The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett – An Audio Book Review

Col of magic#


Somewhere between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a magical world not totally unlike our own. Except for the fact that it travels through space on the shoulders of four giant elephants who in turn stand on the shell of an astronomically huge star turtle, of course.

Rincewind is the world’s worst wizard who has just been handed a very important job: to look after the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, their journey across the Disc includes facing robbers, monsters, mercenaries, and Death himself.

And the whole thing’s just a game of the gods that might send them over the edge….


Author: Terry Pratchett

Narrators: Colin Morgan, Peter Serafinowicz, Bill Nighy

Publisher: Penguin

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Discworld #1, Rincewind #1

Running Time: 7hrs 58mins

Audio Release Date: 07/07/2022

My Rating of ‘The Colour of Magic’: 4 out of 5

Purchase: Audible, Amazon



I remember trying to get into Discworld a decade or so ago and having zero interest. Never again, I told myself. But, I find it’s often better to live by the mantra of ‘Never Say Never’. So, when Audible released their brand new versions, narrated by all star casts, of Pratchett’s Discworld novels … it felt like the right time. I was also a tad drawn in by the cool covers. And a fellow book nerd was geninely upset at the thought of my not liking her beloved Discworld series, so I thought I owed it to her, at least, to give the series another go. She did tell me ‘don’t start with Rincewind’, as did many other people. But I’m a sucker for order. So start with Rincewind, I did.

‘Don’t start with Rincewind,’ they said. ‘You’ll not like him,’ they claimed. ‘Come back to him later after getting a feel for the series,’. Naaaaah. 

I don’t know if it’s the audio format with the talented all-star cast lined up for these books, or if it’s just my tastes having changed over the past ten years, but I found myself really liking The Colour of Magic where, when I first tried it all those years ago, it put me off Pratchett for good. 

Never say never, though 🙂

I’m glad I dived back into the world of Discworld. As silly as I find the Flat Earth theory, Discworld is perhaps the only flat earth situation that everyone can agree is pretty neat. You see, Flat Earthers? If you had an absurd idea like a disc being held up by a menagerie of animals, maybe the rest of the world would have taken note. 

My gentle ribbing aside; as much as I enjoyed this (and I really did. Got through it super-quick), and despite my knowing how popular and how many sales the series made, and is no doubt still making, The Colour of Magic leaves me with the thought of ‘Pratchett is onto something good,’ rather than ‘Pratchett is onto a winner.’

Perhaps that’s why all of the ‘don’t start with Rincewind’ comments were so loud and persistent. His arc is good, but not stupendous. Contrary to what a fair few of my friends told me, I did enjoy him as a character. He’s very much the cowardly reluctant hero type character that I’ve enjoyed in other works, so I warmed to him because of that. I also think his pairing with Two Flower is great, as are his interactions with the various different entities he comes into contact with along the way.

My main issue with The Colour of Magic is that it reads like a book written by someone who wasn’t expecting to write many in the series. Pratchett tries to cram so much into this small book, like he’s desperate to show off the weird and wacky world he’s created, but doesn’t think he has very long in order to do it. It left me feeling like it was a book replete with thin plot strands and half-promised adventures, than a book complete with any of the above.

I’m not disappointed by that. I scored it highly and Pratchett obviously did very well for himself with the series. So whatever complaints I have, were obviously minor for the series as a whole. And, to prove that fact, I already have The Light Fantastic downloaded and ready to go. I look forward to starting it and seeing what Rincey gets up to next.

The decision to cast Colin Morgan as the primary narrator was a stroke of absolute genius. His voice works so very well for the style of writing and he does a range of wonderful voices for a variety of different characters. Peter Serafinowicz as Death is a great touch, too. It really does add something to get the very cream of the crop in on such projects. Penguin are no doubt painfully aware that a bad narrator kills your product. So they made sure the words ‘bad’ and ‘narrator’ could never be used to describe their product in a negative way. Bravo, Penguin.


6 thoughts on “The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett – An Audio Book Review

  1. Lol surprised to see you rate it so high, but I’m glad you had a better experience with a Discworld book this time. I’ll have to check out these new audio versions.


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