This is it. The moment where the Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series finally starts coming into its own. The first that really begins to create the universe we all know & love, filled with plenty of the magic & wonder that existed before but held together with a fantastic plot.
This is the first of the Discworld books to also place Death into a lead role. You see on the Disc, Death is an actual person…well, a skeleton really. The power of belief gives life too many things on the Disc & Death has a job to do.
Death’s job is simple…usher souls into the next world. Something he has decided he needs an apprentice for.
Mort is a teenager not cut out for the farming lifestyle so his father sends him to a job fair in the hope that he will land an apprenticeship & learn a trade. It’s here that Mort meets Death who decides to take him on as his apprentice.
Just why Death feels he needs to have an apprentice is one of the issues that plague the bony one throughout the entire series. His desperation to understand humanity drives him to behave irrationally much to his man-servant Alfred & his adopted daughter Ysabell’s frustration.
Alfred doesn’t like Mort, he doesn’t believe a human is capable of doing the work of Death & unfortunately he is proven right. Mort, when sent to do the ‘duty’, saves a princess from death drastically altering part of the Discworld’s reality. This reality won’t stay altered for long though so Mort desperately searches for a way to ensure the princess stays safe.
The thing is…the more Mort does the duty of Death, the more he becomes the personification of Death. The actual Death (the bony one) decides to travel to everyone’s favourite city, Ankh-Morpork, to try & experience humanity for himself.
It’s becoming a serious problem for the Discworld which forces Alfred to reveal his true self & step in to fix the mess Mort has created.
This is me glossing over the plot; it’s so detailed that this review would go on for pages if I wrote every part of it down. There is a reason why Mort is such a beloved story, one that has seen many adaptions & even ended up on stage!
The Death books are some of my least favourite of the entire series but Mort is the standout of his stuff. It gives a massive amount of detail & character development for one of the most important characters on the Disc & introduces both Mort & Ysabell. The latter did briefly appear in an early section with Rincewind but this is not the same girl that appeared then.
Mort & Ysabell are also responsible for the future creation of one of the most important characters that stars in many great future books such as Hogfather & Thief of Time.
Mort is the best of the series so far, so good I named my cat after him.