Monday, September 16, 2013


Mort (Discworld, #4)Mort by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In a previous review of Pratchett's The Color of Magic, I speculated that I might have become jaded since high school. I noted that I enjoyed that book, but it was not as hilarious as I had remembered it, initially. There will be no such danger with Mort, meaning, I probably won't be re-reading it. Again, this one was funny, but not hilarious, and more cutesy than clever.

Still, it has its moments, the best of which, I thought, was the interchange between the Sun Emperor and his Grand Vizier, a game of wits, really, and a contest in the manipulation of societal niceties to one's lethal advantage. Death's own search for what it means to be human was very funny and almost poignant, though the lure of mortal banality was idealized with a bit too much treacle.

I will give Pratchett one thing, though: he understands teenage awkwardness. I thought the book really hit its stride when Mort's unrequited love of Keli and Ysabell's growing fondness of Mort lead to a few uncomfortable moments. Again, these themes are almost emotive enough to be compelling. But Ysabell's sudden switch from being annoyed by Mort's very presence to her fawning on Mort, with no real indication of why she changed, left me feeling just a little cheated.

I'll admit it - I like Pratchett best when he's off-subject. His little asides are what make this book enjoyable. The plot line is fairly flat, with big ideas that go unrealized. But it's the little ideas that I love and that make this a book worth reading, like valuable gems in a rather ordinary diadem. I'll search out another Discworld book, maybe two, looking for those same gems. But I can't say that I'm dazzled by Discworld . . . yet.

View all my reviews


  1. I hadn't read Pratchett until I read The Wee Free Men to my son. We were hooked by that one. I read most of the Discworld books (aloud) to him. In fact, they were the last books I read before he got too old (boo hoo!) to have his mom read to him every night. That makes the books even more special to me. I met Pratchett briefly at Worldcon in 2004. I was working a shift at the Broad Universe table and he wandered by. I hadn't read anything by him so I couldn't gush like a fan girl. The conversation was "Are they treating you well as GoH? Do you get any time to yourself to have fun?" He seemed to find that funny. :)

    1. I've heard he's very personable. I could sense that from his writing. Good fun.


    There's a guide to how the books are thematically grouped (you've probably seen these). I liked the Witch books and the Watch books best. Of the Death books, Soul Music is my favorite. It's Pratchett's send up of Rock-n-Roll.

    From a writer perspective, I think Monstrous Regiment is an interesting piece on How to Hide Information From Your Reader Without Cheating or Making the Reader Mad When She Finally Figures Out That it Was There All Along. Really. I won't say any more about that.

    1. I hadn't seen that! Like I said, I'm going to give one or two more a read, but I doubt I'll ever read them all. I'm not a big fan of series (says they guy who's currently reading volume 2 of a 3 volume series). :)