Saturday, 30 September 2017

Review: Mort by Terry Pratchett

Mort is a short and hilarious romp through Terry Pratchett's Discworld featuring:

  •  Mort, a teenager whom no one except Death wants to hire as an apprentice and whose name people find it impossible to remember
  • Death, the reaper tasked with transporting important people to the afterlife and who's very confused by the mortal concept of fun
  • Death's daughter 
  • an unkempt magician
  • an obstinate Princess. 

After a dispiriting day of waiting in vain to be hired at the town hiring fair, Mortimer is just getting ready to trudge home from the town square when Death appears looking for an apprentice. Mort's father is a bit confused, but after making sure that it's a job with good employment prospects that'll make a good contributing member of society of Mort, off Mort goes to Death's home outside Time. 

386372The plot essentially consists of Mort taking a few people to the afterlife and then making a big mistake when he tries to save a princess he has a crush on and manages to create a hole in the fabric of reality itself. Hijinks ensue.

The plot, while perfectly serviceable, definitely isn't the main draw of this book -- the writing is just hilarious. Whether it's:

Pratchett just has incredible voice, and so his very-involved-narrator role works really well. 

"“Well,----me,” he said. “A----ing wizard. I hate----ing wizards!” “You shouldn’t----them, then,” muttered one of his henchmen, effortlessly pronouncing a row of dashes.” 

The worldbuilding of Mort doesn't really stand up to rigorous scrutiny, which is fine. This is lampooned by Pratchett a few times, when he says that he has no ambition of creating a consistent Discworld and is perfectly happy for the rules of magic/physics to be different in different places, and when a plothole is explained away by Death telling Mort not to rely so much on mathematics. He also explains people not being shocked by the appearance of Death/Death's apprentice or not seeing them as 'people see what they expect to see'. 

Some quotes (not even necessarily the best ones honestly, just the ones I could find, which are still great...)

[Quotes are from here or Goodreads Quotes]

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