Friday, 30 October 2009

Book Review: Reaper Man

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchet

Category: Fantasy, Satire

Synopsis: Death is given time and goes off to use it. Chaos ensues because without death life cannot move on and in classic Discworld manner life hangs around.

My Thoughts: I think I read my first Discworld novel about ten years ago and it was instant love, and the character I fell the most in love with was Death. Death has always been a bit different from how death should be, sure he has a hood, carries a scythe and is a bit of a skelington (95) but he also has a contemplative side and he does have family.

When the auditors decide that Death has become a personality contrary to regulations they give him time. And in typical Death manner he goes off to use it. He becomes farm hand Bill Door. Deaths absence as, well...Death, leads to problems for the other Discworld inhabitants, amongst them the Wizards at the Unseen University (or UU one of the few reasons I considered going to Uppsala University was the acronym UU). The Wizards are, erm...special people. Very set in their ways as befits proper Wizards and when one of their own fails to move on they set about solving the problem. However, when Wizards solve problems this tends to create other problems.

Pratchett has a way of seeing society in a way that you yourself could not but when he writes it down you go "oh yeah, of course". One of these incidences comes at the beginning of the book when the Wizards are throwing Windle Poons a death party. It reminded me strongly of the leaving parties that pop up occasionally at work, where everyone pretends to like the person and hope them well but secretly just want to get on with their own lives. The forced jollyness is always palpable.

As with any Pratchett book it is hard to explain what happens without giving away the whole story but I will say that I haven't laughed this much over a book in absolutely ages. And that the description of Mrs Cake (a medium, verging on small)

The Chief Priest moved a little closer.
'I think I could be strong enough to master and defeat just a little snare,' he said. 'I haven't felt like this since Mrs Cake was one of my flock.'
'Mrs Cake? What's a Mrs Cake?'
'You have...ghastly Things from the Dungeon Dimensions and thins, yes? Terrible hazards of your ungodly profession?' said the Chief Priest.
'We have someone called Mrs Cake.'
Ridcully gave him an enquiring look.
'Don't ask,' said the priest, shuddering. 'Just be grateful you'll never have to find out.' (pg79)

strongly reminds me of this

I think that the Chief Priest would take Death please.


Paperback Reader said...

I read only read Mort for the first time a few months ago and fell in love with Death. Looking forward to reading this! Cake before death every time.

Bella said...

I just love the Discworld series, and Death has to be one of my favorite characters, he's just awesome!

Aarti said...

Great review, Zee. I haven't read this one in a while. Death has so many roles. Father, mentor, Hogfather...

Framed said...

I'm slowly working my way through the Discworld books. I started with "The Color of Money" which doesn't have Death in it, but loved it. Pratchett is an amazing author.