Review: Mort

Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1)Mort by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my second time reading Mort

I dropped the rating from 5/5 to 4/5 because I’m using the tooltips for the ratings. I really enjoyed this book a lot. In my re-read this is the first tone I have enjoyed without any reservations. But it wasn’t “amazing”.

This is the first Discworld book that can be read completely independantly of the others. Are there some Easter Eggs if you’ve read the first 3 books? Sure. There’s mention of Granny Weatherwax’s Discworld version of “marital aides”. You’ll know why the librarian at the Unseen University is an Orangutang. And this will be the second time you meet Death’s adopted daughter. But, outside of that, this really is a great standalone book. If I wanted to do a survey of British fantasy humor (say I was a University professor), I could assign this book and folks would get the idea without feeling that they were being dropped 4 books into a 30-something book series.

The premise of the book is quite simple – Death takes on an apprentice. But Pratchett takes that simple premise and builds up a relatively deep (considering this is part of a fantasy satire series) exploration of the meaning of life, death, nihilism, fate, etc. We get a good look at the last few minutes of various folks throughout the Disc and each provides a little insight. It may seem a bit maudlin, but while I was reading this book I thought more about evaluating how I was spending my time and making sure I made more time for the wife and kids.

At this point in my re-read, I think I would say that if you want to know whether you should consider the Discworld – read this one first. If you like it, then you’ll probably enjoy most of the Discworld books. At that point it’s up to you whether you go back and read the first 3 or just go from here on out. In my memory, once we get to the end of the next book, Sourcery, Pratchett has figured out that he’s going to do Discworld for the long haul and we start to get a more coherent story that maintains continuity. (Although you can see bits of that settling already with this book)

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