Before Mort I had never read any of Terry Pratchett’s work. I had perused some of the blurbs of his novels over the years and watched my best friend hungrily digest his works when I was at school but had never felt the desire to pick one up before. Then I decided to do this 52 in 52 challenge and asked for recommendations of books I hadn’t read. An old friend put forward Mort with the brief description “Death gets an apprentice”. This was an intriguing enough sentence that I actually went out and bought the book*.
As my friend so succinctly put, Mort is a tale about the eponymous boy who becomes Death’s apprentice. Unfortunately, Mort is human and has human vices like emotions. Emotions are what get him into trouble. After being sent out on the Duty – to free the souls of the killed, Death doesn’t actually kill people himself – by himself for the first time, Mort saves the life of a beautiful princess who was meant to be killed and decides not to let his master know. Cue reality trying to tear itself apart. To make matters worse, Death, who up until this point has never had feelings, decides to try out living. Whilst Mort and Death’s daughter Ysabell try to figure out how to save the princess from being destroyed by reality trying to restore itself, Death is out dabbling with having fun, drinking alcohol and working as a chef.
The plot itself is hilarious and extremely well written. It plays with irony and sarcasm mixed in with a solid storyline and engaging characters. Besides the plot there are many side notes about the Discworld – the world Mort and many other Pratchett books are set in – and parodies traits from real life and science. This adds another layer to the book as you can have a giggle about how obscure mundane and normal things from our world really are when put into a different context.
I enjoyed Mort and I am looking forward to reading more of Pratchett’s work. This has been the first book so far in my challenge that has made me properly laugh and I enjoyed that. The other books I’ve read have had rather serious plot lines and it was good to read something light-hearted. I recommend Mort to those who like parodies, humour and fantasy.
* Infact, I bought six Pratchett novels as they were on offer. They will form part of my 52 in 52 challenge.