That I am a fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld you all probably know by now. Even so I haven’t gotten around to reading them all. Not even halfway there. Luckily there are various arcs throughout the 41 books so I can at least feel like I have accomplished something. Recently I read Thief of Time and with that I completed the Death arc. I started this arc back in 2014 I believe so it has been a while.
The Death arc focuses on Death as a character. This is what drew my interest in the Discworld series to begin with and I have to say it is well worth it. The Death arc consists of Mort (Discworld book 4), Reaper Man (Discworld book 11), Soul Music (Discworld book 16), Hogfather (Discworld book 20) and Thief of Time (Discworld book 26). There is also a short novella called Death and What Comes Next that you can read for free online. It is only 5 pages so certainly go check that out.
I am not going to say much about the plot lines or Discworld in itself. I feel that you are best to just stumble in blind.
1 Death has to be the biggest reason to read this arc and maybe even the whole of Discworld. Death is given shape in the familiar skeleton, black robed and with scythe that we often picture when we think of Death or the Grim Reaper. However this Death has a personality. He is curious by nature and has the problem of wanting to interact with humans but not understanding humanity. Putting him across from humans gives some hilarious interactions, but he also holds up a mirror towards our own self. He also steps out of his own comfort and boundaries which brings him in weird situations like in Reaper Man and Hogfather. Yet he embraces every minute of it. In truth, Death cares about the humans in his own way.
2 As mentioned above Death holds a mirror to our own self. He or other characters in the books give commentary on belief systems and humans in itself. The way we perceive time, fairy tales and even kids. These books always make you think. Pratchett also liked to play with our history and such. Discworld for instance isn’t round…
3 Humor is one of the biggest things in Discworld that I appreciate and that is certainly present amongst the Death books. The amount of times I’ve laughed out right or just read with a big smile on my face. Husband was always a little creeped out by this.
4 You don’t have to read them in order. While I’ll admit, it is easier for the timeline to read them in order there is certainly no reason why you couldn’t read Thief of Time before Mort. Each story stands on its own and there aren’t any overlapping storylines between the books besides the characters.
5 Some things feel unlikely like Death having a family. And yet there is an odd sort of family in the Death books. It is completely dysfunctional. It doesn’t make sense. And yet it leaves a warm fuzzy feeling inside of you when you read about even a hint of mush between these characters. There is such an underlying tone of care and frustration with each other. Like in most families.
Bonus. There is a Rat of Death you guys. And it is the cutest thing of ever.
Series: Death Arc (Part of Discworld) by Terry Pratchett
Tags: Fantasy / Standalones / Companion books / Death / Death as character / Grim Reaper / Time / Hogfather / Santa / Music