Mort by Terry Pratchett
Mort is a Discworld novel by fantasy author Terry Pratchett. The book is the fourth in the series and was first published in the UK by Victor Gollanz Ltd in association with Colin Smythe Ltd in 1987. The book is 315 pages in length and Corgi Books published the edition reviewed. Mort belongs in the comic fantasy sub-genre of fantasy.
Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found that romantic longings did not mix easily with the responsibilities of being Death's apprentice.
This is a wonderful book by Terry Pratchett, possibly my favourite. To take a theme such as death and turn it into a story that is this amusing and warm-hearted is a remarkable achievement. Mort is told in third-person narrative and contains all the dry humour and excellent social observations that has become the Pratchett trademark.
Mort marks Death’s first major appearance in the Discworld series. He stole the limelight with cameos in The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic and reader feedback must have made Pratchett realise that he had created a character that was deserving of much more exposure. Death plays the supporting role to Mort, the perfect representation of an awkward, gangly male teenager. Ysabell and Albert complete Death’s “family”, Albert is deserving of a book all of his very own.
It was also acutely embarrassing to Mort’s family that the youngest son was not at all serious and had about the same talent for horticulture that you would find in a dead starfish. It wasn’t that he was unhelpful, but he had the kind of vague, cheerful helpfulness that serious men soon learn to dread. There was something infectious, possibly even fatal, about it. He was tall, red-haired and freckled, with the sort of body that seems to be only marginally under its owner’s control; it appeared to have been built out of knees.
The narrative flows effortlessly, abundant in wit and astute in its content. Death speaks in capital letters, a stroke of genius in my opinion; you are able to hear the coffins creak and the bells toll in your mind every time he speaks. There are numerous types of humour employed in Mort; amongst them are irony, ambiguity and pun. None are overplayed and can result in all kinds of reaction from the reader varying from laughing out load to a wry grin. I read a review of Mort in which the reviewer had the voice of Brian Blessed in their head for Death’s voice. I think this is a fantastic choice but I myself had a far more toneless and icy voice in my mind, a voice devoid of emotion.
Mort is a notch above The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, the writing consistently excellent and the humour perfectly placed - just the thought of Death going through a mid-life crisis is enough to make you smile. One of the reasons that Pratchett has managed to turn the reaper of souls into such a loved character is that he shows Death’s caring side. Early in the book Death exudes barely suppressed fury at the needless death of a bagful of kittens.
Mort was voted 65th in the BBCs Big Read http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top100_2.shtml and is a firm favourite of the UK’s readers and this is well deserved. Mort is a captivating read; fast paced and addictive.
This Mort book review was written by Floresiensis
All reviews for: The Discworld Series
The Colour Of Magic
The Discworld Series: Book 1
In the beginning there was…a turtle. Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smel...
Lords and Ladies
The Discworld Series: Book 14
The fairies are back – but this time they don’t just want your teeth… It's Midsummer Night - no time for dreaming. Because sometimes, when there'...
Feet of Clay
The Discworld Series: Book 19
For Commander Vimes, Head of Ankh-Morpork City Watch, life consists of troubling times, linked together by…well, more troubling times. Right now, it’s the latt...
The Light Fantastic
The Discworld Series: Book 2
A red star has appeared in the sky and the Discworld is heading right towards it. There is only one person who can save the world; but unfortunately this is the rather inep...
The Discworld Series: Book 20
Throughout history, there's always been a perfectly good reason to start a war. Never more so if it is over a 'strategic' piece of old rock in the middle of now...
The Fifth Elephant
The Discworld Series: Book 24
They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that master...
The Discworld Series: Book 28
For a policeman, there can be few things worse than a serial killer at loose in your city. Except, perhaps, a serial killer who targets coppers, and a city on the brink of ...
The Discworld Series: Book 3
Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found that romant...
The Discworld Series: Book 3
The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunatel...
The Wee Free Men
The Discworld Series: Book 30
Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching thinks her Granny Aching – a wise shepherd – might have been a witch, but now Granny Aching is dead and it’s up to Tiffany to...
The Discworld Series: Book 31
Polly becomes Private Oliver Perks, who is on a quest to find her older brother, who's recently MIA in one of the innumerable wars the tiny nation of Borogravia has a h...
A Hat Full of Sky
The Discworld Series: Book 32
Something is coming after Tiffany . . .Tiffany Aching is ready to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She expects spells and magic – not chores and ill-tempered...
The Discworld Series: Book 33
Moist von Lipwig is a con artist... ... and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet. It'...
The Discworld Series: Book 35
Tiffany Aching is a trainee witch — now working for the seriously scary Miss Treason. But when Tiffany witnesses the Dark Dance — the crossover from summer to w...
The Discworld Series: Book 36
It’s an offer you can’t refuse. Who would not to wish to be the man in charge of Ankh-Morpork’s Royal Mint and the bank next door? It’s a job for li...
The Discworld Series: Book 37
Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood ...
I Shall Wear Midnight
The Discworld Series: Book 38
A man with no eyes. No eyes at all. Two tunnels in his head... It's not easy being a witch, and it's certainly not all whizzing about on broomsticks, but Tiffany Ac...
The Discworld Series: Book 39
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. And Commander Sam...
The Discworld Series: Book 4
There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we'd better not go into), he had seven...
The Discworld Series: Book 40
To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork - a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of...
The Shepherds Crown
The Discworld Series: Book 41
Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength. This is a time ...
The Discworld Series: Book 8
Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco ...
Have you read Mort?
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Mort reader reviews
Rebecca from Canada
I feel bad about giving ten out of ten, but the fact is that the moment I finished reading it, I wanted to flip it over and start again. (Sound familiar?) Mort was just a fantastic book. The lore of Discworld really pulled me in, and all the different personalities really complemented each other...Even the exposition was hilarious and thought-provoking. Death, of course, stole the show for me, and now I'm stalking shelves at bookstores for more of his stories. This is my third Discworld book, after the Wee Free Men and Going Postal. I've read it twice now since buying it a few months ago, and I'm afraid that other books will just disappoint me compared to Mort.
David from England
Mort was the first book I ever read by Terry Pratchett and I enjoyed it so much that I soon became an avid reader of his work. There is always a good measure of comedy along with a good story in his books. He is guaranteed to give a good read and for me Mort is right there at the top of the list. I have read it several times and still look forward to reading it. If you've never read a Terry Pratchett book and don't know where to start then this is a good place. It's also a good place to meet Death, especially if you fancy a good curry.
Stephen from Norwich
This is another great Pratchett book - separate stories intertwining and by far the funniest of the four that I have read so far. DEATH is brilliant and unfortunately Mort reminds me of myself - all knees...
9.5/10 from 4 reviews
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