Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
book, review, discworld
This review was originally posted at Goodreads and imported here later with next to no spell/grammar checking.
I had high hopes for this one, and they were mostly fulfilled, but not entirely.
It follows Suzan, the daughter of Isabelle and Mort from the first Death book taking over the family business as Death (her grandfather) takes another leave of absence. In the meantime, a strange new kind of music appears and starts taking over the world. Music full of guitars, drums and people wearing weird dresses. Rocks have a huge thematic prominence for whatever reason.
So in a sense, you can think of this as the musical counterpart to the Moving Pictures book. And so I was on a much firmer ground here.
There are so many references to the early days of rock and roll and heavy metal that you won’t be able to get them all. I appreciated a bunch, but my knowledge of the early history is not that strong. It showed.
I keep being amazed at the breadth and depth Pratchett manages to go to. Anyone can read up the history and make "The Who" and "Grateful Dead" puns (exquisite as they ended up being). But knowing about the relationship between guitar shops and the Stairway to Heaven song is not something non-guitarists tend to know about.
The book is fun to read, hilarious at places while still being much more than just a comedy. It’s got the talking raven with the best name ever, wicked imagery (especially the ending features as the Exhibit One in the Rule of Cool entry on TV Tropes) and it flows well.
I did find a few more plot holes here than in the previous Discworld works. The motivation of several key characters and choices is left unclear. More than in any of the other ones, here I felt things happened because the author wanted them to happen.
Of course, that’s how all books work everywhere, but when one starts thinking about the meta narrative rather than the story itself, something’s wrong.
Still, I really enjoyed it. It does have a few throwbacks to the previous books, but if you want start with this one, you wouldn’t miss that much.