The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read this book way back in high school, when I lived in England. Having forgotten everything except for the fact that there was a trunk that liked to eat people, I bought the book (again) to see how it stood up these many years later. As I've read I've received goodreads messages and been spoken to by several people who have warned me that Pratchett was just warming up with this one, that he hadn't reached his highest form yet. I still have to read more of his work (I'm planning on Mort and Guards! Guards!), so I have no benchmark to measure against other than what I thought in high school versus what I think now. And while the book is funny, it's not as hilarious as I remember it. I've probably become a little jaded since those days, which is more a reflection of me and my experiences than it is of Pratchett and his writing.
That's not to say that the book was bad, it wasn't. In fact, it's got some moments of pure brilliance and was, in some ways, much more well-written than I had expected. The exchange between the Arch Astronomer of Krull and Goldeneyes Dactylos smacks strongly of the sort of humor one would expect in a Jeeves and Wooster story. And that is the highest compliment I think I can give to a piece of humorous writing. The section on the Wyrmberg sniffed in Michael Moorcock's direction. And at least a couple of the characters were spoofs of two of my favorites: Fafhrd and Grey Mouser.
I must admit that I also liked Rincewind, the bungling wizard. Some have labelled him a coward. I'd call him . . . normal. Someone like you or me: allergic to pain, justifiably afraid of being dropped from great heights, fearful of fear itself, and yet he commits himself to get done what needs to get done when it really matters . . . most of the time. Unlike, say, Gandalf, Rincewind is full of foible and, as a result, a really loveable character. At least he was for me. I feel for the guy. Sometimes what I'm feeling is embarrassment, but I feel for him.
Poor Rincewind. I do hope to see him again.
Twoflower, the other main character, I liked at the beginning, but by the end of the book he seems to have become rather withdrawn and almost a touch (just a touch) sullen. I couldn't figure out why he changed so much through the book, so I'm left to speculate.
Maybe he became jaded after high school, just like me.
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