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(P) ISIS Publishing Ltd, 1995; Copyright © Terry Pratchett, 1987; Cover Illustration © Josh Kirby
Entertaining quick read. Not too much going on but it gave me a good chuckle. Audio quality is poor and the editing is haphazard but this wasn't too distracting.
Overall worth a listen.
Another masterpiece by Terry Pratchett that brilliantly crosses over the ages-old gender division between female earth witchery wisdom and male abstract conceptual sorcery and for the first time in human history effects their successful mergery. After this relentless critical deconstruction, Magic and its practitioners will never again see as "natural" these baseless gender shibboleths.
That was my first experience with Terry Pratchett. I really liked the humor and the story. I am going to read more of Discworld series. Unfortunately a lot was lost because of bad narration. Sometimes I had trouble understanding the text. It could be just my problem (I am not native English speaker), however it never happened before.
Simply, or rather not simply, but most indeffinately complicatedly; fantastic. The author and voice bring to life the discworld in a way that make the imagination dance.
Middle Path Helmsman
This book is just the first of many in the Discworld where female characters are the movers and shakers. male characters are somewhat...incidental.
Also the first appearance of the incomparable Granny Weatherwax! who is the very definition of strength and determination. I prefer Nigel Planer or Stephen Briggs for narration but there is simply no way to ruin a book by Sir Terry
The plot seemed to meander after the midpoint and ended with an unsatisfactory fizzle. I'm a big Disworld fan, so Pratchett's humor is on par and if that's your primary concern (as was mine), this delivers.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
When a wizard on the Discworld knows he’s about to die, he passes on his staff and magical powers to the eighth son of an eighth son who is being born at that time. So, that’s what the wizard Drum Billet does just before his death — he passes on his powers to the baby who’s just been born to the Smith family. But nobody notices in time that Eskarina Smith is not a boy… Several years later Esk realizes she’s got some uncontrollable powers so she, along with her friend Granny Weatherwax, the local witch, sets out to find her place in a world where women do not have equal rights.
Equal Rites is the third book in Terry Pratchett’s DISCWORLD series and the first in which Rincewind the cowardly wizard is not the protagonist. Though the focus here is on Eskarina, the first female wizard on the Discworld, the real star is Granny Weatherwax, the indomitable witch who features more prominently in the DISCWORLD series. Granny is full of wisdom and teaches Esk that not all power comes from magic. Much of it comes from the way a person looks, what she wears, the things she knows about the world, as well as various “magic” tricks such as placebos and confirmation bias.
Granny’s lessons about power are directly related to the other obvious theme in Equal Rites — gender equality. Terry Pratchett, who’s famous for identifying and making fun of clichés in fantasy literature, said in a 1985 talk published at Ansible that “the fantasy world…. is overdue for a visit from the Equal Opportunities people.” So he set out to show us, in his funny way, that women can do most things that men can do and that choosing not to use a power that you have is a kind of power in itself.
Terry Pratchett does a great job with his female characters and that’s probably the main reason I liked Equal Rites better than the previous DISCWORLD novels — this is a sweet coming of age story which relies more on character development and interactions than parody and comedy. Also, it seems to me that Pratchett’s humor has matured since the beginning of the series (or maybe he’s just getting more comfortable in the Disworld) — the jokes are starting to feel more organic.
I listened to Celia Imrie narrate the audiobook version of Equal Rites. She was wonderful. If you purchase the Kindle version of Equal Rites for $5.69, with the Whispersync deal you can get the audio version for $2.99.
It took me learning more about Granny Weatherwax before I was able to enjoy this story. So I would suggest listening to Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad first to get to know the Granny first.
Given more background to have more sympathy for characters
I'm just an audio learner and any reading aloud sticks with me more then on the page.
continue with discworld series
I've listened to hundreds of books and Celia Imrie stands out as a gifted narrator. Her voice conveys subtle changes in line with what the character is experiencing in a way that I had never experienced with other narrators. Her narration of Granny Weatherwax was a complete delight. I would seek out books narrated by her again.
Though this book is different from the main series in many ways, in its humor, keen observation of the foibles of humans (witches and warlocks), and in its philosophical musings, it fits right in. Perhaps it is because I'm a woman, but I found this story to be entirely engaging. I was cheering for the female wizard and Granny all the way. It was wonderful to hear a witch's view of the world of warlocks.
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