The first Discworld novel written by Terry Pratchett, ‘The Colour of Magic’, is an individual approach that is a humorous change from the normal seriousness of fantasy. His imaginative world is set upon the back of four elephants standing on a giant turtle that is swimming through space. Twoflower, the Disc’s first tourist, overpays Rincewind the failed wizard as a guide in their journey through Discworld.
What they don’t know is that the Gods are controlling their path by playing a board game. The Lady controls Rincewind and Twoflower, against her last opponent, Fate. They face challenge after challenge; Bel-Shamharoth the Soul Eater, dragon riders, falling off of the edge of the disc.
All the while, Twoflower is trying to capture photos with his artistic demon living in a ‘picture box’ and being so overly positive that the cynical Rincewind spends most of his time telling him off.
We meet heroes such as Hrun the barbarian, who agrees to protect Twoflower in exchange for pictures of himself looking mighty. In a twist of plot, Twoflower rescues the barbarian from a beautiful dragon rider and then an annoyed Hrun quickly returns to her.
We even get a glimpse of Death from time to time, lurking at every corner Rincewind gets trapped in. As in Discworld, if you’re a wizard, Death will collect your soul himself instead of sending one of his lackeys.
There doesn’t seem to be a single coherent narrative. It is more of a series of short tales occurring one after the other. The characters draw you in with their unique quirks and the world is described in such detail you can imagine yourself sitting in the middle of everything.
This is the best place to start for any readers yet to experience Pratchett’s work as it explains the background history of the world and characters. It is a must read novel but be warned: once you have read one Discworld novel, you may find yourself reading your way through them all.