This is part of the Death sub-series of Discworld books, but he isn’t in it much. It’s also a send-up of rock music, just as “Moving Pictures” was a send-up of Hollywood films. There are lots of in-jokes, but I liked this one better.
A young harpist, Imp Y Celyn, comes from his mountain home to Ankh-Morpork hoping to make a living as a street musician. He finds that the Musicians Guild makes that impossible, but with two equally unemployed musicians, troll percussionist Liam and dwarf horn player Glod, Imp finds a new direction. When his harp is destroyed, he buys a powerful magic guitar that enthralls audiences and Imp himself, instigating a wave of new sounds they call “Music With Rocks In It.” Imp becomes Buddy, and soon the canny salesman Dibbler, scenting lots of money to be made, is their manager.
Meanwhile, Death is distraught over the demise of his former apprentice Mort and Mort’s wife (and Death’s daughter) Ysabell. Their daughter, Susan, is in a fine boarding school with little memory of her grandfather, but when Death decides to vacate his post and try to dull his pain on Discworld, Susan is thrust suddenly into his role. As often happens, she has to learn on the job, with some help from Death’s horse and the Death of Rats. But when she encounters Buddy and his music, all bets are off.
The many rock music references in this book felt less strained than in “Moving Pictures,” and the plot and characters are entertaining. Recommended.