Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
book, review, discworld
This review was originally posted at Goodreads and imported here later with next to no spell/grammar checking.
This is technically the second book in the Death subseries of Discworld (Mort being the first one), but there’s almost no connection to it. You can treat it as standalone for all intents and purposes.
For one, Death himself is the titular Reaper Man in this book. He goes on a… sort of a vacation. And that means a build-up of life force and that means… complications. Hilarious complications, because this is still Discworld, folks. Especially when the wizards get tangled up in it all.
I’ve also only started to realise this with the previous book (Moving Pictures), but every time the wizards show up, the twisted ghost of Lovecraft is not far behind. It takes a while to manifest, but it’s here again, too.
Reaper Man was a quick an easy read. I wasn’t roaring with laughter the whole time, but it’s got some absolutely fantastic scenes in it. The cussing of the Unseen University’s arch-chancellor takes on an entirely whole new shape, for example. Plus it features what must be the best typographical joke I can think of.
The audiobook (narrated by Nigel Planer) is excellent as usual, so even if you read it with your ears, I recommend checking the physical form out for Azrael’s reply towards the end.
And speaking of ending, this is another excellently wrapped-up book. It is about death (capital-d and otherwise) and Pratchett moves between the seriousness and jokes with such a grace I was crying and laughing at the same time. Which is an expression, yeah, but one that rarely happens in practice.