I finally decided to dip my toes in the Discworld series and after looking up some good entry points, I decided to start with the Death subseries. The novel mainly follows the character of Mort, a young man with no apparent career skills, whom Death chooses to be his apprentice. Mort finds it difficult to accept it when certain people are about to die, especially if it seems to be in an unfair way, which leads to a messy situation the first time he is tasked with picking up souls on his own.
Right from page one, Terry Pratchett’s cleverness and ability to write effortless humor shone through. Sometimes when I’m reading, it feels like the author is trying hard to be funny, and while it may work, it doesn’t always come across as natural, but Pratchett weaves it in seamlessly. This is especially so earlier in the novel. I didn’t note down many examples, but one of the passages I highlighted was when the odor of a city was likened to the “nasal equivalent of a foghorn.” There’s less humor later on when the situation Mort and other characters are in gets more serious.
I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of character growth for Mort. He becomes more Death-like as the novel progresses, presumably as a function of Death trying to explore what it’s like to be human, but I’m not sure how much he has ultimately changed by the end of the book. I also thought the book’s ending was a little too rushed, particularly with the romantic relationship Mort has. That said, I’m looking forward to reading more of the Discworld books and getting to know the character of Death a little better. I found his existential crisis interesting and would like to see where it goes.