Soul Music (Discworld Series #16)

Soul Music (Discworld Series #16)

4.1 63
by Terry Pratchett
     
 

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When her dear old Granddad — the Grim Reaperhimself — goes missing, Susan takes over the family business. The progeny of Death's adopted daughter and his apprentice, she shows real talent for the trade. That is until a little string in her heart goes "twang."

With a head full of dreams and a pocketful of lint,Imp the Bard lands in Ankh-Morpork, yearning

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Overview

When her dear old Granddad — the Grim Reaperhimself — goes missing, Susan takes over the family business. The progeny of Death's adopted daughter and his apprentice, she shows real talent for the trade. That is until a little string in her heart goes "twang."

With a head full of dreams and a pocketful of lint,Imp the Bard lands in Ankh-Morpork, yearning to become a rock star. Determined to devote his life to music, the unlucky fellow soon finds that all his dreams are coming true. Well almost.

In this finger-snapping, toe-tapping tale of youth,Death, and rocks that roll, Terry Pratchett once again demonstrates the wit and genius that have propelled him to the highest echelons of parody next to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

Editorial Reviews

Carl Hays
Where else except in a Terry Pratchett novel can the consenting reader find not only Death himself but his diminutive rodent counterpart, the Death of Rats? Along with intrepid crime-watchers Constable Detritus and Sergeant Colon, an orangutan head librarian at Unseen University, and a flying horse named Binky, Death distinguishes a motley cast in this latest installment of Pratchett's internationally popular Discworld series. Here, the story concerns Death's granddaughter, Susan, who, unaware of her ghoulish heritage and thoroughly bored in school, is one day made aware of her inborn talents by Death's servant, Albert. Assisted by the Death of Rats and Binky's airborne fleetness, Susan learns the reaper's trade on assorted battlefields and deathbeds and even grows to enjoy it until she hears music emanating from an immortal magic guitar. Pratchett fans will take endless delight in a profusion of puns, wit-laden footnotes, and rambling comic misadventures in this first-rate fusion of humor and fantasy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061054891
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/28/2003
Series:
Discworld Series, #16
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.54(w) x 11.02(h) x 1.07(d)
Lexile:
640L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Where to finish?

A dark, stormy night. A coach, horses gone, plunging through the rickety, useless fence and dropping, tumbling into the gorge below. It doesn't even strike an outcrop of rock before it hits the dried riverbed far below, and erupts into fragments.

Miss Butts shuffled the paperwork nervously. Here was one from the girl aged six:

'What We Did On our Holidys: What I did On my holidys I staid with grandad he has a big White hors and a garden it is al Black. We had Eg and chips.'

Then the oil from the coach lamps ignites and there is a second explosion, out of which rollsbecause there are certain conventions, even in tragedy--a burning wheel.

And another paper, a drawing done at age seven. All in black. Miss Butts sniffed. It wasn't as though the gel had only a black crayon. It was a fact that the Quirm College for Young Ladies had quite expensive crayons of all colors.

And then, after the last of the ember spits and crackles, there is silence.

And the watcher.

Who turns, and says to someone in the darkness:

YES. I COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING.

And rides away.

Miss Butts shuffled paper again. She was feeling distracted and nervous, a feeling common to anyone who had much to do with the gel. Paper usually made her feel better. It was more dependable.

Then there had been the matter of ... the accident.

Miss Butts had broken such news before. It was an occasional hazard when you ran a large boarding school. The parents of many of the gels were often abroad on business of one sort or another, and it was sometimes the kind of business where the chances of rich reward go hand in hand with therisks of meeting unsympathetic men.

Miss Butts knew how to handle these occasions. It was painful, but the thing ran its course. There was shock, and tears, and then, eventually, it was all over. People had ways of dealing with it. There was a sort of script built into the human mind. Life went on.

But the child had just sat there. It was the politeness that scared the daylights out of Miss Butts. She was not an unkind woman, despite a lifetime of being gently dried out on the stove of education, but she was conscientious and a stickler for propriety and thought she knew how this sort of thing should go and was vaguely annoyed that it wasn't going.

"Er ... if you would like to be alone, to have a cry-" she'd prompted, in an effort to get things moving on the right track.

"Would that help?" Susan had said.

It would have helped Miss Butts.

All she'd been able to manage was: "I wonder if, perhaps, you fully understood what I have told you?"

The child had stared at the ceiling as though trying to work out a difficult problem in algebra and then said, "I expect I will."

It was as if she'd already known, and had dealt with it in some way. Miss Butts had asked the teachers to watch Susan carefully. They'd said that was hard, because ...

There was a tentative knock on Miss Butts's study door, as if it was being made by someone who'd really prefer not to be heard.

She returned to the present.

"Come," she said.

The door swung open.

Susan always made no sound. The teachers had all remarked upon it. It was uncanny, they said. She was always in front of you when you least expected it.

"Ah, Susan," said Miss Butts, a tight smile scuttling across her face like a nervous tick over a worried sheep. "Please sit down."

"Of course, Miss Butts."

Miss Butts shuffled the papers.

"Susan. . . "

"Yes, Miss Butts?"

"I'm sorry to say that it appears you have been missed in lessons again."

"I don't understand, Miss Butts."

The headmistress leaned forward. She felt vaguely annoyed with herself, but ... there was something frankly unlovable about the child. Academically brilliant at the things she liked doing, of course, but that was just it; she was brilliant in the same way that a diamond is brilliant, all edges and chilliness.

"Have you been . . . doing it?" she said. "You promised you were going to stop this silliness."

"Miss Butts?"

"You've been making yourself invisible again, haven't you?"

Susan blushed. So, rather less pinkly, did Miss Butts. I mean, she thought, it's ridiculous. It's against all reason. It's--oh, no ...

She turned her head and shut her eyes.

"Yes, Miss Butts?" said Susan, just before Miss Butts said, "Susan?"

Miss Butts shuddered. This was something else the teachers had mentioned. Sometimes Susan answered questions just before you asked them ...

She steadied herself.

"You're still sitting there, are you?"

"Of course, Miss Butts."

Ridiculous.

It wasn't invisibility, she told herself. She just makes herself inconspicuous. She... who ...

She concentrated. She'd written a little memo to herself against this very eventuality, and it was pinned to the file.

She read:

You are interviewing Susan Sto Helit. Try not to forget it.

"Susan?" she ventured.

"Yes, Miss Butts?"

If Miss Butts concentrated, Susan was sitting in front of her. If she made an effort, she could hear the gel's voice. She just had to fight against a pressing tendency to believe that she was alone.

"I'm afraid Miss Cumber and Miss Greggs have complained," she managed.

"I'm always in class, Miss Butts."

"I daresay you are. Miss Traitor and Miss Stamp say they see you all the time." There'd been quite a staff room argument about that. "Is it because you like

Logic and Math and don't like Language and History?"

Miss Butts hesitated. There was no way the child could have left the room. If she really stressed her mind, she could catch a suggestion of a voice saying "Don't know, Miss Butts."

Soul Music . Copyright © by Terry Pratchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett's novels have sold more than eighty-five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II made Pratchett a knight in recognition of his "services to literature." Sir Terry lives in England with his wife.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Date of Birth:
April 28, 1948
Place of Birth:
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Education:
Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

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Soul Music 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
TristanBlackWolf More than 1 year ago
Generally thought of as the third book in a trilogy featuring the character of Death, "Soul Music" delivers a hilariously pun-filled look at the phenomenon of early rock-n-roll. Well up to snuff with the other Discworld books, with the added joy of watching Death trying to get a better feel for what this whole "being alive thing" is all about. It's also the first time we get to meet Susan, who is Death's granddaughter. Having read other books with Susan in them ("Hogfather", etc.), it's great to see her origins (so to speak). I have but one complaint with the NOOK edition: Someone didn't bother to proof the book very well. Words are run together; italicized "I" is translated as a forward slash; whole series of short sentences are run together; section breaks are missing. I realize that publishers only want to cash in by charging huge amounts of money reselling a product they only have to make once... but at least they could take the time to make it right before they soak us for unconscionable amounts of money that the author sees precious little of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a rating for the nook book quality only. The typos and editing errors are the worst I've ever seen in a book: "limbo" instead of Jimbo, looting instead of looking, fiat instead of hat (and many many many more), countless hybrid words due to missing spaces and strange page breaks and margin changes. The worst offender was every instance of "gal" (or I at least assume it was supposed to be gal) was replaced with "gel", as if someone had done a Find:Replace on it- incredibly distracting and annoying. If we have to pay the same amount as a paperback for something that we are not allowed to loan or sell as we please, we should at least expect to get a quality product. It is obvious that no one even read 10 pages of this e-book before releasing it. Seriously Barnes and Nobel, do you really have so little respect for your readers?
Joel_Aufrecht More than 1 year ago
All of the Discworld Nook editions have been fairly typo-laden, but this one is probably the worst so far. In some places the spaces between words are missing ("workedon"), in others lines of dialog run together without line breaks. Extra page breaks are added randomly (e.g. pp 124-125, which somehow is broken enough that the margins change; similarly 176-177). Jimbo's name is sometimes "limbo" (p127, among others). Altogether there seems to be at least one typo every few pages, for the entire book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For those that have read Pratchett's Discworld books, this is a story of Susan. For those that have not read any of the discworld books, this story is about beginnings, second chances, drugs, sex and music-with-rocks-in. The main character of the story is a girl named Susan, who happens to have a very... peculiar... relation with Death. Not to be confused with 'death', what happens at the end of 'life', but Death, the personification of said natural phase. In short, she is his Granddaughter. Entering from stage right, is Imp y Celyn. Non-Bard, player of the harp, just wants to get a few gigs and make some money like any respectable musician. Problem is, his harp has been broken. Now, where to get a new instrument? That old shop that wasn't there yesterday looks just like a good place to get one... If you like this book, check out the others in the recommend list.
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