Thursday, May 31, 2012


Title: Mort
Author: Terry Pratchett
List: #65 on BBC Top 100
Worth reading? Yes.

After I read The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett’s first book in the Discworld series, I wasn’t sure that I would try any of the other thirteen Discworld books on the list. But then I wasn’t sure what to read next, and everything at my local library’s eBook site had a long wait, and Mort became available. So I read it. And, I enjoyed it.

I think the big difference between Mort and The Colour of Magic is that Mort actually has a plot. It tells the story of Mort, a young man who becomes Death’s apprentice. Mort, of course, manages to cause trouble and the story is concerned with fixing Mort’s mess. The existence of a plot makes Terry Pratchett’s apparently characteristically humorous tone work just like it did in Good Omens. And that confirms the hypothesis I made in my The Colour of Magic post that the humorous tone only works with a plot, because without one, the tone just becomes annoying.

Another important thing to note is that Mort appears to be a standalone novel. Technically, it is the fourth book in the Discworld series, but other than the fact that it takes place on Discworld, nothing revealed in The Colour of Magic has any bearing on the events in Mort. (I should also mention that I skipped over books two and three because they didn’t make it on the BBC list.) Now, the reason Mort seems to be a standalone novel could have to do with the fact that, at least according to Wikipedia, the novels can be grouped together into grand story arcs dealing with a set number of characters and events. For example, The Colour of Magic apparently falls in the “Rincewind” story arc and Mort falls into the “Death” story arc. (Rincewind does have a brief cameo in Mort and Death apparently makes at least a brief appearance in almost every Discworld novel.) So, maybe, I will enjoy other books in the “Death” story arc more (assuming they are on the BBC list) because I learned the background of the characters in Mort.

And here I have written way more about a Terry Pratchett novel than I expected I would write back in February after I finished The Colour of Magic. And I have to admit that I am sort of looking forward to reading more Terry Pratchett novels, at least if they fall into the “Death” story arc. I hope I will not be disappointed, but for now, I can say that yes, Mort is worth reading.

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