Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - September 29, 2001
The Colour of Magic is a psychedelic adventure through a mythical world. A world "...supported on four elephants standing on the back of the Great A'Tuin, a giant turtle..." A world inhabited by dragons, and wizards, who are warned never to speak the number 8. In this first volume of the renowned Discworld series, we follow a gullible tourist by the name of Twoflower on his adventures in the curious world that is Discworld. To guide him on his way, he is aided by Rincewind, an inept wizard.
From beginning to end, there is not one ounce of seriousness to be found anywhere in this story. Terry Pratchett unabashedly made use of every cliche, metaphor, pun, and any odd bits of innuendo that he could find to create a cacophony of humor. Giving his imagination free reign, Pratchett not only created a fabulous world, but also penned a story that is sure to tickle the reader's funny bone almost to death. He is also overly free with his parodies, but all for a good cause!
This story is about the heroes madcap quest through Discworld. A quest to see all the sights, rather than to achieve some altruistic goal such as a girl or a magical cup, as is often the case in most fantasy stories. In many regards, Pratchett uses Twoflower and Rincewind as a means to introduce the reader to all the sights and sounds of Discworld, as well as the conglomeration of characters that inhabit the world, preparing the reader for all of the Discworld books that follow. To date, about twenty-four Discworld books have been published. The Colour of Magic is not the best of the lot, but it still deserves an excellent rating. Plus, it offers the reader an unsurpassed introduction into the Discworld setting, and it prepares you for the rest of the books in this imaginative series.
This book is fast paced and eclectic. Along the way Twoflower and Rincewind must convince the residents of Ankh-Morpork that they had nothing to do with half their town catching fire, a fire which was quickly followed by a flood. Twoflower and Rincewind are two extremely memorable characters. Rincewind, being inept, only knows one spell - and it is a doozy. Twoflower is simply a gawking tourist with an uncanny knack for getting into trouble. And Rincewind, who has been ordered to look after and keep him safe, or face the ultimate punishment, has his hands full just trying to keep him alive. No matter how careful and conservative they try to be, they attract trouble like moths to a flame - and each misstep they take is more hilarious than the last.
This unabridged audio recording of The Colour of Magic is read by Nigel Planer, a well-known and seasoned comedic actor. Reading The Colour of Magic aloud must have been a real challenge, but a challenge that Planer accomplished with high honors. His voices, pacing, and theatrical monologue make a funny book even funnier. When he reads the voice of the omnipresent narrator, it sound like he is speaking through a metal tube, which makes it hard to make out all of his words until you get use to it, but other than that, I found his reading superb. Planer's natural comedic talent, combined with Pratchett's fertile imagination, makes this audio recording of The Colour of Magic an unqualified success.
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