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Mort (Discworld) Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 2013
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"Consistently, inventively mad...wild and wonderful!"-- "Issac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine"Discworld takes the classic fantasy universe through its logical, and comic evolution."-- "Cleveland Plain Dealer"Unadulterated fun...Witty, frequently hilarious."-- "San Francisco Chronicle
- The first seven Discworld titles are being reissued with stunning new covers, publication coincides with 21 years of Discworld anniversary and the hardback publication of "The Celebrated Discworld Almanak" and "Going Postal".
- "Like Jonathan Swift, Pratchett uses his other world to hold up a distorting mirror to our own, and like Swift he is a satirist of enormous talent... incredibly funny... compulsively readable." --"The Times"
- "His spectacular inventiveness makes the Discworld series one of the perennial joys of modern fiction." --"Mail on Sunday"
- "The great Terry Pratchett, whose wit is metaphysical, who creates an energetic and lively secondary world, who has a multifarious genius for strong parody... who deals with death with startling originality. Who writes amazing sentences." --A.S. Byatt, "New York Times"
From the Back Cover
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.
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I don't know much about the "meta" or overall mythology, if you will, of Discworld. I do know what little I have read and has been revealed to me via the novel and little tidbits I picked up online. Essentially, in the Discworld, there is what some have referred to as a "fantasy kitchen sink" situation, or a world where "all myths are true". One of these is the "Hogfather", who seems to be designed upon the Santa Claus/Odin connection roots of real life. The religious roots of him as a bishop are not really mentioned in the book. Though, to be fair, (this is just my opinion), one of the forms the Hogfather takes alludes to this, possibly.
Referencing the idea in many fantasy books that someone's biological matter (hair, nails, so on) can be used to control them or cast magic on them, the villain hired by the ultimate bad guys manages to actually come up with a plan to destroy a god, in this case, the Hogfather.
Sensing that something is wrong with the world on the night of Hogswatch Eve (the Discworld analogue of Christmas Eve) Death (yes, <i>that</i> Death) takes it upon himself to stop this plot and enlists (through some subtle manipulation) his adopted grand-daughter Susan. Despite being the child of the adopted daughter, she somehow inherits powers from him. I don't know the background books well enough yet, so I admit this is confusing.
The question is whether the villains can succeed in ridding the world of annoying belief in the form of the Hogfather, or if Susan and Death can keep that belief alive. It will be one hell of an interesting, and hilarious, journey.
This is one of the most entertaining and funny books I have read in a long time. Terry Pratchett is a master of both situational comedy and turning words to funny effect. He's not as good as PG Wodehouse, but who is? And the characters were incredibly engaging. Granted, it helped I saw the tv adaptation first, and imagined the characters looking like they do there. Even so, I think they were masterfully done. Teatime was chilling and creepy, Death was funny and kind of melancholic in how he can't do more to help others, and Susan was a badass female character that was cool despite being annoying in her angsting about being "normal".
Sometimes Pratchett could be a bit annoying in his commentary and so forth. He was a tad preachy, but this didn't occur except for about three scenes, and only one of those was beyond the pale. The other two were sensible in their questioning of different social and moral assumptions we make of others, and of how we do "good" for the wrong reasons at times.
I could do without the veiled notion that belief is made up for our sakes and not absolute, but if this is the maximum that Pratchett attacks religion, I can certainly take it.
A very funny and brilliant read, and one I heartily recommend.
Death as the Hogfather: WELL AMAZON CUSTOMER, HAVE YOU BEEN NAUGHTY OR NICE? HO. HO. HO.