Becky's Reviews > The Color of Magic

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
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Jun 24, 14

bookshelves: fantasy, 2014, disappointing, ebook_nook, multi-dimensional, reviewed
Read from May 29, 2011 to June 24, 2014

I dunno if this is going to be a proper 'review' (heh, as though any of the things that I write in this space are...), it'll likely just be a bunch of randomness and ranting. So, like my usual offerings.

I read Amanda's review (This'un.) and I'm all like "Yep." This is one of those books/series that people love and it makes me want to love it and then I set crazy goals for myself, like reading them... all... in a year... just maybe not this one... and then when the first one ends up NOT being the fucking greatest thing since ever, I feel disappointed. It's unfair. (To me, I mean. I don't care if it's fair to the book if others have set my expectations too high and then it didn't live up to them. It's a book. It doesn't have feelings or a brain and thus cannot understand why it should feel sorry for me.)

But, to be fair to the expectation raisers, I'd also read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and I really enjoyed it, so that also tended to set the bar higher and make my fall just that much further. Sadface.

Anyway. So, in a discussion with a friend, she mentioned that "The Colour of Magic is basically a collection of in-jokes about other books." Which goes a long way toward explaining why it didn't work for me.

1) Because, of the authors mentioned whose work is being joked upon or referenced or whatever, I've read very little to none at all, and therefore would be quite the opposite of the intended audience, if, as I would presume, the audience is intended to get the jokes and/or references.

2) I just really dislike this kind of homework prerequisite reading thing. Zelazny did the same thing with A Night In The Lonesome October, and even though I had read much more of the referenced and hinted at works he incorporated into his story, and so should have been more "in the know" and thus able to enjoy it more, I didn't. I don't read that way. I am not analyzing every line looking for something else - I'm looking for the author to tell me a story. And this kind of storytelling is both lazy and too much work at the same time, if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong, I like easter eggs in books. I do. I like little references that people in the know will get and have a little something added... it's nice. I like it. But, in my opinion, it should just be that - a little something nice added. People who don't get the reference should not even notice it, because the story is standing on its own legs and is complete without it. If the story doesn't make sense ON ITS OWN, and if I need to have read an entire genre or two's worth of books just to follow the events in your story - I'm not going to enjoy it. I don't read to interpret A to be a reference to X from book Q and need to know X from Q's history to understand what A is doing in your book. I just want a good fucking story. Tell me one, and get on with it.

But about the book itself, I dunno what to say. It didn't feel like a novel, which was how I approached it, it felt like a set of stories just sharing some characters and a general world setting. I think trying to read it as a novel, looking for the overarching story from page 1 to page 200-whatever, set me up for failure as well. If I had read this as each chapter being a vignette story, that would probably have been better.

Likewise, it just seemed to forget some of the conflicts that were raised. In the beginning of the book, the Patriarch (or whatever he's called) threatens Rincewind with death if anything untoward should happen to Twoflower the tourist... but that passes like a leaf in the wind and nothing ever comes of it and is never mentioned again. In fact, every danger is just gone as soon as its gone. There's no follow-up, there's no consequences... heck, most of the time there's no rational, logical reason that anything happens (or doesn't happen) in the first place. And that is one of my least favorite things. I hate when there are no rules and anything and everything and the kitchen sink are just possible because why not? It's WHIMSICAL! -_-

Grrrrr. So annoying. It was like 200 pages of deus ex machina.

I didn't care about any of the characters I think I was meant to care about. I liked Death, and the Luggage. I was rooting for them both to take their due from Rincewind. Maybe next book. By all accounts, the Discworld books get better, and I'll probably go along and hope for that, but my patience has thinned quite a lot. I'll give this series another chance, but if it continues on this way - with the references and the deus ex machina in place of proper storytelling, and the unfunny (because man, I didn't even crack a smile!), I'm writing it off. Life is too short.

2 Stars for POTENTIAL, and I'm being generous here.
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Reading Progress

05/29/2011
15.0%
05/30/2011
15.0% "Putting this one on hold... the formatting of the ebook edition is really making this confusing to read. =\"
01/07/2014 marked as: to-read_ebook
01/07/2014 marked as: to-read_ebook
06/21/2014 marked as: currently-reading
06/23/2014
74.0% "Umm... 'kay... O_o"
06/24/2014
74.0% "".... they sought constantly to understand in every possible particular the wondrous complexity of the universe, and the way in which sailors marooned on the Circumfence were turned into slaves, and usually had their tongues cut out."

That bold bit there was left out of my ebook copy, and makes quite a difference. Now I'm wondering what ELSE has been left out. Dammit."
06/24/2014
90.0% "Seriously, this is dragging now. Please end, book. I'm ready to move on."
06/24/2014 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Chris Interesting. Hope you like it. I read it a couple of years ago but I don't remember a lot of it.


Becky Chris wrote: "Interesting. Hope you like it. I read it a couple of years ago but I don't remember a lot of it."

Thanks... I'm hoping I like it too... I read the prologue so far and I'm not sure I get everything, but hey... maybe it'll make sense later. LOL


Chris Do you have The Light Fantastic? I've heard that it picks up where this one leaves off. Most of the Discworld novels stand alone though, other than that.


Becky I have the whole series on my nook...


Chris Do you think you'll go on past this one? Or do you have a plan yet?


Becky I plan to read them all -- or at least until I stop liking them... but as far as a schedule? Not so much...


Chris OK. I'll keep tabs on your progress then.....


Becky LOL OK. :)


Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) They get better too!


message 10: by Trudi (new)

Trudi "But, in my opinion, it should just be that - a little something nice added. People who don't get the reference should not even notice it, because the story is standing on its own legs and is complete without it."

A million times yes!


Amanda I just really dislike this kind of homework prerequisite reading thing.

Amen.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who found this underwhelming. While I've read and enjoyed other Pratchett books, I have yet to read anything else from the Discworld series because I fear another brush with mediocrity.


Becky Amanda wrote: "I just really dislike this kind of homework prerequisite reading thing.

Amen."


It's really frustrating! I am all for being well-read, but I don't think that this kind of thing would be properly appreciated by very many people, at least not in the way that the author surely hoped it would be. Maybe some will get it, but I just don't really see the point of potentially putting off so many people you want to buy and read your books.

Reference those books as an addition to the story, not in place of it. *sigh*

Anyway, I do plan to continue... I'll let you know if it is the right decision or not later. ;)


Amanda Becky wrote: "It's really frustrating! I am all for being well-read, but I don't think that this kind of thing would be properly appreciated by very many people, at least not in the way that the author surely hoped it would be. Maybe some will get it, but I just don't really see the point of potentially putting off so many people you want to buy and read your books."

What really irritates me is when they're not clearly marketed as such. If it's some sort of literary "six degrees of separation" connect-the-dots game, I want to know it up front. So I can avoid it.


Becky Very true. These kinds of books always make me feel stupid and under-read. And considering that I read pretty fucking widely in a lot of genres, that's not good. Imagine how someone would feel if they barely read anything but they have that One Friend (you know the one) who is like "OMG! Discworld is great. You'll LOVE IT."

So they try it, get this book that is all over the place, doesn't have a coherent plot, and just doesn't make sense unless you've read a lot of 'classic' books in fantasy & sci-fi, and they think "Yep, I'll just go rent the movies."

I don't get it.


message 15: by Eric (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eric The Luggage was my favorite character too! And I also found this disappointing. I read a later Discworld book -- Snuff -- and it was much better, so there is hope.


Becky Eric wrote: "The Luggage was my favorite character too! And I also found this disappointing. I read a later Discworld book -- Snuff -- and it was much better, so there is hope."

Yes! Hope! Awesome.

...Wait. Snuff is book 39. Shit.

O_o


message 17: by Eric (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eric Yeah, it was on Kindle sale for 99c, so I skipped 37 books ahead... I regret nothing.


Becky LOL I see....


message 19: by Mark (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mark G Pretty much my thoughts on this book exactly
"It didn't feel like a novel, which was how I approached it, it felt like a set of stories just sharing some characters and a general world setting"

at least it was short.


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