Hot on the heels of Guards! Guards!, I turned to Mort for my next gym audiobook (although I didn’t actually listen to much of this one in the gym).
Mort also happens to be #65 on the The Big British Read list of 200 books, which means I can tag this review for the Listicles bingo square! (Guards! Guards! is listed at #69 and Good Omens at #68, and there are 12 other Pratchett books on this list, more than any other author. Roald Dahl, in comparison, has 9 on the list and someone I’ve never heard of because I’m not actually British, Jacqueline Wilson, has 14 to Pratchett’s 15).
Mort was, in a word, delightful. I think I still preferred Guards! Guards! but Mort was similar in the way the plot unfolded: some things went predictably, other things were foreshadowed wonderfully but still managed to be a bit of a twist (the climax I did not expect, and the final moment of the climax I also did not expect, and I’ll stop using climax now because even though I am so comfortable using it in writing-sense rather than an erotic-sense, it still feels slightly uncomfortable).
One thing I appreciate most about Pratchett is that he feels no need to make his characters wish-fulfillment characters. No one is ever impossibly clever, ravishingly beautiful, etc. Mort is neither particularly skilled nor particularly intelligent, but he tries hard and doesn’t give up and is that rare thing, a fundamentally decent human being. Ysabelle is neither beautiful nor enchanting, but stubbornness can be a fantastic quality in a heroine. Even Keli, who could have fallen into the wish-fulfillment trap, is studded with imperfections.
The one problem about listening to this in audiobook form is that Death’s all-caps intonation is not as effective as when it is written. The narrator, Nigel Planer, does a great job (though nothing quite as good as his nasal Vimes voice from Guards! Guards!) but there is something in seeing Death’s dialogue written out that can’t quite be captured by the spoken word.
Having recently moved to Denmark, I have been trying to embrace the national pastime of hygge (coziness, for the two people who haven’t heard about hygge yet). Mort, for all that it is about Death, is like the novel equivalent of hygge. Some things in this world might be bad and scary (including death), but enjoyment of the novel is like cuddling up in a warm blanket and shutting out the world. And candles are involved somewhere.
Bingo Square: Listicles
Previous Bingo Squares: Underrepresented, Brain Candy, White Whale, Cover Art, This Old Thing, Throwback Thursday, And So It Begins, Birthday!, So Shiny!, Cannonbookclub
Actual bingo coming soon