I always have a difficult time getting into the groove with Pratchett novels. Given the serious nature of most of the books I ever read, it takes me at least fifty pages to begin to come to terms with all the slapstick parody. Usually after that, though, I find myself in heaven, and "Soul Music," for the most part, upheld that illusion without a hitch.
I used to be into rock music a number of years ago, but I grew out of it as I began to take notice of just how pointless all the angst associated with the scene really was; the fact that all the bands sounded the same, I suppose, must have also played a part in my disenchantment. Whatever the case, this installment in the Discworld series struck a chord with me as it began to make note of all the conventions that go along hand in hand with the music; spike-studded leather clothing, you could say, goes along pretty well with the entire scene--but outside of that, you really can't justify its usage with any other point.
For a while, it's great to see Pratchett introduce element after element on the ground that "it just *fits*"--at least, until the end of the novel approaches, and you realize that what has been parodied is really nothing more than the superficial elements of it all.
But it's all fine and dandy, because when things begin to grow stale, our attention is turned towards Death's granddaughter's approach to her newly-inherited vocation, and the more intimate details of Death's home. I don't know if any details on the latter may have been dispersed in previous installments of the series (as I've only read a handful), but what's here is a hoot--it's a neat little way to make Death a more palatable, charismatic character.
The most problematic issue at hand, though, seems to be the conclusion of the novel--we're treated to dozens of terse passages that try to build up momentum for a situation so clichéd that it almost lacks any sort of impetus whatsoever, and at the end of it all you're left scratching your head at what seems to be a rushed, indolent excuse for an ending. And if you read over it, you'll realize that the passages relating to the Patrician are but a waste of time--nothing he does is important enough to progress the story, and since Pratchett forgets about him by the end (or middle) of the book, it seems like the reader is expected to have done so as well.
So I'll forget, and imbue the inner recesses of my mind with the opinion that "Soul Music" is a great frivolous read. There's really not enough reason here to regret having spent my money; in fact, for more passages with C.M.O.T. Dibbler alone, I'd probably be willing to fork over twice as large an amount.