I just saw it listed on her challenge post).

*Nicola - I loved the luggage as well--and the little guy inside the camera. I'm sorry you didn't like the others as well--what was it about them that you didn't like?

*CJ - For some reason it seems that the only motivation I can get lately to read something is if it is on a challenge list. But yes--read this one! I look forward to hearing what you think of Discworld.

Anonymous said...

I loved your blog before but when I saw Pratchett on the top of it today I nearly fell out of the chair. Pratchett has been a long time favorite of mine and I'm glad you've discovered and enjoyed him. I am not much of a fantasy fan myself, but something about Pratchett always keeps me wanting more. Be sure to keep an eye out for the new BBC movie being made for Light Fantastic and Colour of Magic.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*bookchronicle - Thanks for coming by--and I hope you didn't hurt yourself falling out of the chair. ;) Ok, I'm a little cheesy! I really enjoyed this book and was interested to see the new movie being made when I was doing some follow up reading. I'll have to keep my eye for them!

Anonymous said...

Hi Trish,

Your blog is fantastic! Could you email me at lewis.mary.e at gmail.com? I have a book I'd like to offer up for review. :)


Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Mary - thanks for coming by and your interest! This certainly makes my day. :)

Tasha said...

I'd really like to read this book. I read Terry Pratchett's bio in the back, and he sounds like such an eccentric and interesting guy.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Charley - I definitely think you should!! I had a lot of fun with the book and if I didn't have all of these stupid challenges I could read the 2nd one a lot sooner. :) Just kidding--love the challenges. Anyway, he is very eccentric and interesting and the book is a blast (although I've heard that the series gets better as it goes along).

Thanks for coming by!