Discworld, #4: Mort

Mort
Published 1987
257 pages

My Discworld Challenge:

Over the summer, I committed to reading the Discworld series! I’m starting a new Discworld book on the 1st of each month, going in order of publication date.

Synopsis for Mort:

It is known as the Discworld. It is a flat planet, supported on the backs of four elephants, who in turn stand on the back of the great turtle A’Tuin as it swims majestically through space. And it is quite possibly the funniest place in all of creation…

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. 

My rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

My reaction:

This!

This is the book I most often hear people rave about when the subject of Discworld comes up. Now, I finally see why! Mort offers everything I was hoping for in the Discworld series, and which I haven’t quite gotten up to now.

In Mort, Death is scary, unknowable… and also really funny. When he offers gangly, awkward Mort an apprenticeship, it’s a chance for Mort to make something of himself — but he’s not really convinced that he wants to be Death (or an assistant to Death), since he’s not quite comfortable with not being able to intervene when the deaths they oversee seem unfair or unjust.

Eventually, Death decides to take a few days off and let Mort take over Death duties, so we’re treated to scenes of Death going fly fishing while Mort becomes scarier and suddenly starts talking LIKE DEATH DOES, ALL IN CAPS.

It’s silly and funny and clever. The ending doesn’t necessarily make complete sense, but I’ve found that to be true with all of the Discworld books I’ve read so far (this makes 4!!). Somewhere in the last 20% or so, Sir Pratchett piles on a ton of action that doesn’t always stick together, but it’s mostly okay.

My feeling about reading Discworld books so far is that the reader (me) should just sit back and go along for the ride. Even when the plot is clunky (which, by the way, mostly isn’t true in Mort), the writing and dialogue are the real treat and make it all worthwhile.

I’ve actually had a copy of Mort on my shelves for a couple of years now, after winning it in a giveaway, and it’s a lovely hardcover with a ribbon bookmark. The downside of a physical copy, though, is that I couldn’t highlight all the great passages like I do on my Kindle, so unfortunately, I don’t have any handy quotes to share.

That’s okay. Mort was great fun and lifted my spirits in an especially tense week. Just what I needed!

Up next:

December 2020: Sourcery

I’m a little hesitant about going back to another Rincewind book — so far, I haven’t particularly gotten along with that stream of the series. Here’s hoping I’ll like this one better…

18 thoughts on “Discworld, #4: Mort

  1. Hi Lisa, I suggest consider now just exploring the sub-series (hate to even use this word as the books really are not a series) that you like and the ones you haven tried yet. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in the comments on your blog advocating for a forced march through the diskworld books. One idea for proceeding if you want to have some organization to your Pratchett reading selection is to read book one of each of the sub-series (you have that great graphic to guide you). Then you’ll know which groups are worth your time. Your reading time is valuable and life is short!

    • That’s a really good suggestion. I was keeping to the one per month, publication order schedule so I’d feel like I had a plan, because it would be too easy to just let the whole thing go otherwise. (I’m typically quite bad at reading according to a schedule — starts to feel too much like an obligation.) But now that i’m a few months/books into it, I do like the idea of reading the first book in the various main threads and then seeing which ones I want to go with. I’ll give it some thought! Thank you.

  2. Wow you loved this, that’s great:-) I need to try Pratchett again. My first experience wasn’t that great (I think I read Nation but I honestly can’t remember!)

  3. So glad you found one you really like! I’ve been enjoying following you as you read the series. Totally agree though with following your taste and not being too rigidm

    • I’m feeling like I should keep going in order for a bit more to get introduced to more of the world, then maybe spin off in a different direction down the road. But I do like the idea as well of reading the first book in each sub-series, then just following the ones I like.

  4. Oh I can’t wait to get to this one! It sounds so good. I didn’t know it would be about Death’s apprentice. So far, I think Death pops up in each of the Witches books I’ve read so far. I’m very curious about his character.

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