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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In his first discworld novel, first published in 1983 (two years older than me!), Terry Pratchett takes the reader on a tour around his magical world by sending the first ever tourist of the discworld, Twoflower, to explore it. He is accompanied - most unwillingly - by the inept wizard Rincewind, and his (the tourist’s) Luggage, a huge wooden chest made of sapient pearwood, which follows him wherever he goes and keeps his belongings save by eating those who want to steal it. On their travelling from Ankh-Morpork to the Hublands to the Rimfall, Twoflower and Rincewind meet many people and monsters, from thieving heroes to imaginary dragons. The ending is left open and will be continued in the next novel, The Light Fantastic, or so I have heard.
I had some minor problems with the book, mainly because I have already seen the movie twice and, as is so often the case, comparison is a bad idea but hard not to do. Even with the difference which irritated me, though, I enjoyed the book and had to smile at several occasions. The optimistic, naive and - most of all - curious Twoflower and his counterpart, the pessimistic, seemingly ill-starred Rincewind, are a great team when it comes to surviving all that Fate (the God) happens to throw their way, and they entertain the reader at the same time. Admittedly, they receive some help from the Lady in that great board game the Gods play...
The only thing that really irks me is the matter of Hrun the Barbarian, who joins Rincewind and Twoflower at the Temple of Bel-Shamharoth and simply vanishes after their clash with the people of the Wyrmberg. I hope he will return with some kind of explanation in the next book.
For readers who want to get to know Terry Pratchett and/or the discworld, I can definitely recommend The Colour of Magic. The skilled writer that he is, Pratchett manages to describe the discworld to the outsider without losing sight of the story, introducing important terms and facts (e.g. Great A'Tuin, the world turtle, the names of the four elephants that carry the disc, the Big Bang hypothesis and the eighth colour, octarine) and comparing it to our world (magic versus technical progress, views and opinions, etc.). I believe that you can read and understand the other discworld novels without having read this one first, but if you like the discworld, you need to read this book.
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