Every now and then, we get one of those “real world stuff bleeds into the Discworld” books. For example, Moving Pictures involved, as you might guess, a sudden discovery of and obsession about movies. With a Discworld flare, of course. Those books are the ones I seem to enjoy the least. Soul Music is the third book in the Death subseries, and it was one of those types of books. In this case, the sudden discovery and obsession is for rock and roll music although, in Discworld, it goes by the name “Music with Rocks In” and includes some trolls using rocks as drums.
Maybe part of the problem is that I just don’t seem to get a lot of the jokes in these types of books. I’ve never watched a lot of movies, so a lot of the stuff in Moving Pictures went over my head. Likewise, I’m not terribly knowledgeable about rock and roll, and I think most of the references were probably from the 50’s and maybe 60’s, and I’ve never listened much to the music of that era.
In addition to that, we have Death once again going off the grid and shirking his responsibilities, leaving other people to deal with the repercussions. This is only the third Death book and yet it already feels repetitive. Part of the reason it frustrates me is because Death is a fun character, and I want to see more of him actually being Death. I think I actually enjoy him more when he shows up in the other subseries books.
I guess it sounds like I hated the book, and I really didn’t. It’s just easier to write about my complaints. So, what did I like? I enjoyed the humor that didn’t relate to rock and roll music. Pratchett has a great way of coming up with funny descriptions for common things. For example, this one made me laugh enough that I took the time to highlight it: "And people got up and started cheerin’ and dancin’ and stampin’ their feet like there was a plague of cockroaches." I also really enjoyed the concept of the character of Susan, who was one of the aforementioned characters who had to take up the slack for Death. I say “the concept of” because she really didn’t get nearly enough page time and her part of the story was too similar to another story in an earlier book. Despite that, she captured my attention when she was first introduced and I really liked the idea of her character.