I arrived late to the Terry Pratchett party. Very late. It was only after he’d passed away and his multitude of fans had sung his praises that I picked up my first Discworld novel. Most would have perhaps started with the Colour of Magic, the first of the Discworld books.
I didn’t. I read Mort first, and fell in love with it. Since then, it seems that every second book I read has the late Mr Pratchett’s name on it. Yet I stayed away from The Colour of Magic. It sat on my bookshelf, ignored and passed over.
Why? I have a phobia of the beginnings. Often I’ll skip the first season of a T.V. show, instead jumping ahead to when it finds it’s stride. My preference for ignoring any early growing pains extends to the novelists and their debuts. This is why I put off the first Discworld novel. In fears that it would not measure up to those books that came after it.
My fears were unfounded. The Colour of Magic was not some stumbling Bambi, instead it flashed with the brilliance of a phoenix. All of the wit and humour that shines throughout the series was on full display in this book. Pratchett juggles the challenging task of setting up a rich and deep world with telling a compelling story, and does so very well.
As in so much of his writing, the characters were both memorable and interesting. They play off of each other perfectly, a reluctant, worrying half-wizard and a endlessly enthusiastic tourist. At just under 300 pages, The Colour of Magic was a quick read, but not a forgettable one. Travelling along with the main characters, the reader is whisked on a whirlwind journey around the Discworld, from the dark and seedy Ankh-Morpork to the very edge of the world itself. Along the way, a colourful cast of characters both helps and hinders the unlikely heroes.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Colour of Magic, and I wish I read it sooner. While it may not have taken the place as one of my favourites of the Discworld novels, it certainly does not suffer much in comparison to them. Terry Pratchett burst out of the starting block with this novel.