Book Review: “Reaper Man” by Terry Pratchett

[button color=”black” size=”big” link=”″ target=”blank” ]Purchase here[/button]

Here is the eleventh book of Discworld, starring everyone’s favorite smiley guy, Death. It also reprises the roles of the orangutan Librarian, whose vocabulary consists of the words “Eeek” and, most often, “Oook”, but who somehow manages to be so articulate and subtle in his expression; Archchancellor of Unseen Univsersity Mustrum Ridcully, the “Bull Moose” type who has already won the distinction of being the first Archchancellor to appear in more than one book (they usually don’t live that long); the nervous Bursar of U. U., the fat Dean, and the effete Lecturer in Recent Runes; arch-huckster Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler; city watchman Sgt. Colon; and of course, the Patrician Lord Vetinari and the familiar heads of the various guilds in Ankh-Morpork (thieves, assassins, alchemists, historians, fools, merchants, etc.).

And one character comes back for the second and obviously last time, the 130-year-old wizard Windle Poons.

The stars of the show are Death and Poons, in two intertwining plot lines. First, and most importantly, Death has been fired. The powers that be (the theology of this little universe grows more and more bizarre) have decided that Death is developing too much personality and it’s interfering with his job performance. So they give him mortality and send him to Discworld to live out his days under the identity of a hired farmhand named Bill Door. The lady he works for is as close to a widow as a spinster can get, and Death begins to experience the feelings of a human being…

But then, sooner than expected, the “new” Death comes after him, and he must fight not only for himself but for the life of a child he would willingly die to save.

A side-effect of the transition between one Death and another, is the fact that nobody can seem to die properly. The “astral plane” has been filling up to dangerous fullness, some corpses are becoming reanimated because their souls have nowhere else to go, and the weird magical effects of all the excess life hanging about begins to grow dangerous to the citizens of Ankh-Morpork.

The climax of this thread comes when a strange new lifeform…either a parasite or a predator, or both…threatens the very existence of the city. And the city’s chief hope lies in the hands of two zombies, a banshee with a speech impediment, a bogey man, two werewolves, a reluctant middle-class vampire and his uppity wife.

It’s quite an exciting little adventure, actually two for the price of one, and it even has a love story in it (between a wolf that turns into a wolf-man at the full moon, and a girl who turns into a wolf-woman at the full moon). There’s also a character that hilariously spoofs the sort of intensely religious lady who joins a church, gets really involved in everything until the smooth running of the whole church depends on her, then gets honked off at somebody and quits the church, leaving it in a state of chaos. She also happens to be a medium (well, closer to a small) who communes with a spirit called One-Man-Bucket (wait till you find out what that name means) and who, when her precognition is turned on, answers questions before they are asked. This makes conversation with Mrs. Cake veeeerrry interesting.

Recommended Age: 14+