Colour of Magic, The by Terry Pratchett
With the Color of Magic Pratchett manages to not only create a good fantasy book but also to write an interesting, witty, well-thought satire of the fantasy genre. His mild criticism of the cliches and weak spots of heroic fantasy blends well with the total, umm, "zaniness" that pervades the whole of the Discworld. The novel's Achilles' heel is the last fifty pages or so, when the pace really starts to drag and you begin wishing he would just end the darn thing and move on. But sure enough, as soon as you've asked the question, Rincewind finds a way to answer it -- and in terms of the Color of Magic, it's a unique and piquant answer indeed.
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