REVIEW: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
(For more Pratchett reviews, see The Great Pratchett Reading Project table.)
Way back when, Equal Rites was the third Discworld novel I had ever read. I remember being pretty much non-plussed about it. After rereading the book again, I can say that I still have the same noncommittal feeling for it. It’s hard to say exactly why. Equal Rites, unlike The Color Of Magic, is a single cohesive story so there isn’t any jarring jumps in the story line. It does have the usual Pratchett array of witticisms and parodying of genre conventions, but on the whole, it just doesn’t rise above being mediocre.
In fact, I think I have this same feeling for just about all of the books in the Witches series of books. Maybe its because I’m just not interested in the witches as characters or their stories. In Equal Rites we have Eskarina Smith and her attempts, with Granny Weatherwax, to become the first female wizard. Pratchett takes all the obvious shots at equality between the sexes and the pigheadedness of male dominated organizations. Perhaps that’s why the book never seems to rise higher than it does. While this sort of thing may have been ‘new’ in 1987, the idea of satirizing the battle of the sexes is, by now, well worn and tired. Even Pratchett’s usual humorous tricks don’t raise the level of the story.
Which is too bad, since most of the other Discworld novels are at a higher level than mediocre. I’ll be reading Wyrd Sisters next so I’ll get a chance to put my memories to the test. At least the Witch novels going forward will have Granny’s cantankerous one-eyed cat, Greebo, to help things along. If your looking to get into Discworld, I’d recommend starting elsewhere, like with Guards! Guards! or The Color Of Magic.
Filed under: Book Review
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