Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Ok, I’m going to say this very quietly because I know that Terry Pratchett has a devoted following who loves and appreciates his writing style and creativity:
I hated it.
Soul Music follows many characters of the Discworld through an independent collection of self awakening. While Susan, the granddaughter of Death (yes, THAT Death), takes over the family business when Death experiences a mid-life crisis, Imp the Bard and his band of misfits are playing for their lives when they create the new sound: Music with Rocks In. Imp catches Susan’s eye and a youthful romance emerges as Susan fights the sands of time to save his life. All the while, the music rocks the academic world sending stuffy professors of all things occult into a frenzy over studded leather and rebellion.
I have had this book in my possession since January 2015. I have picked it up, read a little, and set it down over and over again. I have read over 10 books since this book came into my household and I have suffered through it. It has flown with me to and from Orlando, Florida. It has sat on bookshelves, night stands, end tables, coffee tables, desks, and swam in my giant purse. I have tried to commit to reading it and failed, repeatedly. It was out of sheer willpower that I finished it, and then, it was only out of the intentions of writing this review. Writing low scored reviews on books I didn’t like is one of my least favorite things to do. The last thing I want to do is turn a reader away from a book that they could potentially love just because it didn’t set well with me or connect on whatever level I needed it to connect on. So here is what I can appreciate about Pratchett’s Soul Music.
Pratchett has a vivid imagination that is insurmountably clever. If you’re paying attention you will catch on quickly to his ability to twist common bits of our world’s culture and history and place it into the seemingly naive universe of the Discworld. His ability to create an entire world on the backs of elephants who are standing on the back of a turtle who is standing on something, but that’s not important, is worthy of praise and I admire his creative genius. When he passed away it was brought to the world’s attention that he was suffering from alzheimer’s and still writing. That alone is an incredible feat and I respect him as an author.
Now here’s why I didn’t enjoy this novel – although the characters are rich and entertaining, we spend so little time with them in one sitting (merely a paragraph or two before jumping to another bit of the Discworld), that there is no opportunity to become invested in the character’s success or demise. These exceedingly short blips of character storyline mingle with so many other character storylines that there really is no telling if a paragraph was actually going to go somewhere. I know I’ve been reading a good book when I’m sweating out the final pages, worried there aren’t enough pages remaining in the book to satisfy a proper ending for the characters I have grown to love. Soul Music was the complete opposite – I chugged through, flipping the pages, eager for the finish with zero concern for whether or not the characters’ plots were rounded out.
In the end, it felt I was reading the book for the sake of reading it with no entertainment value or appreciative experience. Now to tell me friend, who lent me his beloved book, the truth of my reading. Send your prayers.