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Soul Music

Terry Pratchett

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (3 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : Victor Gollancz

Published : 1994

Copyright : Terry & Lyn Pratchett 1994

ISBN-10 : Not known - BCA Edition
ISBN-13 : Not known - BCA Edition

Publisher's Write-Up

Other children got given xylophones. Susan just had to ask her grandfather to take his vest off.

Yes. There's a Death in the family.

It's hard to grow up normally when Grandfather rides a white horse and wields a scythe-especially when you have to take over the family business and everyone mistakes you for the Tooth Fairy.

And especially when you have to face the new and addictive music that has entered the Discworld.

It's lawless.
It changes people.
It's called Music with Rocks In.
It has got a beat and you can dance to it, but...
It's alive.

And it won't fade away.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (310501) Rating (7/10)
Review by Nigel (301200) Rating (8/10
Review by Thief (301200) Rating (6/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 7/10
I am sure that this is something that I have said before, on reviewing a book by the illustrious Mr Pratchett, but I have this feeling that I have missed some of the funny bits because I lack a similar frame of reference. Well, as much as I enjoy lots of different kinds of music, some of the references are a bit before my time, although I can make a vague guess at what they are, I am not so much of an anorak that I will try to find them all.

Soul Music is the story of Imp y Celyn, Glod Glodsson and Lias Bluestone, who are musicians. Imp y Celyn is a man who looks a bit elvish, Glod is a dwarf, Lias is a troll, and between them they are so skint that they do not have the money to be able to join the musicians guild, so they are not allowed to play music within Ankh-Morpork. Sadly, we hear that the Duke and Duchess of Sto Helit, parents of Susan, have passed away in a tragic manner, leaving Susan orphaned.

Susan is a student at a boarding school and is very good at logic (although not so good at her other subjects,) so when her Grandfather goes missing, she finds herself talking to a raven (acting interpretor for Death of Rats), and being taken to the home of Death, on the back of Binky. It turns out that Death is depressed at his inability to forget anything that has ever happened, or is ever going to happen. He has gone missing, searching for something which will make it all easier for him to bear.

There is, therefore a hole in reality which needs to be filled and which reality feels could be adequately filled by Death's only living relation. Susan, being a logical and practical girl, is not very impressed by the random way she feels Death deals with his duties, she feels that it is unfair that good people die young and bad people live a long time.

An example of this is the musician Imp y Celyn, who should have died at his first performance in Ankh-Morpork's Mended Drum, victim of a senseless accident. Susan, however, decides to save him, but watching the musicians play, she finds her assistance unnecesary, because although the Life Timer says that he is dead, he appears to have something else sustaing him. Spooky. Imp's ambition is to be the greatest musician ever, although this ambition has been severely curtailed when his prize harp was squashed flat by someone sitting on it.

Cue the mysterious shop, which had never been there before, but had always been there, if you get my drift, mysterious shops tend to be like that. In the shop, they found a variety of strange musical instruments, hocked at varying stages of desperation by their musical owners, waiting for a flush moment in which they will be reclaimed - sad, but true.

Upon finding a guitar with a number one chalked on it, they fund the purchase in a novel manner, and form their band. Their music is not of a familiar kind to the citizens of Ankh-Morpork, being described as music with rocks in. They therefore call themselves the Band with Rocks in.

Not to give too much away, the story gets quite complicated, a problem compounded by the wizards finding that they really enjoy Music with Rocks in, and getting all dressed up in strange ways that go well with listening to the music.

There are so many bits that you think you recognise - one of my favourites comes when they are stealing a piano, and they are stopped by Constable Detritus, and they say that they "are on a mission from Glod" - how on earth does TP manage to work things like that in??

And when the Dean of the Unseen University decides to make himself a pair of blue trousers to go with his leather jacket, Ridcully says that he thinks that wizards should not wear trousers, the Dean says that no one will ever name a pair of trousers after Archchancellors - deans, get it??

It seems as though there are lots of references to the era of Rock and Roll, with ponytails and petticoats, and then punk, with Anarchy in Ankh-Morpork. It is as though anyone could be a musician, and part of the fun is to be able to just change your name - Imp y Celyn and Lias both change their names, you will probably find things to laugh at that I missed, but isn't that part of the charm?
Chrissi (31st May 2001)

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Review by Nigel
Rating 8/10
This is a Death novel so I was really looking forward to it, even though I wasn't so sure about the music element.

Basically Death is having a mid-life crisis, and starts asking questions like:


'Sir?' asks Albert.


Now, these aren't the sort of questions Death should be asking, 'cause if he doesn't know, who does? Anyway, because death is out looking for the answers a vacancy arises that Susan starts to fill, not completely of her own free will.

Lots of funny bits, especially when Death has a drink…

'It was the most impressive collapse the bar had ever seen. The tall dark stranger fell back slowly, like a tree. There was no cissy bending at the knees, no cop-out bouncing off a table on the way down. He simply went from vertical to horizontal in one marvellous geometric sweep. Several people applauded as he hit the floor.'

Nigel (30th December 2000)

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Review by Thief
Rating 6/10
Wasn't as good as the other one!
Thief (30th December 2000)

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