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(P) ISIS Publishing Ltd, 1995; Copyright © Terry and Lyn Pratchett, 1987; Cover Illustration © Josh Kirby
So while not a DIEHARD discworld fan, I do enjoy Pratchett's work and this was my fourth in the series but by far the best one so far! Each one is pretty free standing and while The Color of Magic is the first one written, no one says you HAVE to start with that one...Start with MORT and you'll for sure read more of them!!!
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Mort is the fourth of Terry Pratchett’s DISCWORLD novels. It stands alone, meaning that you don’t need to read the previous novels to enjoy Mort. It’s better than the previous novels, too, so it might be a good place for new readers to start.
Mortimer is a naïve but pensive — and therefore slightly odd — young man who doesn’t fit in with his farming community. It looks like he’s going to be jobless until Death arrives and chooses him as an apprentice. Why does Death need an apprentice? He has become bored with his immortal life and wants to travel to Ankh-Morpork so he can experience some humanity.
After only a little bit of training, Mort is left in charge. His job is to collect the souls of people who are about to depart the mortal world. When Mort becomes infatuated with a princess who’s about to die, he can’t stop himself from interfering with her death and he manages to “royally” screw things up. With the help of Death’s adopted daughter Ysabell, Mort must figure out how to put the princess and the world back right again, all without neglecting to do his job.
Unlike the three previous DISCWORLD novels, Pratchett has almost everything right in Mort. The characters are quirky and vibrant, especially Death. (Almost all of the characters are new to this story, though Rincewind the bumbling wizard makes a cameo appearance.) The plot of Mort is exciting and fast-moving, and the humor is truly funny. Especially entertaining is Death’s search for happiness. He tries many of the things he sees humans doing for fun (e.g., getting drunk, gambling, doing the Conga at a party) and can’t figure out why they’re so appealing. He keeps telling himself he’s having FUN, but he can’t quite convince himself. Pratchett is really making FUN of us, of course, and most readers will probably find themselves wondering, along with Death, what exactly “FUN” is.
There’s a completely unbelievable romance in Mort, but that’s unlikely to bother most readers — we’re not reading Terry Pratchett for romance, are we? In fact, the more ridiculous, the better in a DISCWORLD novel, and Mort is definitely ridiculous.
There are several allusions to our own world in Mort, making us wonder just what the relationship is between our world and the Discworld. I think some readers will be intrigued by these allusions while others will find that they momentarily throw the reader out of the story.
I listened to the audio version of Mort which was produced by Isis Audio Books and narrated by Nigel Planer who does a wonderful job, as usual.
Avid mystery/sci-fi/fantasy reader and listener (love to listen to good books by good narrators on the treadmill, when out walking, or on the train).
(Disclaimer: I am likely one of the biggest Terry Pratchett fans on the Disc, so take the review in that context.) This is one of my favorite early stories of the Discworld, and I have read and listened to it several times over the years. Like "Sourcery" that follows in the series, it manages to give a detailed and fascinating introduction to the universe of Great A'Tuin, without you knowing that you're being lead on the journey. Mort's (and Death's) journeys of growth and enlightenment are just plain fun to experience. And, Nigel Planer is one of the best narrators I've ever heard. My only problem with this recording is that the "reverb" of Death's voice (used in future recordings) is missing.
Audiobooks are my workaround to the pesky laws forbidding reading while driving. And I'm pretty sure my dog likes them too.
Death is one of my favorite characters in the Discworld series. He is second only to The Luggage. I have discovered that the reason for this is that these characters, especially The Luggage without his own dialogue or facial expressions, require Pratchett to be more creative and bring out the best in his wit. "Mort" is all about Death. And his apprentice, of course.
Maybe I was coming off the hangover from suffering through "Equal Rites," causing me to laugh at anything remotely funny, or that was better than the third installation of the Discworld series --- but, geez was "Mort" funny! You are greeted with old characters: Death, Isabelle, and even Rincewind at one point, and new ones: Mort, Albert, the princess, and Cutwell.
Without going into much detail, Mort becomes Death's apprentice and hilarity ensues. The young Mort struggles with suddenly being thrust into Death's "There is no justice, there is just me" world and his mistakes have grave consequences for the Discworld and for Death.
I most enjoyed reading (hearing?) about Death's escapades while Mort took over the Deathly duties. Death desperately wanted a break from "Death-ing" and Pratchett's descriptions of Death's interactions with the world at large are unrivaled.
If you enjoy lighthearted hilarity mixed with a strong morbid theme, combined with Pratchett's signature wit, you will love this next installment of the Discworld series. And thankfully, Nigel Planer has returned to guide us through this world in a way that only he can.
A hilarious book! Terry Pratchett's fantasy world is dirty, sordid, badly governed and full of marginal magicians, assassins, thieves, grifters, and a few honest people (including Death and his new apprentice) trying to make a living in it all. The narrator is brilliant; using different voices and accents, he draws the characters so vividly you can practically see them.
A perfect match between the narrator and the book - brilliantly entertaining and funny, this is one audiobook you will want to hear many times over. But beware, it might get you hooked on discworld books even if you don't usually read from this genre..
I love the way Death is personified by Terry Pratchett and I prefer Nigel Planer's narration to the others. Planer adds a humorous, heart-warming touch to the socially awkward Death. While I do not listen to the stories in order, I'm glad I listened to this one early on since Susan pops up in later books.
I wish I understood how an author can be so clever so often and create an entire multiverse.
I love this book, it was just extremely convenient to listen to it while driving, rather than read it. I enjoyed the voice of Death very much.
Death, I think. I really like Mort, but I love that Death tries his hand at Life.
This is the first one, but I loved his voice. I can still hear him in my head!!
Where Death comes to Life
Very enjoyable, humorous book. British humor, of course, which makes it even funnier for me.
This book has the usual Terry Pratchett magic, and the performance by Nigel Planer brings out the sense of fun better than I'd have expected. He's really an ideal reader for Discworld novels and I hope to hear more of him. Mort is a lovable character...but no one can take the place of Death in my heart.
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