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Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

Soul Music (original 1994; edition 1995)

by Terry Pratchett

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7,49375461 (3.9)175
Title:Soul Music
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Corgi (1995), Edition: paperback / softback, Paperback
Collections:Fiction, Discworld, Read but unowned

Work details

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett (1994)

  1. 10
    Dangerous Space by Kelley Eskridge (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For another story about music as a living thing, see the title short story in this collection. (The short story is also freely available for download on the author's website.)

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Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
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 “Music with Rocks In” and includes some trolls using rocks as drums.

Maybe part of the problem is that I just don’t seem to get a lot of the jokes in these types of books. I’ve never watched a lot of movies, so a lot of the stuff in Moving Pictures went over my head. Likewise, I’m not terribly knowledgeable about rock and roll, and I think most of the references were probably from the 50’s and maybe 60’s, and I’ve never listened much to the music of that era. I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me before I finally got the constantly-repeated “he looks elvish” joke. I’m pretty sure I was at least halfway through the book.

In addition to that, we have Death once again going off the grid and shirking his responsibilities, leaving other people to deal with the repercussions. This is only the third Death book and yet it already feels repetitive. Part of the reason it frustrates me is because Death is a fun character, and I want to see more of him actually being Death. I think I actually enjoy him more when he shows up in the other subseries books.

I guess it sounds like I hated the book, and I really didn’t. It’s just easier to write about my complaints. So, what did I like? I enjoyed the humor that didn’t relate to rock and roll music. Pratchett has a great way of coming up with funny descriptions for common things. For example, this one made me laugh enough that I took the time to highlight it: "And people got up and started cheerin’ and dancin’ and stampin’ their feet like there was a plague of cockroaches.". I also really enjoyed the concept of the character of Susan, who was one of the aforementioned characters who had to take up the slack for Death. I say “the concept of” because she really didn’t get nearly enough page time and her part of the story was too similar to another story in an earlier book. Despite that, she captured my attention when she was first introduced and I really liked the idea of her character. ( )
  YouKneeK | Sep 27, 2016 |
My partial re-read of the Discworld series continues with Soul Music, in which Death suffers another existential crisis and disappears again, his granddaughter Susan is tapped to fill in for him (which comes as quite a shock to her, since she was raised to believe beings like him were mythical), and the Disc discovers the dangerous power of Music With Rocks In.

And a terrific installment of the series it is. I really like the rock music plot; it's definitely more engaging than the wizards-and-shopping-carts parts of Reaper Man (much as I adored everything else about that one). The story is sufficiently substantial and satisfying, while also having some laugh-out-loud funny moments. And Pratchett is clearly having loads of fun with all the musical jokes. Whoever said that puns are the lowest form of wit clearly never read Pratchett. The man pretty much elevated them to an art form.

Susan, who makes her first appearance here, is a great, too. She may not be quite as awesome as I remember her being later in Hogfather, and she's still a teenager with a teen's limited experience of the world, but she's a wonderfully vivid character, and already formidably strong-minded. I might have appreciated seeing a little more of Death himself than we got, but that's just because I'd happily read an entire novel full of nothing but Death petting his cats and doing his paperwork, not because there was less of him than there needed to be. Pratchett certainly does capture all the interesting things about him here, sometimes in fairly subtle ways: his utterly endearing well-meaning cluelessness, his humor, the profound nature of what he is, and the inescapable sadness of his duty and his existence. (Yeah, there are reasons why Death is kind of my favorite.) ( )
1 vote bragan | Jun 18, 2016 |
I'm not sure exactly why I keep reading this series. As I've said in other 'reviews' it's partly because I want to catch up to the first one I read, Going Postal, so I can reread that one in its place. And it's partly because most books have good bits, and some books are pretty good. I think, so far, Equal Rites is probably my favorite.

( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Some of the jokes are great. Otherwise, it's just standard Discworld - the same, repeated formula, getting really old. ( )
  comfypants | Feb 6, 2016 |
Terry Pratchett is so different from anything else I've read. I probably wouldn't keep trying these books if so many writers I love didn't revere him so much. I just have a hard time getting into the Discworld books. I can't feel that sense of place I get in other novels, many of the characters are cartoonish, and this book, in particular, had a very meandering plot. And I'm not sure I liked the sudden shifts from comical to profound. I just never knew what to expect from this book, and that was unsettling.

That's not to say I didn't like this book, though; it was still my favorite Discworld book thus far. I really liked how music was its own kind of magic, and I loved every scene with Death in it. The rest was just okay. I think I'm going to have to go back and read Reaper Man—from what I've heard, there's a lot more Death in that book, which sounds like tons of fun. ( )
  AngelClaw | Feb 1, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindforss, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Planer, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabanosh, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is a story about memory.
'Mumblemumblemumble,' said the Dean defiantly, a rebel without a pause.
The hippo of recollection stirred in the muddy waters of the mind.

This audio book has been produced under the auspices of the Ulverscroft Foundation, a registered UK charity which helps visually impaired people.

For more information, or if you wish to make a donation or a legacy, please contact: Ulverscroft Foundation, The Green, Bradgate Road, Anstey, Leicestershire LE7 7FU Tel: 0116 236 1595 email: foundation@ulverscroft.co.uk Website: www.foundation.ulverscroft.com
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Book description

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 addictive music that has entered Discworld.

It’s lawless. It changes people.

It’s called Music With Rocks In.

It’s got a beat and you can dance to it, but…

It’s alive.

And it won’t fade away.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061054895, Mass Market Paperback)

Soul Music is the 16th book in the bestselling Discworld series, with close ties to the fourth book, Mort. Susan Sto Helit is rather bored at her boarding school in the city of Ankh-Morpork, which is just as well, since it seems that her family business--she is the granddaughter of Death--suddenly needs a new caretaker. --Blaise Selby

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:33 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

By the author of The Light Fantastic. This 13th novel set in Discworld tells the story of Death's granddaughter, who inherited the job and grew to enjoy it. And of Imp the Bard, who strove to make his fortune in a rock band, and who was so unlucky that all his dreams came true.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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