Soul Music is the sixteenth novel in the Terry Pratchett Discworld Series, and the latest that my son has finished reading to me as we work our way through the lot.
I remember loving Soul Music when it first came out, but on re-reading I am not so enamoured as I was, although Oscar absolutely loved it. He loved it so much in fact that his usual ten pages became fifty yesterday as he insisted on finishing it, because he wanted to know what happened at the end.
Soul Music is about rock ‘n’ roll reinvented for the Disc as ‘Music With Rocks In’. In this book though there are really two stories. The first of which deals with what happens when Pratchett time slips the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll through a Discworld sensibility and manages to create an entire mountain of puns and sly allusions to our own understanding of it as possible. The second is his furthering of the story and character of Death, by introducing Death’s grand-daughter, Susan to us.
To me, the two stories do not make particularly happy bedfellows on re-reading. The narratives are at times, rather clumsily bolted together to make a whole, but when you think about the magnificence of Susan in Hog Father, this is tame stuff in comparison and you feel that the story of Death trying to forget, and Albert trying to save him, and Susan coming to an awakening of her unusual birth right, would have made a much better story on its own.
Oscar loved it though, and that’s what matters. He particularly enjoyed all the terrible jokes, and was delighted that the wizards make a memorable return in this book. He was particularly happy about the Librarian creating a magical low ride motorbike in the basement of the Unseen University.
This is everything you would expect from the Discworld, it’s just a bit less polished than normal, but enjoyable nonetheless. It is recommended for teens, and I would, as always, suggest that you start at the beginning of the series if you want to get the true magnificence of what comes later, as part of what makes these books so enjoyable is tracing all the references to previous adventures as you build on your vast knowledge of the Discworld.