The Color of Magic

By Terry Pratchett


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Started: August 16, 2010

Finished August 17, 2010

First Reading

In A Nutshell:

I’ve been meaning to read Pratchett for years now. The Color of Magic has been setting on my bookshelf for the past five years and every once in awhile he’ll come up in the geeky circles I travel in. So while I was aware that Pratchett was a humorist worth checking out, I’d always avoided getting into the series because no one could seem to agree on the best starting point.

So as someone who hasn’t read any other books by Terry Pratchett as I write this I can say with some certainty that The Color of Magic, which is the first book in the expansive Discworld universe, is an excellent jumping off point. Pratchett has a dry wit reminiscent of Douglas Adams that doesn’t so much subvert the genre as it coaxes the genre into bed with sweet words and has a fun roll in the hay before leaving it with some cab fare to cap off the evening.

The Color of Magic was consistently amusing with several instances of pure genius that had me laughing out loud and getting cross looks from other people in the area. That’s the best recommendation I can think of for a humorous book. So often the offerings in the genre humor department suffer because you can tell that the authors are trying too hard and wind up hitting you over the head with the joke. Pratchett’s dry and often understated humor, by contrast, is perfectly content to pass you right by if you’re not smart enough to get it on the first or second pass.

Which isn’t to say that The Color of Magic is exclusively for fantasy loving shut-ins who spend their free time in their parents’ basement crafting loving prose about Arwen’s forbidden lesbian romance with Shelob. Far from it. There’s something in this book for everyone whether you’re a fan of clever prose, dry British humor, or a good takedown of fantasy tropes.

In short, there is a reason that Terry Pratchett has been the reigning king of the small fantasy humor genre for so long. If you’re the type of person who enjoys Avallanath then it would be well worth your time to check Discworld out.


There are quite a few entries in the Discworld series at this point and varying opinions as to where new readers should start. I say just start at the beginning and figure out for yourself which ones are the best the series has to offer. They can be found cheaply enough wherever fine secondhand paperbacks are sold anyways, so it’s not like readers will be breaking the bank working their way through the series.