This is a review of “Reaper Man” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 11th novel in The Discworld Series and the 2nd novel in the Death Story Arc. It follows on (story arc wise) from “Mort” but it can be read as a stand alone novel.
The Auditors are strange beings who audit The Discworld, ensuring that everything obeys The Rules. Death has begun to develop a personality. The Auditors think that this stops him from performing his duty correctly. So they send him off to live a normal life like everyone else. So Death assumes the name Bill Door and works for old Miss Flitworth on her farm, harvesting her crop and performing the duties of a farm hand.
But while Death is otherwise preoccupied, humans have no-one to perform their deathly duties. Life force begins to build, and poltergeist activity, ghosts and undead abound. Mrs Cake, a medium (more like a small actually) tries to inform the wizards at Unseen University of this. Windle Poons, a recently deceased wizard, finds he is not as dead as he would like to be. (He was really looking forward to being reincarnated.) Being undead sucks. His friends keep trying to bury him. He attends a meeting for The Fresh Start Club, a club for undead rights.
The Fresh Start Club has vampires, a zombie, a bogeyman and a were-man (a wolf who turns into a wolf man every full moon. Strange little orbs keep popping up in the city of Ankh-Morpork. What they are, nobody knows. They seem to contain tiny cities. There’s just something not quite right about them. What are they? Will Death remain Bill Door until he well, dies? Will Windle Poons remain undead forevermore?
This was like all Terry Pratchett books, very entertaining. It had some wonderful quotes, clever puns and interesting themes: death, shopping malls, fringe groups and minority rights movements. Sometimes Mrs Cake agitated me, her precognition was, while very clever, a bit annoying and confusing. I liked the sweetness of Bill Door/Death at the end. I will continue on in my quest to complete all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Novels.