Rating 4.5 stars (of 5)
A young man travels to the big city to find his way in the world as an artist and becomes a major sensation, rising to fame with two companions he falls in with. The city and surrounding area is swept up in a mania for the new genre of music the trio play. Meanwhile, Death decides to run away from his duty and his granddaughter has to take over. She doesn’t like her new job and changes the rules a bit.
Writing the synopsis for this story was hard. Perhaps that should be a bad sign, but I loved this book. I know it’s acceptible to love something even if you don’t understand why, but I started keeping a record of books I read and posting reviews so I could think a little harder about what works for me in books, so I could eminate it. But enough about me. I think one of the things I love about Pratchett is how he starts several seemingly unconnected threads in the plot and then eventually weaves them together. I am content to sit back and follow the separate stories until their paths intersect to make the story whole.
This book is another in a series of over thirty five set in the same world. In each novel, the main character is different but the supporting cast has many of the same characters, some of whom may actually be a main character in a different story. This gives the reader a sense of familiarity with the world without it being repetitive, like visiting your favourite vacation spot each summer.
As in many of the stories in the Discworld series, in Soul Music Pratchett takes a couple of elements of everyday life and makes us think about what they really are. His parody of music fads is great, capturing the artistic temperament, the desire of the public to emanate the stars, the way of life of a touring rock band, the capitalistic promoters and the power of music. He has great insight both into human nature and the development of technology, understanding how one industry can spawn many more. And he weaves into the plot questions about death. He even makes Death a loveable character – a masterful accomplishment. How? Death is funny because Death is ironic, terse and disguises himself as a homeless person, where he is accepted.