Reading The Color of Magic is akin to eating an entire bowl of ice cream just a little too fast...sure, it may cause your head to hurt at times, but the sweet rewards make it all worth it!
Filled with ambitious wizards and ruthless assassins, the city of Ankh-Morpork has survived many dangers in the past, but now it faces an even more destructive force...TOURISM!!! When a rich but bored outsider named Twoflower decides to explore the city in search for adventure, it soon becomes an adventure for everyone around him, too! Twoflower's well-meaning but careless ways earn him the attention of pirates, dragonriders, and various supernatural entities, all looking to rid Twoflower of his treasure...not to mention his life! Soon failed wizard Rincewind reluctantly becomes Twoflower's guide, and as Twoflower explores more and more of Discworld looking for the adventure of a lifetime, Rincewind tries desperately to make sure his lifetime lasts for more than five minutes!
This was me for about 80% of this book...Annnnnd
here I am for the other 20%....
What I loved most about this book was definitely the humor. Some authors can only come up with a great laugh-out-loud moment once or twice in a book, but Pratchett is able to pull one off in just about every page! There are oodles of witty dialogue all throughout the novel, as well as some great slapstick moments. In addition, Pratchett gives us some excellent satire, too. I got a big kick out of how familiar some of Twoflower's ideas were, like when he convinces a bar owner to "place a bet" on whether or not the bar will be damaged...Twoflower calls this process "inn-sewer-ants"
! By having the other characters mock the "outrageous" concepts Twoflower introduces them to, it did a magnificent job painting an amusing picture of some of the absurdities of everyday life. "The Color of Magic" isn't just a humorous book, it actually manages to pull off several different kinds of humor!
Also, I was amazed with the extent of Pratchett's imagination! While some elements of this book are your standard fantasy archetypes, Pratchett really ups the ante by giving us some brilliantly creative concepts as well. With translucent dragons, trolls made out of water, a sentient piece of luggage that manages to display so much personality without ever saying a word, and an upside-down swordfight that has to be seen, errr, read
to be believed, Pratchett never runs out of new ideas to entertain his audience with.
Alas, while I enjoyed this book very much, I did have a couple of issues with it. For one thing, I felt like Pratchett tried to cram way too much into a book that's barely over 200 pages. So many characters and creatures come and go, it quickly becomes difficult to keep track of what's going on! I have some friends who didn't enjoy the "Game of Thrones" book as they found it confusing, but at least George R.R. Martin takes a good amount of time to establish all the characters, whereas this book can sometimes feel like trying to watch a NASCAR race where all the cars are speeding in a different direction! Also, some of Pratchett's ideas were a little too "out-there"
for me...I knew this was going to be a problem right away, when Pratchett begins the book by revealing that Discworld is a planet that is carried on the backs of four elephants who are all standing on the shell of a giant turtle that is floating through space..."This is an awful lot to throw at me on page one, Mr. Pratchett!"
Also, while "The Color of Magic" works beautifully as a comedy, I'm afraid the actual story doesn't quite hit the mark. The book is divided into four parts, and each part feels like a separate book. Almost anyone introduced in one section is absent in the other three, so we're left wondering what happened to many different characters. While the events of Rincewind's and Twoflower's journey are fun to watch, there's very little true progression or closure. This storytelling technique was especially baffling in the fourth segment, where Pratchett keeps referring to an adventure that we never got to see, as it occurred inbetween the third and fourth sections. This disjointed method of storytelling prevented the book from becoming anything more than just a comedy of errors, as amusing as those errors may have been.
So, while I felt this book would have been better if it were a bit longer and some of the concepts had been more fleshed out, I still had a lot of fun reading this hysterically funny adventure. I've been told that the first couple of books in the Discworld series pale in comparison to the later ones. Considering how entertaining "The Color of Magic" was, if this truly is one of the weaker entries, I can't wait to read more of the Discworld series!