Soul Music, part of Terry Pratchett’s extensive Discworld series, explores two basic themes: universal music through the discovery of Music With Rocks In and the Grim Reaper’s existence. An aspiring musician buys a mythical guitar when his harp is squashed by a troll. He and his newfound friends are transformed into an instant band with unexpected success. The Librarian, wizards of Unseen University, and many others react to the current of life flowing from The Band With Rocks In. The Grim Reaper takes a sabbatical, and his granddaughter, Susan, is called upon to do his duties.

There are three particular things I like about this story. The beginning deals with Susan and her connection to Death. This part of the story was unique and I believe could have been developed further. Beyond this, her character has less to do with the story than expected. The second part is the wizards’ and Librarian’s reactions to the music. The idea is that the music is constantly in the background of life, and when it is brought into the foreground by good musicians, everyone responds to it. The third is the concept that Death does not cause the deaths of people. He/She is there to share the moment with the particular person, and sometimes it becomes too much for even Death to handle. This concept is also expressed in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

The one thing I didn’t like is the jumping between characters in the story. Some of the leaps were too quick and hard to follow. Some of the dialogue was also difficult to comprehend, because of its basis in culture and slang.

related-music, personification of death, fate, changing history, Discworld

For those of you who haven’t read Terry Pratchett, he has a quirky, random wit often touching on the profound, though not delving too far. He regularly goes off on entertaining tangents. Discworld is a huge series, different books dealing with specific aspects of his Discworld, to the point that some of the books have little or no connection to others. It is unnecessary to start from the beginning (the early books are bizarre anyway), so long as you know that some of it may require further reading to appreciate.