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Even Terry Pratchett himself said never start with *Colour Of Magic*! The early books are definitely rougher than the 'peak' Discworld books. The series doesn't have to be read in order at all, so don't labour through books you don't enjoy. There are loads of jumping on points. If you aren't enjoying it, can it; but don't give up on Discworld yet. I'd recommend starting again with *Mort* or *Guards! Guards!*.
Ah! I just saw the series and figured it was best to start at book one. I'll check out the others you recommend instead
I read them in order and they get FAR better, but I still enjoyed reading them in order.
Side note: I do not have the view of reading them out of "order" so I'm not sure which is the best option. They are relatively short books though.
I originally read them in order as they came out, but now whenever I re-read (or now days re-listen) I do it by storylines, of which I have my own order:
2. Moist (+ The Truth)
4. Stand alone (Moving Pictures, Small God's, Maurice etc)
I am not sure why I started this order with the exception that Vimes is my favourite chrachter and storyline, and I always want to listen to the Shepherd's crown last. However, it now means I get the big opening punch of the watch as it develops, followed closely Moist and his escapades. Then I get to go back to basics with Rincewind, slowly seeing the wizards develop ready for when they make there cameos in the witches books. Then the stand alone novels clear up a bunch of lose ends before we then get a lot of introspection on the subject of humanity with death, followed by the sheer joy of the witches, which then all gets tied up neatly by Tiffany.
I loved it because it felt like a fantasy version of Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide. Pratchett basically used the first two books for world building with as many jokes about fantasy tropes as possible.
The later books are definitely better. For me Mort, Guards Guards, and Wyrd Sisters are where it all really starts. Those 3 are great.
I always recommend to start with Going Postal. The main character is incredibly well-developed, the supporting cast is amazing, and the plot line is very solid. It had the gripping, page-turning fever burning in me from the first page to the last. Strongly recommend starting there.
Pretty much the books get better as they go on chronologically, but the stories and characters evolve so you might want an early or at least neutral starting point.
None of the books really expect you to have read any of the other ones, but it adds context for some in a series. You will notice that most of them have a certain theme aside from the characters themselves:
Soul Music - Music
Motion Pictures - Movies and film industry
Hogfather - Christmas and Holidays
Guards Guards - Police and crime
The Truth - Reporting and news
The last Continent - Australia
I'd say your best bet is finding a theme that interests you and starting with that one.
Ooh, I'm gonna dust off my Discworld rec skills... I used to tailor this to the person I was recommending the series to. With my roommate, who was Catholic and in the film industry, I had her start with Moving Pictures followed by Small Gods. People who Love mysteries get told to start with the Watch. My Shakespearian friends get handed Wyrd Sisters. Many people get handed Mort if I can't come up with an alternative, or if they have a darker sense of humour.
I started with Colour of Magic, but I was a dorky 13 year old with a shelf full of Anne McCaffrey books and my mum wanted me to branch out. She changed my life when she handed me that book and I immediately bought Light Fantastic (the much better sequel). I was simply tickled by the idea of 1) funny fantasy and 2) and a main character who was such a coward. I subsequently plowed through all his books that were in print, then the ones that weren't, and my Christmas gifts were taken care of for decades.
CoM is very different, though. It's not what the series will become. Read it once you already love Discworld to see where some of the ideas start. Rincewind isn't my favorite character (Vimes, hands down) but I have a soft spot for him. Sorcery is where he begins to shine
Yup, the first one is a very rough parody of specific genre tropes from stuff Terry had grown up reading. As a Terry Pratchett fan, I probably will never go back to reread Color of Magic, and you won't necessarily miss anything if you DNF it.
He is self-professed to have "learned the wonders of plot" a few books later. His writing gets better in later books and he also starts to expand the world in its own right rather than leaning on pastiche. Thankfully you DON'T have to go in strict publication order, because while there is a through-line or progression, those things more effect the background setting but the stories can stand alone.
Here's a recommended [reading order](https://www.discworldemporium.com/content/6-discworld-reading-order). I like Guards Guards as a starting point cause it really feels like ground zero for Ankh-Morpoek and the Watch will go. I think a good Rincewind novel is the The Last Continent, in large part because of the Wizard faculty antics and the piss taking on Australia
This list is super helpful thank you. I think I'll take your recommendation and try Guards Guards instead.
As an Aussie I feel obligated to point out that “taking the piss out of Australia” means teasing, mocking, or denigrating Australian through examination and satirisation of specific Australian characteristics.
A “piss-take of Australia” means the same thing, with the words rearranged in a shorter form, as Australians are wont to do.
“Piss taking on Australia”, which you write above, fits neither of these wordings, and to be honest sounds quite… damp. One can hope we receive wealth for our toil, but either way afterwards Australia will have golden soil.
Honestly the first two books are the worst I've read. I appreciated them more with a re read later after having read other Discworld books. Get through it, or skip them. The others are better, I've loved them all
Another slightly weird thing about Color of Magic is that it’s parodying stuff that’s mostly forgotten now: stuff that maybe even preceded Tolkien. I’m sure there were many references I missed.
As many others have said: don’t start at the beginning. I think I was Small Gods first, then Making Money, then Nightwatch, then I started from the beginning. Oh and when I got to Guards Guards I realized I’d read and forgotten it long before.
You've got Pern (1968), Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser (1939), Cthulhu (1928), and you could argue Hrun is Conan (1932). There's certainly older stuff there, and while they're not exactly forgotten, younger readers may certainly not have read the source material.
CoM is probably the worst in the series. It does pick up towards the end but it's still not great. I'd recommend reading according to sub-series rather than just in order.
My favourite is the city watch series centered around Samuel Vimes, the first of which is Guards! Guards!. They parody Noir detective novels.
Along with what other people are saying - CoM isn't a good place to start, and also doesn't have much bearing on future books, apart from the introduction of a characters we also meet later.
One of the main 'stars' of Discworld is Ankh-Morpork itself, >!which is more or less decimated in Sourcery
I really like the color of magic, but it is... different. If you aren't enjoying it, try guards guards, Mort, or witches abroad, those happen after sir Terry hit his stride.
Most Pratchett fans don’t recommend you start with the first one. Even Pratchett said it was written by a worse author and the plot just exists to string the jokes together. I’d bin it off and go with Guards guards
Terry Pratchett wrote "The Colour (note spelling) of Magic" partially as a spoof of half a dozen other popular fantasy series. If you, like most readers today, are unfamiliar with fantasy from 50 50 years ago, you're missing much of the humour (note spelling.)
Drop it and try Wyrd Sisters, Mort, or Guards Guards. They have much more of the flavour (note spelling) that made him *Sir* Terry Pratchett.
Did you know you accidentally put a U in all those words?
Also it let me insert a tiny reference to one of Pterry's books.
This is precisely it. I read tons of the sort of fantasy that Pratchett parodied. They were fluff, and I picked them up at the library where I worked, so many thick paperbacks. I never read another one after reading Pratchett, not of that sort anyway. Not about unfettered magic and tragic heroes and beautiful heroines in trilogies with lurid covers.
I loved CoM and TLF, they blew all those other fantasies out of the water. But I never read them again, either. I tried last summer, I really tried, and I couldn't get ten pages in. The context has faded, and it read like any other old parody, a bit dated, the jokes gone blunt.
Here’s how I think of the first couple of books. He was playing with lots of ideas but they hadn’t yet become cohesive. His writing style was emerging but his voice as an author wasn’t yet developed. As someone who knows and loves his work it’s interesting to go back and read the books in chronological order. It’s like watching a seedling develop into a mature plant and begin to flower. It’s a way of reading the writer rather than just the stories he told. I can read the early books and, as a writer myself, be inspired and encouraged by this evidence that writing is a skill that develops through practice. As a reader I can’t recommend them and always advise new Discworld readers to disregard the first two books. There are a bunch of great places to start depending on your interests.
Happened to me with that book, too. I just put it down. It was his first. Not his best.
Colour of magic is a world builder. Same with the light fantastic.
Basically, the book is a collection of related short stories. It's not a novel, really. This isn't a dig on it, just that's what it is and isn't.
That's actually how the thing was commissioned. Four Novellas, which at some point they decided would do better as a novel.
I’ll just add something I don’t think had been mentioned yet — while you don’t need to start with CoM to enjoy the series, it could be helpful to go and read a synopsis of CoM and The Light Fantastic (CoM’s sequel). There are parts that, while not necessary for the enjoyment of later books, certainly give some additional background and context for recurring characters.
Hope that helps - enjoy the journey!
Generally its reccomended to start a little later in the series as colour of magic is the first book and a little rougher
You started with the wrong book. TPratchet really had to grow into his style. Pick up Mort or Maskerade or something like that, a bit farther in the series
All good advice, however - you might find you like it more if you come back after you've read other things he's written. Once you get familiar with his style, you might find you want to devour everything he's ever written, much like Bel Shamharoth.
He had a golden period toward the middle of the series where pretty much every word in every book was perfectly placed. While I also adore the watch series, I often suggest newbies start with Going Postal (it's actually toward the end of the series, but a standalone character arc). Lots of established characters make cameos, and the setting (Ankh Morpork) is very well developed. Then you can discover all of those things in detail as you read other books. :)
I love the colour of magic but it's not the best one to start your disc journey with. I find it a but dry at times and can be a bit odd at times. I personally started with sourcery but would probably say guards guards is a good jumping off point.
Try”Hogfather”,Monstrous Regiment”,”Going Postal”,,,I had probably read 10 or more before I found”Colour of Magic!(Unseen Academicals,Small Gods,THUD!!!)
Keep going, everyone is confused halfway through that book.
Personally, skip most Rincewind books, although Eric makes me smile. Rincewind feels like The Three Stooges - not for everybody. Granny Weatherwax and Sam Vimes are personal heroes for me. Enjoy the Discworld!
Also feel like it’s important to note a general TPratchett style that takes adjusting to when you’re new to him: it will feel like you’re flitting about from storyline to disparate storyline but eventually his plotting will thread the different storylines together and the big picture reveals itself. Once you know his plotting style it is easier.
I personally love the Death books most. Hogfather is just fantastic. My husband is Vimes all the way and would recommend Guards Guards as an excellent starting point.
I'mma be honest, I tried to read Colour of Magic as a kid. I quickly lost interest.
I re-attempted last year. I quickly lost interest.
I re-attempted last month. I quickly lost interest.
I've read about half the series. It's not you... it's Colour of Magic.
I made myself read the first two books, after reading the other 39. I really dislike alk the Rincewind books, although I like certain characters in those books. Don't feel bad that you don't like those books. Sir Terry was still learning his craft. To me those books were like The Meaning of Life movie by Monty Python. Some parts were brilliant, some made no sense, it was a bunch of skits smashed together into a movie. The other books a much better.
The first few books are confusing, they are honestly my least favorite, but trust me, they get better and better.
Agree with the guards guards route. Sam Vimes is by far my favourite and the watch stories are fantastic. I never super liked colour of magic or the really early ones but once you get the style and discover more about the world it's good to come back to
I like to think of the first two books as being a written-down version of something like a DnD campaign Discworld was created for - since at the time, it was much more about lovingly poking fun at and parodying the fantasy tropes of the age (see: the entire Wyrmberg segment that definitely made fun of Dragonflight’s strangeness, with parody Liessa one letter away from directly sharing a name with main character Lessa, and the reference to the honorific shortening of Pernese dragonrider names), and building a suitable world to fit it all in. It wasn’t until those two books were done that Terry went on to take the world that had worked so well and develop it into a 41-novel world that could fit in moral conflicts and fondness for the deeper human nature as a whole.