Tag Archives: Death Story Arc in The Discworld Series

Soul Music

This is a review of “Soul Music” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 16th novel in The Discworld Series and the 3rd novel in the Death Story Arc. It follows on, story-arc wise from “Reaper Man” but it can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Susan Sto Helit is a no-nonsense teenaged girl. She’s a bit strange. Her hair is mostly white and she can disappear at will. She’s an orphan and attends the Quirm College for Young Ladies. She’s about to find out who her grandfather is, and he’s definitely not like all the other grandads (his knees are too bony for one). He is Death. And he wants to forget. While he’s trying to accomplish this, it’s up to Susan to fulfil the Deathly duties. But she’s got a lot to learn.

Imp y Celyn is a musician, a bard from Llamedos. He’s decided to seek his fortune in Ankh Morpork. He soon discovers that to play music in the city, he must first become a member of the Musician’s Guild. He finds he cannot afford the joining fee. He meets Lias, a troll and Glod, a dwarf who have the same predicament. Together they form an illicit band. Imp’s harp is inadvertently destroyed and he buys a guitar as a replacement at a rather mysterious Music Shop. The music they make is like no other ever heard befor on the Discworld. It’s music with rocks in.

Music with rocks in has a profound effect on anyone who hears it. The wizards are certainly affected. The Dean becomes quite rebellious and wears besequinned leather robes. The Librarian plays the Organ and Piano like a man (erm Ape) possessed. Archancellor Ridcully knows there’s something not quite right with the music. It’s not magic, but it’s not…right.

When Imp has an appointment with Death (well … Susan), things don’t turn out the way they were meant to.

This novel was very entertaining and humorous. I really liked Susan, she’s my type of girl. It was amusing to read all of Pratchett’s very clever allusions to famous Rock Bands and songs, and it was fun trying to decipher the song titles and band names. There is a cartoon adaptation of “Soul Music”, and they used to air it on the ABC channel here in Australia quite late in the afternoon in the mid to late nineties. The image of the four elephants holding up the Discworld and riding on the back of the Great Sky Turtle A’Tuin will always remain with me.

Onwards I travel in my quest to read all of Pratchett’s Discworld novels.


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This is a review of “Mort” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 4th novel in The Discworld Series and the first novel in the Death Story Arc.

Mort is an odd young man. He is gangly and awkward and thinks too much. His father takes him to the local job fair, where boys are taken on by masters of many different trades to become apprentices.

Mort waits with the other boys in the marketplace. One by one they all leave, until Mort is the only one left. He refuses to lose hope, and insists on waiting until midnight before leaving. Miraculously, a tall and mysterious stranger turns up looking for a likely apprentice.

It is Death.

Yes. Death. Skeletal fellow with cowl and scythe; harvester of mankind. Mort becomes Death’s apprentice. He leaves the marketplace to go and dwell in Death’s own Kingdom, where time does not exist, but two other humans do. Albert and Ysabell.

Albert is Death’s manservant, an old man who loves cooking greasy food and hates people prying into his past. Ysabell is Death’s daughter. Adopted of course.

Mort listens to his master and does his duties. He goes out on business with Death. This he finds hard. Some people don’t really deserve to die in his opinion (which doesn’t come into it at all). And he impulsively “saves “a rather attractive princess whose life was meant to end.

But Mort has disturbed reality and caused ripples that will take a very long time to heal. And history wants to proceed as planned.

What is Mort to do?

Meanwhile, Death finds that it’s rather nice to have an apprentice. It means he can take a day or two off here and there…

A humorous and entertaining novel.


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