October 07, 2011

Mort by Terry Pratchett

I have to say I liked this book of the Discworld series. Although technically the fourth book in the series, this could be read as a stand-alone quite easily. The only thing you really need to know about Discworld is that its a disc shaped world, held up by four elephants who in turn are on the back of a giant turtle, and it's a magical world.

Mort is kind of hopeless. All lanky limbs and awkward he definitely can't go into the family business, all his hopes as an apprentice are quickly dashed when the job market doesn't yield a prospective employer for him. Then, when all hope is lost, and the clock chimes midnight, Death comes for him. But its ok, really, Death just wants to take him on as an apprentice (although I'm not sure why). He gets to travel back with Death to his home where he meets his man servant Albert (who is more than meets the eye), his daughter Ysabell (very stubborn and willful and who Albert WILL NOT be set up with if he has his way), and of course learns a little more about Death himself.

With all his training comes great responsibility however. When he's not mucking out the stalls for Death's horse he is learning how to be there for important deaths. The training goes so well that Death decides to take a vacation and Mort will be in charge. This doesn't go so well though as Mort doesn't carry through on the death of beautiful princess Keli and throws the whole world askew. With death enjoying himself in the kitchen, he has to figure out a way to restore balance to Discworld.

The characters in this book, with the exception of Death, are only so-so in this book. I didn't really enjoy any of them. More detail would have been greatly appreciated and would have helped develop them better. Ysabell was annoying and Mort was just awkward. Death on the other hand, was fantastic. He was very stoic but also had a unique way of approaching the world that made him absolutely hilarious.

Pratchett's writing was much better in this novel. I found parts funnier than in the other's of his I read and the story came together cohesively. Then he spoiled it with the ending. I don't want to give much away but it was such a cheap way of finishing the story I just couldn't like it. It almost ruined the rest of the book for me.

I look forward to the next book in this series and hope they keep improving. It seems that there is a reason why movies have been made and a large fan base formed for this series, and I'm finally starting to see it.

Copyright 1987
236 pages

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