Book Review Wednesday: Equal Rites – Terry Pratchett (4 stars)

Posted: August 6, 2014 in Book Reviews
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I’ll admit, I wasn’t so keen on the first two books, but this book which follows a different set of characters I liked a lot more. It was less humorous than the first two, but with that it also made a lot more sense. The plot is a lot more cohesive, and there was less having to read a page a few times over to try and make sense of it.

Here’s the blurb:

On Discworld, a dying wizard tries to pass on his powers to an eighth son of an eighth son, who is just at that moment being born. The fact that the son is actually a daughter is discovered just a little too late. The town witch insists on turning the baby into a perfectly normal witch, thus mending the magical damage of the wizard’s mistake. But now the young girl will be forced to penetrate the inner sanctum of the Unseen University–and attempt to save the world with one well-placed kick in some enchanted shins!

So, the bad points: There still seems like there’s too much clutter, and the plot line was very slow for my liking. It took a while to get into it, and I did find myself bored at points. There just doesn’t seem to be much going on until near the end of the book. But this is one of his earlier books, so maybe that improves later? I am planning to go onto book four, so I’ll see.

The good points: the characters are likable, there’s some humor although not as much as the first books, and the parts where Esk gets to show off her magical abilities are very satisfying. I also really liked the grandmother’s use of ‘headology’ (basically using the placebo affect.) And something like quantum mechanics crops up later in the book, which being a science nerd I always like hearing about.

The best parts of this book for me had to be the message about gender roles. Girls can be wizards, and guys can be witches. Separating magic into types and restricting them to genders isn’t helpful. There are a lot of parallels to real life, like ‘only guys are good at math,’ and ‘girls should stick to the softer subjects.’ This is akin to all those inspiring stories we hear about, like how hard the first woman to attend medical school had to fight to get in. Sure, it’s fantasy, but really it’s the same story, and it’s always nice to see the underdog fight for what they want.

Should you read it? It depends. If you read the first two books and only liked them for the zany humor, then you may not enjoy this one as much. If you liked the first two books because of the interesting world, then give this one a go. As this starts fresh with all new characters instead of following on from the previous ones then you can start with this one out of order. I’m a little ocd about series order even if they don’t matter, so I’ll be working my way through them by number.

In case you want to read more reviews on this book before  you make up your mind, go to the following line: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34507.Equal_Rites

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