Book Review: “Mort” by Terry Pratchett

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Technically this is the fourth Discworld book, though it isn’t directly connected to any of the ones before it. It’s about a clumsy but good-natured farm boy named Mort (short for Mortimer) who, for lack of any other employment, gets taken on as Death’s apprentice.

Death has already proven to be an interesting and often funny character (at one point, you see him trying to play bridge with War, Pestilence, and Famine, and at another point he makes a thinly veiled reference to the classic chiller Masque of the Red Death). Now it seems death is going through a midlife crisis, if any word that has “life” in it can apply. Death is thinking about getting a different job, experiencing the human condition, and letting Mort take over the business.

Unfortunately, Mort falls in love with a princess whose soul he is supposed to harvest, and while Death is off fly-fishing, getting drunk, and moonlighting as a short-order cook, Mort is messing around with fate, reality, and the fabric of existence itself.

Meanwhile, Death’s adopted daughter (don’t ask!) has fallen in love with Mort, and an inept young wizard and death’s manservant, who happens to be a very ept and very old wizard, also get involved.

There is intrigue, there is suspense, there is danger, there is romance, there is terrible magic, and there is a Pale Horse named, would you believe, Binky. It’s a very entertaining yarn, and among its attractions are cameo appearances by Rincewind and the orangutan Librarian of the Unseen University (“Oook.”)

Recommended Age: 14+