Pub. Date: 1987
Source: Borrowed from the library
Summary: 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.
Genre: Fantasy, Humor
Last week I announced a new series, Tackling the TBR, in an attempt to combat my ever-growing stack of books once and for all. I used a random number generator to make the picks for me and the first round couldn’t have been better! With an assortment of new releases and older titles, a fantastic range of genres, and varying age groups, I was so excited to dive in and my first read was one I had been eager to try – and more than slightly intimidated by – Terry Pratchett’s Mort.
I’m a Discworld newbie and though I’ve been dying to jump in for years, I was so overwhelmed at where to start. Do I read them in order of publication? There are so many series within the Discworld universe, do I pick one and start there? (side note: there’s an incredible Tumblr post detailing each book and series and made narrowing down my selection so much easier!) Mort is the first in the DEATH series, while it’s the fourth Discworld novel, and I have a fondness for books where Death/the Grim Reaper decides to take a break and hands the job off to some poor, totally clueless mortal.
Enter, Mort. Or rather, Mort. A 16-year-old boy who is sent to a medieval job fair where he hopes to become an apprentice. Unfortunately, midnight is nearing and the other young hopefuls have begun filtering out with their prospective new masters. Just as the final bells ring, a rider appears with a job offer for Mort. This rider? Death. The fierce steed? Binky. So begins Mort’s apprenticeship.
When I first read one of Jasper Fforde’s novels, I couldn’t quite get into it. Words like zany, quirky, wacky, came to mind and it simply wasn’t what I had been interested in at the time. Years later I happened to pick up that particular book again and devoured it. Mort (and I’m assuming the rest of the Discworld series) seems to feature much of the same humor and I’m thrilled I’m reading this book now, rather than a few years ago when I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much.
Mort, Death, Death’s daughter (don’t ask), a number of wizards and other side characters, a princess whose death upset the fabric of time and reality itself, each character was fantastic though, naturally, I had took a particular liking to Death. He, in turn, took a liking to cats and attempting (and failing) to blend in with humans by trying his hand at all number of activities in our world. I’m ecstatic Death is featured in so many other novels!! He’s a great character and I can’t wait to seem him again.
The humor is really what drives Mort. I giggled countless times throughout the novel, though I never had any full on belly laughs like I had been expecting. Still, I was grinning like a fool while reading.
The only issue I had with Mort was that it seemed to lose steam toward the end. What should have been the exciting climax to the story instead had me skimming – and I never dreamed I would be skimming a Terry Pratchett novel!
Despite the unsatisfying ending, I enjoyed Mort immensely and have already added the next book, Reaper Man to my to read list (…so much for tackling the TBR!) Mort was the PERFECT way to kick off this project and I’m excited to see how the next nine picks go! Have you read any of them? Which one would you recommend for my next read??
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
A Dark-Adapted Eye by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine
The Dark Deeps by Arthur Slade
Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman
Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer