Terry Pratchett – Equal Rites


Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites is the third book of the Discworld series, and, it’s the first Discworld book that I have read.

Equal Rites explores the world where women cannot be wizards, and men cannot be witches. However, when a dying wizard visits a blacksmith, things in the wizarding world are about to change. The blacksmith is the eighth son, and his wife is about to give birth to their eighth son – perfect for the dying wizard to pass on his staff. Granny Weatherwax, a central character, who helps bring the baby into world, takes the baby to the smith, who makes it grab the staff. The old wizard dies, but, what the smith failed to realise is, the newborn baby blessed with magical wizard powers is a girl!

For the first eight years of her life, the girl, Eskarina, shows no sign of magical powers. Once she inadvertently turns her brother into a pig, Esk’s parents, under Granny’s advice, decide that she needs to go to the Unseen University – a University where girls are not allowed, as female wizards are against the lore! There, and only there, will she be trained to practice magic responsibly.

Esk, of course had not been trained, and it is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you are attempting can’t be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history.

With the staff giving her the power, Esk takes on the journey through the hills, towns, rivers and valleys of Discworld, to find her place in a man’s world, against all odds. With all the child-like rebellion in the world, and the obstinacy, Esk runs away from Granny, attempts finding her own path, but, at the end of the day, she needs Granny’s help to take her places she wants to go, to ensure she fulfils her destiny – to become a wizard.

Not only does this book tackle the equal rights debate quite effectively, but what makes it thoroughly charming is Esk’s character coupled with Granny’s attitude. Esk, brimming with innocence as well as impulsiveness, is a great character, and her adventures are wildly entertaining. Granny, on the other hand, is careful and protective of Esk, while having some of the most humorous lines in the story, and all-in-all, making the reader wish they actually knew her! Oh, and the town the story is set in is called Bad Ass. It can’t get much better, can it?

This book can easily be read as a standalone, as it doesn’t really refer to any previous on-goings.

Rating : B+

15 Responses to “Terry Pratchett – Equal Rites”

  1. I gave The Colour of Magic a try last year, but I struggled with it. I’m not sure I’ll make it to Equal Rites, but I’d like to give the Discworld series another try.

    • Apparently, The Color of Magic isn’t great – so I’ve been told anyway. Weird, because I love the name! As Claire and Aarti have suggested, maybe Mort is a good place to start?

  2. Ooh, sounds like a good book! I’m meaning to start on at least my first Terry Pratchett this year, and was wondering if I have to follow the chronology of the Discworld books. Good to know that this book can be read as a standalone. I wonder if the other Discworld books are the same..

    • From the little I understand about them, I think they’re standalone. A friend lent me The Witches Trilogy (this is the first book from the trilogy) and she said they’re all standalones.

      Hope you enjoy taking on Pratchett. I read my first last year (A Hat Full Of Sky), and enjoyed it tremendously.

  3. Fairly sure that I read this one back in my youth and liked it, but I read a Terry Pratchett last year and could only grudgingly admit to enjoying it slightly. But your review makes Pratchett sound vibrant and entertaining and not at all annoying. I guess not starting from a position of curmudgeonliness helps…

    Thanks for a great reveiw which has restored my sllightly tarnished faith in Discworld!

    • Which Pratchett did you read last year? It’s always annoying that books you’ve enjoyed back in the day aren’t that enjoyable now… it always leaves you with a strange kind of disappointment.

  4. Now that I see your review, I’m not sure if I read this one. I thought I did… hmmm.

    And for those who tried early Pratchett but didn’t like him, I think he really comes into his stride later. I recommend starting with Mort, Small Gods or Guards! Guards! If those are the ones you DID start with, then maybe he just isn’t your cup of tea? It’s possible!

    • I haven’t read any of the three you’ve recommended. There’s enough time to change that though…! I’m starting with The Witches Trilogy, so… hope I enjoy the other two books (Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad).

  5. I read this one earlier last year and it wasn’t one of my favourite Discworld novels. Like Aarti, I recommend to those unsure where to start or giving Pratchett another shot to go with Mort or Guards! Guards!

  6. 11 Jo

    Now i have a vague recollection of not being able to get on with Pratchett whilst at school, and have never tried him since. But this does sound interesting, so maybe it’s time for another go!

    • Hope you enjoy his writing if you do decide to give him another go. By the sounds of it, Guards! Guards! or Mort is the way forward… Will be keeping my fingers crossed that your second time goes better than the first!

  7. It seems I have totally forgotten the plot of this one, must reread. I’ll throw my further Pratchett reading rec in and say you should try Witches Abroad next :)

  1. 1 Bookie Mee | Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

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