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Soul Music

(Discworld #16)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  73,917 ratings  ·  2,174 reviews
Other children get given xylophones. Susan just had to ask her grandfather to take his vest off.

Yes. There's a Death in the family.

It's hard to grow up normally when Grandfather rides a white horse and wields a scythe – especially when you have to take over the family business, and everyone mistakes you for the Tooth Fairy.

And especially when you have to face the new and
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published 1999 by Gollancz (first published 1994)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  73,917 ratings  ·  2,174 reviews

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Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pratchett-terry
Stereotyping music, its industry, and the completely overrated impact of this terrible noise disturbance played by teenagers the next house across the street or, worse, next door. Stop that or I´ll call the police, you spoiled punk brats!

Creative commons, social collaboration, everything sharing, Kickstarter, Patreon, all that eco social stuff I am into too, etc. are all things Pratchett promotes indirectly by criticizing monopolies, dealers of content,
swivelers of adhesion contracts who give c
Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books as soon as I finish the book.

2.5 stars. With only brief flashes of Pratchett brilliance, this remains one of the weakest Discworld books.

This book fell flat for me for a number of reasons, and while Death still remains one of my favorite all time fantasy characters, I just couldn't connect with him (or any other character) in this book.

Soul Music is one of those Discworld books that specifically parodies
Jan 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
I am having such fun rereading some of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, this one is so rock'n'roll with its multitude of references to our pop culture whilst skilfully satirising the music industry. Death is having a hard time processing the pain of his grief, his losses leaving him unable to cope and leaving his position as the Grim Reaper, a scenario that leads to his granddaughter, Susan, filling his role as she becomes aware of a past that had been kept from her. Imp becomes 'Buddy' in hi ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Sex, drugs and rock and roll in the Discworld.

Except there’s really not any sex to speak of, and … to be honest really not any drugs either.

But 1 out of three ain’t bad, er, well, I guess that’s 33 percent, so really not that good but …

But in Sir Terry Pratchett’s able writing, it is good, as the Discworld experiences rock and roll –

or actually, Music with Rocks In as performed by The Band with Rocks In.

Imp Y Celyn (which literally means "bud of holly,") calls himself Buddy, and his band mates G
Ahmad Sharabiani
Soul Music (Discworld, #16; Death, #3), Terry Pratchett

Soul Music is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the sixteenth book in the Discworld series, first published in 1994.

A young harpist, comes to Ankh-Morpork in hopes of becoming famous. Unable to afford the Musicians Guild fees, he and fellow unlicensed musicians Lias Bluestone (a troll percussionist) and Glod Glodsson (a dwarf hornblower) form "The Band with Rocks In", named after Lias' tuned rocks.

When Imp's harp is destro
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Music is immortal. Some say it has always been there and always will. Some can apparently hear its beat. Like the pulse of the universe itself. I think Terry Pratchett had that same kind of appreciation for this particular art.

In this 16th installment of the phenomenon that is the Discworld series, Death has a family-related crisis so he goes away for a while. Unlike the last time, there is someone to take over though and the Death of Rats and Binky are getting her. Yes, HER. Susan, Death's gran
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2018-shelf
A very nice re-read 9/13/18:

I love music. I love humor. I love seeing wizards rock the house. Oh, and everyone else getting slipped an extra-dimensional mickey in their drinks, too. :)

If we're really talking about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, I know we have the rock and roll down. There are even a few trolls to do it RIGHT. The drugs bit is Discworld itself, OF COURSE. And if you really think about it, our universe really is doing a little slip & slide with Discworld, too.

Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just like the subject that Prachett is parodying, Soul Music feels like a greatest hits compilation of some of the earlier Discworld novels.

There's lots of similarities to Reaper Man and Moving Pictures, whilst it's also great direct sequel to Mort.

This is only my second Discworld read of the year, so probably meant that I'd enjoyed it more - I really should pick these up more regularly.
Gags about popular music is always going to be a winner for me and felt that I caught most of the references.

May 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
I re-read this book slowly past few weeks.So slowly I even forgot to added it to GR.

Sadly my initial opinion still remains:This is the worst Discworld book I read (but not worst Pratchett's book that title goes to Long earth).That doesn't mean it's bad book but it's way bellow sir Terry's best works.Death is my second favorite Discworld character (first one being Sam Vimes) but like in Thief of time him Susan ended in totally uninteresting plot with overall very weak cast of characters.
Soul musi
Jul 26, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kat-fantasy
This Discworld volume has Death, his granddaughter, the unseen academicals and music with rocks in.

It’s definitely not my favourite discworld story (I’m not into the Death stories so much), but the references to rock music and the music business behind it were highly entertaining.

4 stars and recommended particularly to rock fans.
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2012
I am convinced that Sir Pratchett wrote this book for the sole reason of putting in a "grateful Death" joke.

It wasn't my favorite Discworld book, but the phrase "Music With Rocks In" is so charmingly Pratchett that I kind of wanted to hug it.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, audio
Any Discworld that features Death is a winner in my book. I love the addition of the raven, and Susan's journey as Death's granddaughter was an interesting one. And of course all the musical references were pretty great.

Audiobook narrated by Nigel Planer. Thumbs up!
Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*
I vaguely recall reading this as a young adult and hating it. I don't remember why.

This time, I still hated it—for the first third of the book. After that, the rough edges in the plot progress smoothed out. It was not enough to fully rescue the book but sufficient to prove how much Pratchett's scene-building craft improved in the preceding ten years, and prevented it from being a complete disaster like Sourcery.

Even at its best, the book suffered from multiple flaws. Characters were inadequatel
“He had the feeling, once again, that he’d missed out on something somewhere. He’d never really realized it until the last couple of days. He didn’t know what it was. He just wanted to do things. He didn’t know what they were. But he wanted to do them soon.”

“There are millions of chords. There are millions of numbers. And everyone forgets the one that is a zero. But without the zero, numbers are just arithmetic. Without the empty chord, music is just noise.”

It was just happenstance that the firs
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's lawless. It changes people.
It's called Music With Rocks In.

This is the sixteenth novel in the series, the third in the Death sub-series, and it's all about sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll—Discworld style. Well... one out of three ain’t bad. Could be worse.

With Pratchett's Death being one of my all-time favorite literary characters, it's always been kind of surprising to me that the novels centered around Death never blow me away. I much prefer him as a side-character. Because, you see—the prem
Igor Ljubuncic
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
40 books on my Pratchett shelf, 40 books to review, if I write one now, there'll 39 books on my Pratchet shelf left to review.

But it should be interesting.

The way I remember it, through the first half of the DW series, Terry was busy exploring existentialism in different ways, with witches, death (and associates), a fast-running coward, the genius Night Watch (my favorite) ...

... before he finally nailed it. He eventually got well comfortable with his own writing, and the series picked up pace,
Now do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?

A fab foursome causes wizards to shake, rattle and roll, and manages to bring some hot times (not to mention broken furniture) to the Mended Drum. Suddenly, there's an earworm loose in Discworld, and now everyone's got their toes-a-tappin' and a song in their hearts.

Though I can't say exactly what was wrong, this one fell flat for me. It squeaks by with 3 stars ONLY because I liked the Death of Rats, Susan, the swing that D
John McDermott
Brilliant! Read all about Music with Rocks in it and how Death has a mid life crisis.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not up there with the best of his stuff, but I should point out at this juncture that since Guards Guards he's been getting marked on a scale relative only to his other books. If I'd picked up this book last week written by some po-dunk nobody it'd be getting five stars and I'd be desperately googling them for websites, blogs and news of their next release.

Soul Music is a slightly unbalanced pair of narratives, one about the infringing of rock and roll into the Discworld and the other a rather s
Ben Crozier
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Falls into the category of Disc World novels where he is moving through obvious targets such as the music or film industry lacks the bite or philosophical insight you would hope or expect.
Susan Sto Helit goes to a boarding school, and for the lessons she's less interested in, she has a tendency to fade into the woodwork - literally. Susan has the ability to fade away, should she so wish it. Turns out, this is because her grandfather is none other than Death, and when he goes missing, Susan, as his closest relative, is required to take over his duties for a while. Being deeply pragmatic and rational, thanks to her first rate education, it takes Susan a while to be persuaded, even ...more
Sep 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Every now and then, we get one of those “real world stuff bleeds into the Discworld” books. For example, Moving Pictures involved, as you might guess, a sudden discovery of and obsession about movies. With a Discworld flare, of course. Those books are the ones I seem to enjoy the least. Soul Music is the third book in the Death subseries, and it was one of those types of books. In this case, the sudden discovery and obsession is for rock and roll music although, in Discworld, it goes by the name ...more
Bilbo Baggins
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars!!!
This is probably going to be my favorite Discworld book ever!!! Loved it!
3.5 stars

Rock and roll comes to Discworld. But because it’s Discworld, the music has a life of its own. Meanwhile, Death has something of an existential crisis, so his granddaughter (daughter of Mort and Ysabelle) gets sucked into the family business. It’s a typically strange story with lots of puns and quirky characters that satirizes the music industry.

Nature can adapt to practically anything. There were fish evolved to live in the river. They looked like a cross between a soft-she
May 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical
Remain In Print
Sir Terry Pratchett
1948 - 2015

Once upon a time I was given a book voucher from my school and with that book voucher I went straight out and made sure I could actually own a Discworld novel rather than having to go to the library. It just so happened to be that small window in time when I would have preferred a Disc novel about music with rocks in than one with moving pictures, and so for a while Soul Music was my favourite book about life on Disc.

I went on to criticise the anima
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge, mega huge, unbelievably devoted Discworld fanatic. However, this is probably my least favorite in the DEATH mini series. I'm not sure why it didn't work for me as much as others did, I think the over-all message that I always look for was sort of lacking. It was fun, it was funny, and of course since it's DEATH that bumped it up a notch because his dialogue as always was spot on. I just didn't care much for the musical sub plot in the book. ...more
Sep 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, fantasy

Another solid entry into the Discworld series and the Death sub series (although Death has a relatively small amount of screen time) which this time tackles Rock 'n Roll coming to the Discworld. I love Rock 'n Roll and I enjoy humour so what's not to like?

The book started really well and got two differing strands of story line going, one with Rock 'n Roll and the other with Death going AWOL so his Granddaughter, Susan, has to take up the mantle and start to run the show. As the story progr
19 Feb 2008
20 Jun 2014
25 Aug 2016

Death takes a sort of holiday, so the Death of Rats goes looking for Death's granddaughter to fill the gap. Susan is off in boarding school, being an unusually practical teenager with no memory of her grandfather, when she gets the message. Meanwhile a bard, a troll, and a dwarf meet up and form a band and a magical guitar introduces the idea of Music with Rocks in to the Discworld.

The magic that is unleashed has more to do with lampooning record company contract
Julie Davis
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Not the best but enjoyable enough, as are even the least of Terry Pratchett's books. This one is notable for introducing Death's granddaughter, Susan, who takes on a similar role to that we'll see her in later in the much superior Hogfather. It is highly reminiscent of Moving Pictures which the characters, in true self-awareness, comment upon themselves. However, Pratchett's points are always worth pondering and his adventures surrounding the life force that music can take on is, as I said, enjo ...more
David Sarkies
Jul 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy
Rock n Roll invades the Discworld
26 July 2014

Well, I can't believe that I have just finished my 16th Terry Pratchett Discworld novel, and that is over two years (no, not sixteen books in two years, 16 Discworld novels in two years) since I decided that I would give Pratchett the benefit of the doubt and actually read them again prior to writing up a commentary, and this isn't even the last of the Discworld novels on my 'to read' list (I think there are another six, which would bring it up to Th
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Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, i

Other books in the series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind, #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1)
  • Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind, #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches, #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch, #1)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind, #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1)

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