Soul Music (Discworld #16)
By: Terry Pratchett
Format/Source: Paperback; was a Christmas gift
There’s no getting away from it. From whichever angle, death is a horrible, inescapable business. But someone’s got to do it. So if Death decides to take a well-earned moment to uncover the meaning of life and discover himself in the process, then there is going to be a void of specific dimensions that needs to be occupied, particularly so when there is trouble brewing in Discworld. There aren’t too many who are qualified to fill Death’s footsteps and it certainly doesn’t help the imminent cataclysm that the one person poised between the mortal and the immortal is only sixteen years old.
You can never go wrong picking up a Discworld novel. I found out at the time that I was reading it, of course, that it was also Terry Pratchett day (which coincides with his birthday). Anyway, this is the only Discworld novel left from the Death storyline that I haven’t read so it’s nice to finally get around to reading this book 🙂
Well, this was a pretty fun and hilarious outing in the Discworld universe. I was maybe only a few pages in and I was already cracking up with what was going on, which is a very good thing! From the rise of “music with rocks in it” (lol) to everyone trying to figure out said new music to Death going off because he had to figure things out, it was a pretty fantastic outing.
This is also the first time Susan comes into the story, a sixteen year old girl who inherits Death’s abilities when he goes off. Definitely different from Reaper Man in that death continues to happen and the role of Death isn’t splintered off into different manifestations. We get glimpses of Susan’s life and how her parents had raised her. It shed a lot of light into her character; I was introduced to her from later novels like Thief of Time and I admit, it was hard to warm up to her character (perhaps on purpose given the type of person she is). She’s a fantastic foil to the crazier instances that happens in Discworld and in this case Death’s role, but I feel I have a better understanding now as to why I wasn’t quite as attached to her character: she was raised to be quite logical to the point that, to me, it’s sort of life-sucking the way everything is rationalised, the way she would rationalise things when weird things are happening in front of her. Then I thought of how it’s quite a human trait for us to rationalise things when weird things start happening around us, so yeah, I get why Susan is the way she is but she’s not someone I would hang out with or anything. Nonetheless it was interesting to read and watch her try to take up her grandfather’s job and learn more about him that her parents didn’t talk about.
This is a ridiculously short review/commentary about the book, but Discworld novels are something to experience, really. Things get pretty nutty in this novel in typical Discworld fashion as storylines start colliding and overlapping, but it’s all good fun, and the commentaries and little snappy bites here and there are hilarious (the bit about Imp’s burgeoning band having a bag for all the food that people throw at them and being instructed to catch the eggs as food is food had me chuckling). It definitely feels like a companion piece to Reaper Man and Hogfather as Death once again is in an existential crisis of sorts, but it makes for good entertainment and some thought-provoking moments.