Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is my second read. I have dropped the rating from 4 stars to 3 stars
I love Discworld’s Death. He makes any book better by his presence and so I especially love the books that feature Death. In this book Death is the A story. As we’ve seen throughout the previous 10 books, he’s developed a slightly more human personality. There was even that book a while back (Mort, I believe) where Death became a short order cook for a while. Apparently the auditors of reality don’t like this and Death now has a life timer. He ends up living out the rest of his life in a rural town and has a character growth arc.
The B story revolves around the effects of a lack of Death. My recollection of this book involved remember a Death of Mice and other Deaths. Turns out this was the tiniest smidgen of a plot point and didn’t loom as large as it had in my memory. We follow Windle Poons who was introduced, I believe, in Moving Pictures, as a semi-senile Wizard pushed around in the Discworld-equivalent of a wheelchair. Due to Death taking a break, Poons can’t die and essentially becomes a zombie (although without any of the zombie tropes we’re aware of in our real world). While there’s somewhat of an arc with Poons that’s kind of a lamentation of what death robs you of and how we don’t spend enough time in our youth truly paying attention – it’s mostly an excuse for Pratchett to introduce horror elements – vampires, werewolves, etc. He will make great use of this in future books. And there’s a weird plot about shopping malls that I didn’t like the first time and liked even less this time as it seemed too similar to the movie theatre plot of Moving Pictures.
If you like Discworld, read it for Death’s parts. The part with the horror guys and the wizard faculty (which is no longer ever-changing with Ridcully at the helm) are just OK.
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