Author: Terry Pratchett
Page Count/Review Word Count: 320
Mort is one of my favourite Discworld books of all time, a feat which is made impressive by the fact that it’s only the fourth book in the series, released in 1987 – two years before I was born. It’s also the first novel to feature Death as a primary character, which might have something to do with why I love it so much.
Loosely speaking, it follows Death as he takes on an apprentice, a character called Mort who develops throughout the novel and becomes a top lad by the end of it, although I’m sorry to say that he doesn’t appear that often in subsequent novels. Wikipedia even informs me that in a 2003 BBC poll of the UK’s best loved books, Mort appeared in the top 100 and was the most popular of Pratchett’s novels.
I can see why – the characterisation of both Death and Mort, and the dialogue between the two of them, is amongst Pratchett’s most powerful work, and the story line itself, which as usual I’m not going to give away, is phenomenal – it’s like a fairy tale gone wrong, and a precursor to a lot of the work that’s still appearing today, including a lot of Neil Gaiman’s stuff.
Basically, I can’t say enough good things about this book, and I can’t find anything to complain about – I can’t even complain that it’s too popular, because other than the results of that BBC poll, I haven’t seen anything out there that marks it out as a particular favourite. It’s just really, really good, and even though Pratchett is usually really good, this one has an extra really.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you’re new to the Discworld series, this isn’t a bad book to start with. Especially if you like dark humour, like me!