Mort: (Discworld Novel 4) (Discworld Novels) Paperback – 18 Nov 1988
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"A sequence of unalloyed delight" (Guardian)
"'Pratchett is a comic genius'" (Daily Express)
"'Pratchett's humour takes logic past the point of absurdity and round again, but it is his unexpected insights into human morality that make the Discworld series stand out'" (Times Educational Supplement)
"'Cracking dialogue, compelling illogic and unchained whimsy... Pratchett has a subject and a style that is very much his own'" (The Sunday Times)
"'He is screamingly funny. He is wise. He has style'" (Sunday Telegraph)
Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found that romantic longings did not mix easily with the responsibilities of being Death's apprentice.See all Product description
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I have enjoyed all four books I have now read in the series, and although this one is perhaps a little better plotted and paced, I would urge you to read them in order, as they make more sense that way. There are some great characters - Death is a wonderful creation - and many events do actually make you stop and think. Certainly Discworld is imaginary, but imagined worlds always allow authors to reflect on our own, real world.
I have NEVER read a Terry Pratchett novel before and was curious to find out why he had become a top selling author. Fantasy novels are NOT my regular reading genre but like Real Ales, I like to try different ones to see if I like them.
There are 40 novels in the Discworld series, they do NOT have to be read in sequence and are all stand-alones. Why did I chose Discworld #4 as my first book? Unashamedly, it was on special offer for just 99p and the price was right!
Mort was written in 1987, so I wondered what a book written over 30 years ago has to offer. Well, Discworld is a fantasy planet, so very different from Earth. Discworld is flat and rides on the back of four giant elephants who stand on the shell of the enormous star turtle Great A’Tuin, and which is bounded by a waterfall that cascades endlessly into space.
Mort is a fantasy tale involving wizards, magic and spells. There are 5 central characters in this tale, the main being Mort, a young lad moving into the world of work. Death is his boss and the tone of his speech is one of authority and appears “IN CAPITALS”. His daughter also has a role to play, so has a princess and a wizard. There is one animal taking a vital role, it is a horse. This is not any old horse but a special horse that belongs to Death which can fly into the air to travel extensive distances across Discland at great speed. This horse has great power and is very strong because later in the story Mort, Death’s daughter, the princess and the wizard climb onto its back and fly away! Oh yeah, whatever, this is a fantasy.
No time period is mentioned but the feel is of the dark middle ages. There is no mention of technology or modern infrastructures, far far away from our modern obsession with social media, smartphones, cars and CCTV. Yet the dialogue and attitudes between characters is relatively contemporary. For example…
The piercing blue eyes glittered at him. He looked back like a nocturnal rabbit trying to outstare the headlights of a sixteen-wheeled artic whose driver is a twelve-hour caffeine freak outrunning the tachometers of hell.
… Terry Pratchett uses an extensive vocabulary in this novel, it is NOT a children’s book and he uses some obscure and very old words. For a fantasy novel, this range of vocabulary makes for an intelligent and articulate adult read.
Terry creates his scenes with great skill and has a talent for great storytelling. For example…
Ankh- Morpork is as full of life as an old cheese on a hot day, as loud as a curse in a cathedral, as bright as an oil slick, as colourful as a bruise and as full of activity, industry, bustle and sheer exuberant busyness as a dead dog on a termite mound.
….There are odds bits of dry humour scattered through this book, for example…
‘It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,’ he said. ‘Have you thought of going into teaching?’
…So Terry wrote this novel and how did I rate it as a reading experience?
Ah, I thought a change from my usual genres of reading would be a refreshing and delightful change. I found Terry’s writing talent was GOOD but this story LACKED DEPTH. I think Mort is a lightweight tale, which if it was on TV, people would have one eye on the screen and talk over the whole programme. I did not get much out of reading this book. I found the entertainment value was POOR and just continued reading to the very end because that is the type of guy I am. For such a top selling and popular author I was disappointed. I think that Mort is a POOR read and only gets 2 stars from me. I am glad I only paid 99p for this book and that I now know what pleases some people.
I started my Discworld journey with Mort nearly 25 years ago! I enjoyed it this time just as much as I did then. The characters are so vividly written and the Discworld is a truly humorous mirror of our own world.
It saddens me to realise that there will never be another novel by Sir Terry, but being able to revisit the old books is a constant delight.
I do have some on my kindle but I love the paper books too. You can't take a kindle into the bath!
If you've never had the chance to read any of these novels then Mort is a good place to start.
Ok, I admit it. For me, Pratchett can do no wrong. And he doesn't here, either. Why only 4 stars? It should have been longer.
I've read most of the series, but found some of the books lacked a certain spark. Mort is the book I keep coming back to repeatedly, however. It's a great story, told with a phenomenal amount of humor and thought.
Really treasure this book and I'm sure I'll be reading it again very soon.