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Reaper Man (1991)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Discworld: Death (2), Discworld (11)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,278132536 (4.13)247
They say there are only two things you can count on ... But that was before Death started pondering the existential. Of course, the last thing anyone needs is a squeamish Grim Reaper and soon his Discworld bosses have sent him off with best wishes and a well-earned gold watch. Now Death is having the time of his life, finding greener pastures where he can put his scythe to a whole new use. But like every cutback in an important public service, Death's demise soon leads to chaos and unrest -- literally, for those whose time was supposed to be up, like Windle Poons. The oldest geezer in the entire faculty of Unseen University -- home of magic, wizardry, and big dinners -- Windle was looking forward to a wonderful afterlife, not this boring been-there-done-that routine. To get the fresh start he deserves, Windle and the rest of Ankh-Morpork's undead and underemployed set off to find Death and save the world for the living (and everybody else, of course).… (more)
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» See also 247 mentions

English (125)  Spanish (2)  Polish (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
( )
  et.carole | Jan 21, 2022 |
I finally enjoyed Death! ( )
  Nannus | Jan 17, 2022 |
pb
  5083mitzi | Jan 1, 2022 |
I did mostly enjoy this book. There was a lot of good in Reaper Man. It was funny, fun, witty, and quotable, with a well-done main story, and at times surprisingly profound. I couldn't rate it four stars for "good," but it's a solid 3.5.

The plot, pacing, and story in Reaper Man are all better than they were in Mort. And while I still found quite a lot of the characters in Reaper Man to be flat and caricatured, a few of the main characters in this one were much more nuanced and believable as people.

Pratchett had also, by the time he wrote Reaper Man, learned to restrain himself from showing off at the expense of the story. The near constant interruptions to the narrative momentum that plagued the prose of Mort do not show up at all in Reaper Man. There are still plenty of witty lines, beautiful descriptions, and sharp, satirical observations, of course - this is Pratchett, after all - but unlike in Mort, in Reaper Man, they serve the story rather than obstruct it, or at least don't get in its way.

The story was funny, and I found myself laughing out loud as I read more than once. And yet there were serious moments, too, which I appreciated - especially the storyline focusing on Death, which I found very effective. Pratchett renders Death both believable, nuanced, and vulnerable, while also inherently other-than-human, which is a very difficult line to tread.

I found the storyline involving the wizards and other assorted characters somewhat less effective, especially near the end, where in my opinion it went off the rails entirely.

I also found myself butting up against Pratchett's ever-present cynicism throughout my reading of Reaper Man, as well as his take on religion, which I found very off-putting. ( )
  Julie_in_the_Library | Dec 24, 2021 |
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!!!!! ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Planer, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
[None]
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[None]
First words
The Morris Dance is common to all inhabited worlds in the multiverse.
Quotations
Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
WHAT CAN THE HARVEST HOPE FOR, IF NOT FOR THE CARE OF THE REAPER MAN?
"I've never been very sure about what is right," said Bill Door. "I am not sure there is such a thing as right. Or wrong. Just places to stand." (230)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

They say there are only two things you can count on ... But that was before Death started pondering the existential. Of course, the last thing anyone needs is a squeamish Grim Reaper and soon his Discworld bosses have sent him off with best wishes and a well-earned gold watch. Now Death is having the time of his life, finding greener pastures where he can put his scythe to a whole new use. But like every cutback in an important public service, Death's demise soon leads to chaos and unrest -- literally, for those whose time was supposed to be up, like Windle Poons. The oldest geezer in the entire faculty of Unseen University -- home of magic, wizardry, and big dinners -- Windle was looking forward to a wonderful afterlife, not this boring been-there-done-that routine. To get the fresh start he deserves, Windle and the rest of Ankh-Morpork's undead and underemployed set off to find Death and save the world for the living (and everybody else, of course).

No library descriptions found.

Book description
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…
Haiku summary
When Death retires,
Who will replace him? And will
He be any good?
(espadrile)

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