Mort by Terry Pratchett
Death comes to everyone eventually on Discworld. And now he’s come to Mort with an offer the young man can’t refuse. (No literally, can’t refuse since being dead isn’t exactly compulsory.) Actually, it’s a pretty good deal. As Death’s apprentice, Mort will have free board and lodging. He’ll get use of the company horse. And he won’t have to take any time off for family funerals. But despite the obvious perks, young Mort is about to discover that there is a serious downside to working for the Reaper Man… because this perfect job can be a killer on one’s love life.
This was always one of my favorite Discworld books. There is something about this Anthropomorphic Personification of Death that I have enjoyed whenever he turns up in the series. He actually does seem to have a sense of humor, even if he doesn’t quite know it, why else would he name his horse Binky.
In this book, Death decides he needs an apprentice, so that he can have some time off. He wants to explore humanity and what that means. Actually I kind of think of it as Death having a mid-eternity crisis. He tries fly-fishing, gambling, getting drunk and even gets a job as a short order cook. All of this does bring him a bit closer to understanding what makes us mortals tick, but in the mean time he has left his job of collecting souls to his apprentice Mort.
I loved Mort. He is such a lovable little soul. He really didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he accepted Death’s proposal, but he tries his hardest to do the job and do it well. Unfortunately he does let his humanity get in the way, which leads to all sorts of complications and a change in the world as he knows it. I loved how he came to stand up for himself as well and became the person he was destined to be.
The plot moves along at a good pace, there are no chapters though, which is a little confusing at first, but there are some breaks in the narrative. The plot on the surface is quite simple, but when you start to think about the message that the author is trying to convey here, it really isn’t. I won’t spoil it for you but think about the underlying meanings of death and reality as you are reading and you will see what I mean.
Even with many readings, I still enjoyed this book. It still made me laugh and smile, especially when Death was interacting with people of Ankh-Morpork and at times with Mort. But it also made me think about mortality and reality and how our choices can affect more than just ourselves.