Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sara's Library: Mort

Mort by Terry Pratchett
Book four in the Discworld universe
Victor Gollancz 1987

Summary from Goodreads: In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can't refuse -- especially since being, well, dead isn't compulsory.  As Death's apprentice, he'll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won't need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he'd ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

I'm not a very funny person.  My humor tends toward dry wit and pop culture references, and most attempts others make at comedy tend to fall flat when performed or shown to me.  It's not surprising then that the first time I read Mort, I saw nothing more than a pleasant diversion.  I recently reread it (aloud to my husband), and I enjoyed it much more when spoken.  So much of humor relies upon delivery that I think silently reading prose to oneself automatically inhibits the humor, but perhaps that's just me.

The plot is delightfully absurd.  After being apprenticed to Death, Mort botches one of his first jobs by letting a beautiful princess live.  In the days that follow, two timelines begin to converge, and Mort must come up with a plan to reset reality.  Meanwhile, Death tries his hand at various other occupations, forgetting he is essentially a cosmic force that cannot be replaced, regardless of who he might train for the job.

While I don't know if I'll invest any time in reading other Discworld novels, Mort is an enjoyable stand-alone story that should appeal to fantasy readers of all ages.

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