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Discworld #11

Reaper Man

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Death is missing - presumed... er... gone.

Which leads to the kind of chaos you always get when an important public service is withdrawn.

Meanwhile, on a little farm far, far away, a tall dark stranger is turning out to be really good with a scythe. There's a harvest to be gathered in...

289 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 1991

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About the author

Terry Pratchett

613 books41.4k followers
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, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987, he turned to writing full time.

There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal.

A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback - Harper Torch, 2006 - and trade paperback - Harper Paperbacks, 2006).

In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,774 reviews
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
265 reviews3,981 followers
May 4, 2022
Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.

A wonderful addition to the Discworld universe with an extremely unique plotline

While this book is not at the level of "laugh out loud" funny that some other Discworld books are, the plotline of this book is so wonderful that it more than makes up for it. This book is divided into two main plots, both of which are equally fascinating.

The character of "Death" gets retired in this book, so this 7' tall skeleton has to figure out how to live a normal life and get a job. He takes up employment on a farm, and the dynamic he has with the farmers of this town is absolutely amazing.

Meanwhile, since Death is no longer working killing people, nobody can die. Which is terribly inconvenient for Windle Poons, whose scheduled death doesn't occur and he has to figure out how to live his life after death - which isn't supposed to happen.

I highly encourage people to read the "Death" series of Discworld books - all of them are enjoyable and a minimum of 4/5 stars for me.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,860 followers
July 19, 2020
The second DEATH is as hilarious as the first one, this time positioning the friendly reaper in a perfect setting for having philosophical and deep thoughts about human nature and life in general.

The auditors are a mixture of bureaucracy, monotony, surveillance, and total order, each reader might find a subjective real life example for higher, creativity and life hating entities mostly interested in controlling everything, not even trusting each other, and hating generally anything different, new, or progressive. The way the are used in the DEATH novels is a good alternative theory for the real foundations of the physical laws, the universe, and anything, so string theory, behold and be aware!

As I always say, I do know far too little about philosophy and mythology to get all the innuendos, inspirations, and connotations Pratchett is certainly using and many readers may find far more subtle, hidden, easter eggs than just the superficial humor I am able to identify.

Shopping centers and consumerism, or in this case interdimensional city parasite malls, went a far way and evolution, similar to mallmargeddons in real life that became the last stage of an uncertain development since Pratchett wrote this one and it would be interesting to know how he would have satirized the big malls and megastores first eating away the rest of the food chain to finally be cannibalized by online trade.

I will highly subjectively and subliminally interpret is as out of control predator neoliberal capitalism randomly detected by ivory towers humanities who are unable to deal with a creature some of them helped constructing. And buy my stuff mostly online, because it´s so cheap, of course, hypocritical as I am, but organic at least. But it could also be seen as the warning of natural disaster or environmental destruction by scientists with not enough data, the impending doom of the manipulation of the laws of physics by science detected by science itself, etc. As always in Pratchett´s works, there are manifold ways to widen one´s horizon with the mind penetrating subtility he offers.

Prepare for an example why the causality and paths of the universe shouldn´t be manipulated and what happens if DEATH doesn´t do his job anymore, such as zombie

I guess I should watch the movie Repo man, or read the script, to get more of the hidden humor related to the pun, although I don´t know if there are really elements of it in the novel, as I haven´t seen it. Tricky.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:

This one is added to all Pratchettian reviews:
The idea of the dissected motifs rocks, highlighting the main real world inspirational elements of fiction and satire is something usually done with so called higher literature, but a much more interesting field in readable literature, as it offers the joy of reading, subtle criticism, and feeling smart all together
Profile Image for Anthony Eaton.
Author 16 books70 followers
April 12, 2009
How can you not like Death?


I'm sorry, did someone say something?


Oh, okay then. Anyway, as I was...erk...
Profile Image for Jennie.
603 reviews39 followers
August 26, 2014
Probably my favorite of all of the Discworld novels (and that's a hard choice, given my total love of the series). Of all of Pratchett's many quirky characters, I think I love Death the best, though I couldn't begin to tell you why. In this installment, Death gets fired and has to get a day job. In typical Discworld fashion, not everything goes according to plan.

Don't pay attention to the critics' quotes on the front of the book. Anyone who compares Pratchett to Tolkien or Douglas Adams hasn't actually read any of the three. It might be better to compare him to Jonathan Swift or Mark Twain; in spite of the dwarves, wizards, witches, werewolves, and other fantastic characters, Pratchett's novels are more a commentary on human nature & society than high fantasy. Great fun!
Profile Image for Trish.
2,020 reviews3,436 followers
July 7, 2018
Today would have been Sir Terry's 70th birthday.
As some here know, I've put off reading the series because I still tear up when thinking of this great man and the terrible loss his death meant. Especially his books featuring Death as the main character are hard to read because their messages are hitting so close to home. Nevertheless, I agreed to read one book per month and this month, of all possible months, it was this novel's turn.
Sometimes life just loves punching you in the gut.
And yes, I half laughed hysterically, half cried pitifully while reading.

I've actually read Reaper Man before but it's been a long while and I must revise my original opinion: THIS is the best Death novel by Pratchett. Hands down.

The story is that some cosmic entities decide that the Discworld's Death has developed a personality and that sort of thing is simply not allowed. Therefore, he receives his very own hourglass and becomes mortal. Retired.
He decides to spend the time and see what life is all about.
In the meantime, the Discworld suffers some very weird incidents because once death isn't doing his job anymore, things start falling apart of course. Thus, people die but aren't dead, plants keep on growing and there are these little things that are plopping into existance everywhere (without people noticing).
In Ankh-Morpork, one of the settings, the wizards think it's the gods, the priests think it's magic and Lord Vetinari doesn't care who or what it is so long as order is restored again.
Windle Poons, a dying wizard, is trying to complete the process of dying, very hard even, but simply can't manage (not even when he gets buried by his colleagues). So he embarks on a journey, finding out what living really means and how much fun it can be - aided by a few other undead people.

Mrs Cake, a medium also living in the city, knows she has to tell someone what is going so horribly wrong, but learned never to trust any priests so who to turn to?!
Meanwhile, Death has become a farmhand and quite dedicated to his job.

We get some familiar characters such as the wizards and the Librarian, but many new ones are introduced as well (Lupin and Ludmila for example and wasn't that a sweet plot of Poons'?) and they immediately have found their way into my heart. SQUEAK! And we even get a pretty great romance in here! Seriously, if you want to know how to treat the woman you love, take notes from the Reaper himself.

This book is full of really profound messages about life and death and making your life count, if only by giving others some of your time (in any way this can be meant), religion, time in general, friendship, love ... Death is Pratchett's masterpiece although many of his other Discworld characters are fantastic as well. This novel, though extremely funny, might not be as hilarious as some of the others, but I have to say that due to the impeccable combination of profound messages, silly adventures and laugh-out-loud moments, it is simply perfect.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews44 followers
March 15, 2021
Reaper Man (Discworld, #11; Death, #2), Terry Pratchett

The Auditors of Reality are beings who watch the Discworld to ensure everything obeys The Rules. As Death starts developing a personality the Auditors feel that he does not perform his Duty in the right way.

They send him to live like everyone else. Assuming the name "Bill Door", he works as a farm hand for the elderly Miss Flitworth.

She is a spinster whose fiancé, Rufus, died on a last smuggling expedition many years ago. There are rumours that he'd had second thoughts about their marriage but she does not believe them.

While every other species creates a new Death for themselves, humans need more time for their Death to be completed.

As a result, the life force of dead humans starts to build up; this results in poltergeist activity, ghosts, and other paranormal phenomena.

Most notable is the return of the recently deceased wizard Windle Poons, who was really looking forward to reincarnation.

After several misadventures, including being accosted by his oldest friends, he finds himself attending the Fresh Start club, an undead-rights group led by Reg Shoe.

The Fresh Start club and the wizards of Unseen University discover that the city of Ankh-Morpork is being invaded by a parasitic lifeform that feeds on cities and hatches from eggs that resemble snow globes.

Tracking its middle form, shopping carts, the Fresh Start club and the wizards invade and destroy the third form, a shopping mall. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز پانزدهم ماه سپتامبر سال 2017میلادی

عنوان: دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه) کتاب یازدهم: مرد دروگر؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20م

دیسک ورلد (جهان صفجه)، یک سری از کتابهای فانتزی هستند، که روانشاد «تری پرچت»، نویسنده ی «انگلیسی»، نگاشته ‌اند؛ داستان‌های این سری در جهانی با نام «دیسک‌ ورلد (جهان صفحه)» می‌گذرند؛ که صفحه‌ ای تخت است، و بر شانه‌ های چهار فیل، با هیکلهای بزرگ، قرار دارد؛ این فیل‌ها نیز، به نوبه ی خود، بر روی پشت یک لاک‌پشت غول‌آسا، با نام «آتوئین بزرگ» قرار دارند؛ در این سری از کتابها، بارها از سوژه های کتاب‌های نویسندگانی همچون «جی.آر.آر تالکین»، «رابرت هاوارد»، «اچ پی لاوکرافت» و «ویلیام شکسپیر» به گونه ای خنده دار، استفاده شده ‌است؛

از سری «دیسک ‌ورلد» بیشتر از هشتاد میلیون نسخه، در سی و هفت زبان، به فروش رفته‌ است؛ این سری در برگیرنده ی بیش از چهل رمان (تاکنون چهل و یک رمان)، یازده داستان کوتاه، چهار کتاب ��لمی، و چندین کتاب مرجع، و مکمل است؛ از این سری، چندین رمان تصویری، بازی کامپیوتری، نمایش تئاتر، سریالهای تلویزیونی اقتباس شده ‌است؛ روزنامه ی «ساندی تایمز» چاپ «انگلستان» از این سری به عنوان یکی از پرفروش‌ترین سری کتاب‌ها نام برده، و «تری پرچت» را، به عنوان پرفروش‌ترین نویسنده ی «انگلستان»، در دهه ی نود میلادی دانسته است؛

رمان‌های «دیسک‌ورلد» جوایز بسیاری از جمله جایزه «پرومتئوس»، و مدال ادبی «کارنگی» را، از آن خود کرده ‌اند؛ در نظرسنجی «بیگ رید»، که «بی‌بی‌سی» در سال 2003میلادی، در «انگلستان» انجام داد، ��هار رمان سری «دیسک‌ورلد»؛ در فهرست یکصد کتاب برتر قرار گرفتند؛ همچنین مردمان «انگلیس»، در این نظرسنجی، چهارده رمان «دیسک‌ورلد» را، در شمار دویست کتاب برتر، دانستند؛ تا کنون، از ��ین سری، چهل و یک رمان، به چاپ رسیده است؛ «تری پرچت» که پیش از درگذشتش؛ در ابتدای سال 2015میلادی، از بیماری «آلزایمر» رنج می‌بردند، اعلام کردند که خوشحال می‌شوند که دخترشان، «ریانا پرچت»، به جای ایشان، به ادامه ی این سری بپردازند؛ جلد بیست و ششم رمان از این سری، تا رمان «دزد زمان (2001میلادی)» بدست «جاش کربی»، به تصویر کشیده شده ‌اند، اما نسخه ‌های «آمریکایی»، که انتشارات «هارپرکالینز» آن‌ها را، منتشر کرده، دارای تصاویر روی جلد متفاوتی هستند؛ پس از درگذشت «جاش کربی»، در سال 2001میلادی، نقاشی‌های روی جلد کتاب‌های بعدی این سری، بدست «پائول کربی» کشیده‌ شدند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 24/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
January 7, 2019
In 1976 Blue Oyster Cult sang Don’t Fear the Reaper. In 1991, Sir Terry Pratchett first published his 11th Discworld novel Reaper Man. The comparison is mine, apparently Pratchett titled the book as a reference to Alex Cox’s 1984 fantasy film starring Emilio Estevez.

So, what happens when our Discworld friend Death is given a timer and … time to spend it? We get this fun book that helps us to revisit Discworld and some of our favorite Pratchett characters like Death, the Unseen Academy staff, Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler, some of the City Watch and an Ankh-Morpork host of otherworldly Ghostbuster type shenanigans.

When Death takes a break out on the farm, all the spirits and ghosts and poltergeists and spooks back up with no where to go. Much of the book follows elderly wizard Windle Poons as he experiences more of life than he expected he had coming.

Funny as always, and insightful and clever and playfully satirical, in this we also see Pratchett’s unguarded and affectionate side. For Discworld fans.

Profile Image for Adrian.
574 reviews209 followers
December 5, 2019
Wow, where’s the 6 star button

Ok , where should I start with this ? Some of TP's Discworld novels are great stories, full of humour with amazingly real and detailed characters that get into scrapes, have adventures, inherit kingdoms, fight wars in far off places (near the Rim ? ) And these books to me are 4 or 5 star reads depending on the humour content and the characters.
And then, well yes, and then there are TP's books that are a parody of human life, allegorical masterpieces that mirror the round-world we live upon, but these tales are told using some of the most amusing and amazing characters authors have ever created.
DEATH for instance, over the few books he has appeared in to date (I am reading the Discworld novels in order), DEATH has grown into a fully rounded (sic) character. Sir Terry has really got under his skin (oops sorry) and knows what makes him tick, how he reacts to certain situations, to such an extent that as you read he becomes real to the reader. You are there with him as he reaps the field, as he sharpens his scythe and as he rides away on Binky.
Ditto with the Unseen University Librarian, yes he only says Oook, but you begin to understand him. You want to share his world as he hunts for his next banana or as he delves into the magical depths of the library to find the one "tome" that could get the wizards out of the mess they're in.
I could go on about how his characters and stories mirror some of the pressing issues in OUR world, how through his tales he shows us OUR insensitivity, prejudice and bigotry, and that is all true, and also very important to realise, but primarily he is just an astonishing story teller.
This book does contain DEATH, the librarian, the Wizards and many more and is in my humble opinion (be it h'ever so 'umble) the best so far, a true masterpiece of literature, one that will remain with me along with probably another couple of dozen books that I have read over my 60 years and 78 days.

As the French say "Chapeau" Sir Terry.
Profile Image for Lena.
199 reviews93 followers
July 18, 2021
This Discworld's book has significant features of the others: parody, irony, interesting plot and funny characters. But somehow I didn't find it as hilarious and exciting as the other books.
Profile Image for Celise.
505 reviews318 followers
July 4, 2017
“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away...”

"I want more Death" is what I spent most of this book thinking. 60% of this was about Windle Poons and other wizards and I just wasn't into the silly randomness of the problems they were dealing with. The "life force" issues felt too much like the alchemy issues in Moving Pictures, and I just couldn't get into that one.

I wanted to experience more of Death's life on the farm, and his whole side of things. I liked The Death of Rats and The Death of Fleas as an added touch. A little nod to Mort or something may have been nice.

This isn't bad, I just didn't get all that much out of it. It has my favourite cover (not the exact one on this edition, but close enough) so I was a little bit overexcited maybe? I don't know, I'm just a bit disappointed.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,109 followers
April 27, 2018
Re-read with buddies!

I suppose it helps that I'm already a lifelong fan of Pratchett, but even objectively, this is a delightful novel about Death's retirement. Sure, he was tricked, but he really needed some time off. Or some time, period.

The magicians were delightful, as usual, and the undead, even more so. This is the zombie apocalypse, Discworld-style, when no one's allowed to die.

It was rather pastoral. :)

I wouldn't say this is my favorite of the Discworld series, but it *does* mark the inclusion of one of my absolute favorite Discworld characters of all time.

Profile Image for Jasmine.
250 reviews330 followers
March 12, 2015
“No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away—until the clock wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life is only the core of their actual existence.”

— Terry Pratchett (1948-2015).

Thank you, Mr. Pratchett. God speed.
February 22, 2021
"This isn't some sort of joke, is it?" he added hopefully.
"Well, of course not, no offense meant. But listen, you can't die, because you're Death, you'd have to happen to yourself, it'd be like that snake that eats its own tail--"
"But what will happen to me?" Albert said. Terror glittered on his words like flakes of metal on the edge of a knife.

I had high hopes for Reaper Man, as I've really grown to love the character Death in Discworld, and as the book gets really high scores on Goodreads, but this is, sadly, my least favourite of the Discworld books I've read so far. In this book, Death is forced out of the job, and people in the Discworld stop dying, creating all sorts of problems, like undead wizards walking the Discworld, and excess life energy building up. Can Death regain his throne, or is the Discworld, coming apart at the seams, doomed in his absence?

It pains me to give this book three stars, because it introduces some characters that have become instant favourites for me. There's Windle Poons, the 130-year-old and now-undead wizard, Miss Renata Flitworth, the elderly, stuck-in-her-ways farmer who takes in the excommunicated Death (under the alias Bill Door) as a worker on her farm, and the band of wizards, led by Unseen University Archchancellor Ridcully, who try to right the wrong of the Discworld by hilariously (and repeatedly) trying to kill the undead Windle. In this respect, this book definitely has the strongest cast of characters of any Discworld book I've read yet.

I also really liked the storyline involving Death and Miss Flitworth, and wish the novel focused on it more. For me, the part of the story that followed the wizards fell mostly flat. They mostly just wander around and fight off the weird shopping cart-like enemies of the book. These parts are overlong and downright boring much of the time. They also don't really seem to add any value to the story, or at least I didn't see any value in them. I found the usual comedy of Terry Pratchett missing for much of this story arc.

In addition to this, I found the plotline around the snow globes and the shopping cart-like things they hatch into to be really weird. It's eventually somewhat explained near the end, but by then I didn't really care anymore, and still felt the whole thing was mostly confusing by the end of the book.

Overall, there are positives and negatives to this book, but the negatives slightly outweigh the positives. The characters are superb, the Death storyline is great, and the ending is strong, but those points just can't negate a meandering plot and the many pages of pointless filler that was the wizard storyline from the middle to the end of this book. I'm disappointed, but I also love most of the books I've read so far in this series, so I'm looking forward to my next Discworld adventure.
Profile Image for Aaron.
29 reviews54 followers
May 16, 2007
If I could steal credit for a book and claim it as my own, Reaper Man would most likely be it. This is the point, I think, where the Discworld novels stopped being entertaining light reading, and really became literature. It's a very subtle shift from the little parodies of science fiction and fantasy conventions of things like The Light Fantastic to the rich satire of a book like Jingo. Behind the story of Death being fired for having developed a personality, there's a clever little parable about what it means to be human, to be alive, and why the man locked in the tower watched the flight of birds.
Profile Image for Belen (f.k.a. La Mala ✌).
846 reviews560 followers
Want to read
April 20, 2015
Mi hermano me dice que, como fue mi cumpleaños, tiene pensado regalarme libros.
-¡Si!- digo yo, saltando en una pata.
-Haceme una lista de que autores te gustan.
Le hago una lista de casi 20 autores, le marco las prioridades, le anoto los títulos que ya tengo de cada uno y, además, le hago una lista extra de autores , en caso de que, por alguna razón, no hubiera ninguno de los que le marqué en un principio, esos otros funcionarían como opciones "aceptables".

(Era una lista de tres hojas)

Hoy, dos días después, vuelve de su viaje a la capital. Me dice:
-Perdí la lista, así que te traje estos.
The Silver Dream y este de Terry Pratchett, dos autores que, da la casualidad, no aparecían en ninguna de las dos listas que tan meticulosamente había escrito y OH CASUALIDAD BIZARRA ENTRE LAS CASUALIDADES son dos de sus autores predilectos!!

Conclusión, creo que mi hermano me acaba de hacer la gran Homero Simpson y de regalarme una bola de boliche , jajajajajaj
Profile Image for Sara.
1,130 reviews365 followers
October 8, 2019
Death has retired. Which might be a problem.

Death is by far my favourite character in the Discworld, and it feels especially poignant to read his stories now following the death of Terry Pratchett. There's just a small amount of melancholy that resonates from the pages. That said, I really enjoyed this and it made me laugh a fair few times. The wit and humour just can't be replicated by anyone else, and this just feels so British and wonderful.

The scenes with Bill Door are, obviously, my favourite - although I liked Ludmilla and Windle's stories too. The wizards I'm always inclined to like less, and their story does devolve into the more absurd. I like the more morally ambiguous dilemmas that Death faces. And he gets all the best lines and character interactions. The Death of Rats! Cyril the dyslexic chicken! If anything, I would have liked to have spent more time with Death and how he coped during his retirement.

Possibly not quite as good as Mort, in my opinion, but I do love these novels.
Profile Image for L.L. MacRae.
Author 9 books370 followers
January 15, 2022
I’m returning to my first foray into Sir Terry Pratchett with the Death books! I meant to read them all over December, but some shipping delays put that on hold after I finished Mort (which I thoroughly enjoyed!)

Oh my goodness the ending to this book is sensational. I cried. I cried A LOT. I actually finished reading it about 10 minutes ago, and my eyes are still leaking.

Other than the incredible final 50 pages or so (which perhaps are some of my favourite pages I've ever ever read), Reaper Man I enjoyed slightly less than Mort. I feel like Mort is quite a strong protagonist, and Windle Poons is not as great a protagonist. Windle is - or, was - a wizard some one hundred and thirty years old. All wizards know when they’re going to die, and Death comes to collect them.

Unfortunately, when Windle dies, Death is nowhere to be found. With nothing to do and nowhere to go, Windle returns as a zombie to try and figure out what’s happening and how to put a stop to it. There are hijinks with other undead - vampires, inverse werewolves, an invisible bogeyman - and the other wizards also try their hand at figuring out why there’s such an abundance of life.

Death, on the other hand, is someone else. Bill Door. I enjoyed these parts of the story far more than the wizards and magical shenanigans, but as with Mort, all parts of the story come together for one riveting, creative, humour-filled magical tale. The ending, as I previously stated, is just incredible. So much emotion. Life. Death. It's powerful, meaningful stuff, and I can see why Pratchett has such a following.

It's brilliant.

I found Reaper Man a great read, though a little more disjointed with fewer strong characters to root for. Writing style is, of course, absolutely sensational! Brilliantly funny in parts, with a deep look at life and death, cities and people. It asks the big questions, the heavy questions. Yes, there is humour and silliness, too, but it is a very deep, meaningful book.

And at under 300 pages, it’s a pretty quick read, too.

I’m looking forward to starting the third Death book, Soul Music, later tonight! :)
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,454 reviews475 followers
September 22, 2017
1 Jan 2002
6 Jul 2014
13 May 2016

Is there anyone who doesn't love Death? He's one of the greatest characters ever. *** Some days a book on the shelf just happens to catch your eye as you walk past, and you think, "Yes! That is exactly what I want to read today!" So you do. And Death takes a (working) holiday, and life is bursting out all over, and the plot is silly, and the characters are so engaging, and you've read it before, so you know what to expect. And it doesn't matter that I didn't read it in anything like proper order relative the last Pratchett or the next one. It was delicious.

6 Jul 2014
Personal copy
Profile Image for Kerri.
989 reviews370 followers
November 29, 2021
Another excellent Discworld book. Death is a brilliant character and I love any appearance he makes, and the books where he is the main focus are incredibly enjoyable. He's a character that works well both in small doses and also as a main character.

It doesn't affect my rating, but I love the cover -- it's great before you've started the book, and even better once all the details start falling into place as you read. 💀
Profile Image for Ben-Ain.
105 reviews17 followers
May 16, 2021
Undécimo libro de saga de Mundodisco y segundo de la serie sobre la Muerte, aunque el protagonismo es compartido en este caso, pues Windle Poons será quien acapare muchos de los capítulos. Como todas las obras que he leído hasta ahora, ésta está repleta de símiles magistrales y situaciones rocambolescas que parecen sumamente lógicas dentro del maravilloso mundo que es Mundodisco.

Muy buenos personajes aparecen aquí por primera, como la señora Flitworth, la señora Cake, Ludmila, Lupine, Schleppel (un hombre del saco agorafóbico y con déficit de confianza), el matrimonio vampiro Arthur y Doreen Winkings… por nombrar sólo unos pocos. Para mí, el plantel de personajes tanto principales como secundarios es sin duda magnífico. Pero sin lugar a dudas y muy por encima de todos está Bill Puerta, quien se lleva la palma, aunque Windle Poons y los magos de la Universidad tienen momentos sin duda hilarantes.

Para mí es un libro redondo, con un argumento interesante, como ¿qué sucedería si la Muerte no viniese a llevarse las almas de los que mueren en Mundodisco? Con esa interesante premisa comenzará lo que será una historia muy divertida en la que veremos de todo, desde la aparición de nuevos sindicatos, nuevos artilugios mecánicos y el nacimiento, literal, de grandes centros comerciales, todo desde un punto de vista original y que realmente engancha de manera peligrosa.

En cuanto a puntuación, le he dado 4 estrellas, o 4.5. No lo he subido a 5 estrellas porque me hubiese gustado que hubiese dado más cancha a algunos personajes secundarios que sin duda son formidables y porque los magos, aunque dan buenos momentos, llegan a dar un poco de confusión en algunos pasajes cuando hay 4 o 5 de ellos hablando al mismo tiempo (sobre todo porque a veces, al menos en la traducción, confunden al Decano con el Tesorero).
Profile Image for Melki.
6,047 reviews2,390 followers
January 9, 2013
...it's just that life is a habit that's hard to break...

With Death off gallivanting around, Discworld residents discover that eternal life ain't all it's cracked up to be. Others just want those dead people to GO AWAY ALREADY!

Perhaps a support group is in order?

This entry in the series has EVERYTHING - action, adventure, thrills, chills, and romance, in addition to the usual amount of rampant silliness one has come to expect from Pratchett, who manages to prove once and for all that WORDS CAN HURT YOU. Screw that old schoolyard saying! When all those "Buggers" you spout sprout wings and start stinging, you'll be sorry!

The subject matter of this tale also lends itself to a bit more introspection and philosophical musings, and dare I say, a few nuggets of wisdom...

There was never anything to be gained from observing what humans said to one another - language was just there to hide their thoughts.

Profile Image for Kevin.
1,564 reviews34 followers
July 7, 2017
Death plays as the Boot in Monopoly, and once again shows his humanity. Pratchett showed the world that death isn't an ending it's a release especially for the very old, 130 year old wizard Wendel Poons. He shares other wisdom as well, "Inside every living person is a dead person waiting to get out", "Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind!!!!!"

When death comes and asks if you have any last words, "Yes, I don't want to go."

Death to all tyrants.

Great fun read, now onto Soul Music!!!!!
Profile Image for Cynnamon.
576 reviews102 followers
February 13, 2023
The DEATH series are not my favourite books among the discworld novels, which does not mean that I still wouldn’t like them a lot.

In this book DEATH undergoes some kind of forced retirement while discworld has to struggle with the consequences.
Besides DEATH we encounter the unseen academicals, a selfhelp group for dead people, a ton of shopping carts, a not quite dead wizard and many others.
As in all of Terry Pratchett’s books there is lot to laugh, but with DEATH there’s always some profound sadness, too.

Recommended, but not as funny as other parts of the series. 4 stars.
Profile Image for David Sarkies.
1,813 reviews319 followers
May 22, 2016
Invasion of the Shopping Centres
6 July 2013

I guess the person that said that the problem with Terry Pratchett is that you have to read him more than once probably applied it to this book in the same way that it had been applied to the other books that I have read and discovered that the second time around I have enjoyed them much more than the first time. Okay, I am probably not going to pick up Moving Pictures again, though this one is definitely one that I should come back to again some time down the track.

The problem that I found with this particular book is that Pratchett seems to try to squeeze two concurring plots into the single book, which is something that he has not really done previously. Most of his other books is generally focused on the main plot, where as this one deals with the retirement of Death and the resulting chaos that comes about, and concurrently deals with this strange phenomena that has appeared in Ankh-Morpork: Shopping Centres.

Somebody also suggested that Pratchett has moved from simply writing parodies of fantasy novels to becoming somewhat more satirical, though I would have to say that I think he has been like that for most of the Discworld series. Equal Rites, which deals with gender equality, was the third book in the series, and he returns to a similar issue with this book when dealing with discrimination against dead (or rather the undead) by the living.

Then there is this issue with shopping centres, which I sort of wonder what the point was, which is why I probably have to go back and read it again. It seems that these things first appear in the form of snow globes and then expand into miniature cities with hordes of vicious trolleys. It is also interesting how they have music which lures people into them in the same way that the Pied Piper lured rats, and children. Personally I believe that shopping centres are a lot more insidious, though you get the idea that from his books these aspects of modern culture are not all that pleasant. My gripe with shopping centres is the way they destroy public space and take people out of the public sphere and place them into the private sphere, which is in effect a controlled corporate space where the corporation not only sets the rules, but also controls what people see. In a way shopping centres destroy our culture and simply turn to what is in effect crass commercialism.

However, that is not the major plot of the book because the main plot deals with how Death is sacked from his job for becoming too human, and as such he retires to a small village where he takes up a job as a farm hand. This is where Pratchett's brilliance really comes out because of the utter banality of his existence, yet it is an existence that Death seems to enjoy. In a way, it is the banality, and being able to appreciate and love the banality of life, that makes us human.

Another thing is how Death is so obviously Death, but it is only the children that actually notice that he is a skeleton. It is obvious that he is a skeleton, and nothing actually changes when he goes into the ordinary world, yet nobody wants to accept it. In fact it seems that if we are confronted with something truly horrifying we end up putting it out of our mind and start pretending that it is actually something else. The reason that the children seem him for who he is: they have yet to learn that a creature such as death should be horrifying. In the end it all comes down to perception – a child's innocent prevents the child from experiencing fear, and it is only when the child learns to fear (or is told to fear something) that they actually begin to fear. In a way it is very much the same with us adults – if we are told to fear something, such as refugees, immigrants et al, then we begin to fear them, even if that fear is unfounded.
Profile Image for Julie.
2,015 reviews38 followers
July 10, 2023
This is the second volume in the sub-series: Death of Discworld. Hubby and I have started listening to it with our daughter while she is visiting for the weekend. We will likely not finish it till she visits next time. It's always good to have something to look forward to!

5/7/23 - We completed three of eight discs and enjoyed the word play, and talk of werewolves, vampires, zombies and the undead. Favorite quotes include: "slicing thin rashers from the bacon of eternity," and "Mrs. Evadne Cake was a 'medium' verging on small." This is a play on words, which made us laugh. Until next time......

7/9/23 - We listened to the last words, this evening. Some of them were, "Death stood alone watching the wheat dance in the wind. Of course, it was only a metaphor. People were more than corn. They whirled through tiny crowded lives, driven literally by clock work, filling their days from edge to edge with the sheer effort of living."
Profile Image for Ashley.
61 reviews1 follower
April 8, 2022
2 stars
Death was enjoyable to read about, the wizards, not so much.
Profile Image for Pavle.
423 reviews141 followers
August 15, 2017
Na osnovu mog pozamašnog iskustva od cela tri (čitaj: CELA TRI) Pračetova romana, stekao sam utisak da su delovi koji se tiču Smrti dosta slobodniji od recimo (a ne zato što sam samo još taj pročitao; okej, zato što sam samo još taj pročitao) Straže, pre svega u narativnom smislu. Zato mi je i Mort u retrospektivi malčice opao: iako sam se smejao i uživao, ne mogu reći da se baš nečeg posebnog sećam, jer je ipak taj roman pre svega podloga za meditaciju o društvu i životu, ali i za razvitak likova. Neke posebne priče nema.

I to me dovodi do nečeg čudnog. Primećujem da iako generalno (... i iako su generalizacije loše) najviše volim romane bez p od priče, u fantastici volim romane sa pričom. Ili bar nekakvom narativom. Kao da ovaj drugi aspekt, karakterizacija, atmosfera i sl., u žanru nikada nisu dovoljno snažni da iznesu čitav roman. Ili bar retko. Pračet je bio blizu sa Mortom, ali ne i potpuno uspeo.

Ovde, medjutim, sve je divno i bajno i krasno. Priča postoji, ali u tri rasute narative, i stvarno nije toliko važna. Mnogo važnije je ono ispod, a to je (uz ozbiljnu opasnost da udjem u kliše) nešto posebno. Rečenice su hodajući citati, kako zbog humora, tako i zbog topline, ljudskosti kojom zrače. A poslednjih dvadesetak stranica su... Pračet. A Pračet je u rečniku negde pod „dobrota“.

Profile Image for Toby.
836 reviews331 followers
July 10, 2014
Just finished this whilst running and all the wonderful insightful thoughts I'd had about it over the past few weeks escape me as I sit exhausted yet happy. Reaper Man is the second novel that focuses on Death. This time he has been shorn of his anthropomorphic designation and sentenced to a short life on the Disc as punishment for becoming too individual. Those pesky Auditors make their Discworld debut (as do a whole raft of wonderfully fun creations including many new species in Reg Shoe's Fresh Start Club for the not actually dead) and set about ridding the Disc of its meddling Death. It doesn't go as planned but it takes a certain talent to tell a story about death and dying and have the readers cheering for the figure with the scythe come the end and the journey with Bill Door is one of my favourites in the Discworld universe so far. Of course it wouldn't be an early Discworld novel without a simultaneous plot going on that ties in to the main story in some way, this time the recently invented wizard faculty get to raucously investigate what is happening to the world now that nothing is dying, including the suddenly full of beans Windle Poons, wizard - DECEASED.
Profile Image for Marta Álvarez.
Author 23 books5,746 followers
July 16, 2017
3.5. Tiene un arranque muy muy muy muy divertido (sublime incluso), y una sinposis de lo más Pratchett: la Muerte tiene más personalidad de la que la Muerte debería tener jamás, así que la apartan de su trabajo. El problema es que, sin un sustituto a la altura, la vida chorrea por todas partes: los objetos inanimados se vuelven locos, los muertos están vivos, el abono del jardín te ataca de manera teorrífica... ¿Quién no querría saber cómo termina todo esto?
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