Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review: The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

It seems that with every Pratchett movie-adaptation, I always see the movie before reading the book.  That's true in this case as well.  I watched The Color of Magic with my family a few years ago, and only now read the two books which it's based on.  I think part of the reason it took so long was because, of the three Pratchett adaptations I've seen -- The Color of Magic, Going Postal, and The Hogfather, -- it's my least favorite.  I love all three of them, but I just love this one a little less.  And no offense to Pratchett, but I think Rincewind is the probably the most annoying main character he's ever written.

That being said, I still really enjoyed both The Color of Magic and its sequel, The Light Fantastic.  They were the first two Discworld books that Pratchett ever wrote, so in the beginning, they do feel a little like they're a giant introduction to the Discworld universe.  But once you get to the actual main plot, the story's pace quickens and holds your attention.  The story tells of a failed wizard named Rincewind, living in Ankh-Morpork, who has the misfortune to meet a strange little man calling himself a "tourist."  Rincewind finds himself roped into being a tour guide to this little man, Twoflower, who unfortunately doesn't understand the meaning of fear or sarcasm or subtlety.  While nearly losing his life a thousand times taking Twoflower around, Rincewind must also save the world... no biggie.

As I said before, Rincewind is a very annoying main character, but he grows on you.  Twoflower is the real star of these books.  His simple and naive outlook on the world, as well as his inability to know when to keep his mouth shut, leads to some very interesting situations for both him and Rincewind.  The secondary characters also shine in these books.  Each one has their own unique personality, and each adds a fun twist to the storyline.

As with all of the Discworld books, Pratchett filled these books with sarcasm and satire, making fun of much of what we consider normal parts of life.  Government, fantasy stereotypes, insurance, and tourism are just some of the topics that Pratchett has fun with.

Perhaps my biggest disappointment with the books was how little they focused on the Unseen University and the wizards.  I thought their storyline was awesome, and I would've loved to have read more about them.  But despite that, I found The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic fun and entertaining, with plenty of adventure and comedy.  While they're certainly not my favorite Pratchett books, they were definitely worth reading.  B+

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