Soul Music by Terry Pratchett (reread)

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett (reread)Soul Music (Discworld #16) by Terry Pratchett
Published: HarperTorch (1994), Paperback, 373pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Humor

When her dear old Granddad -- the Grim Reaperhimself -- goes missing, Susan takes over the family business. The progeny of Death's adopted daughter and his apprentice, she shows real talent for the trade. That is until a little string in her heart goes "twang."

With a head full of dreams and a pocketful of lint,Imp the Bard lands in Ankh-Morpork, yearning to become a rock star. Determined to devote his life to music, the unlucky fellow soon finds that all his dreams are coming true. Well almost. (from Goodreads)

Generally I at least enjoy reading a Terry Pratchett book, even if I don’t LOVE whatever it. But sometimes I end up kind of…hating it? Soul Music is just such a book, and I don’t know why I dislike it so! If I add up all its good points it should equal YAY! But instead it ends up nay.

Let’s break it down:

All the puns are based on rock n’roll! Though I didn’t recognize everything, I DID get the references to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. This is a major improvement from the first time I read Soul Music, when I didn’t recognize anything and all the puns were useless.

Death! He’s always fun, mostly because he tries to understand humans and doesn’t entirely get it. Except when he does, and then it’s scary-awesome.

I listened to all his songs after reading this book
I listened to all his songs after reading this book

Susan, Death’s granddaughter and empress of dryness. I think this is Susan’s first book appearance? She’s a school girl in Soul Music, and super smart (too smart for most people). She’s got shades of Death’s confusion about humanity but none of his ineffectiveness in engaging with emotions and relationships and whatever. That’s the nice thing about Susan! She’s sort of like a more cuddly Death. (But not that cuddly.)

The wizards are mad funny in this book. Usually I think they’re boring and/or annoying, but I loved their progression from stuffy old dudes to rebellious rock n’rollers– albeit with a Discworldian bent.

The writing? I guess I just prefer his later writing to his earlier style. It’s pretty similar from book to book, except that the stories gets deeper and more complex. They always make me feel like I’m being punched in the gut– in a good way– and these earlier books are more like pokes. Just…not as good.

Susan is also a huge pill. Sarcastic and amazing, but definitely a pill. She has two neat friends who seemed like they’d balance out her pill-ness if only they were given more screentime, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. (She less pill-like in the other books she’s in, btw.)

I didn’t really “get” the moral of the story. Humans are willing to sacrifice themselves for art, and/or art eats your soul? idk.

In conclusion, though I like Soul Music in bits and pieces, the whole was underwhelming and boring and I probably won’t be rereading it for a few years at LEAST.

Read: July 22, 2013

Have you ever been underwhelmed by a book by a favorite author?

3 thoughts on “Soul Music by Terry Pratchett (reread)”

  1. I’ve never warmed up to Susan – I think you describe her perfectly: a pill. There’s just something about her that rubs me the wrong way – she’s got such a chip on her shoulder about her supernatural origins and talents. LOL!

    For me, the best part of Soul Music is the wizards are running around like rebellious teenagers! They cracked me up!

  2. I don’t think Soul Music has a moral, so to speak.
    It is, partly, about Death mourning for the only humans he had personal connections with, and the fact that he couldn’t prevent their loss. It’s about Susan, learning to feel her human side. It’s about soul, in several definitions including the feelings behind the kind of music that is called Soul.
    Have you found the Allusions files at ?
    They should help with the rock and roll allusions.

    1. I just discovered the Allusions a few days ago! I’m really excited about it; every time I read a Pterry book I feel like I’m missing more than half the references. I still enjoy them, of course, but now maybe I can understand them better, too.

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