Equal Rites

Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy
Quote: “This is a story about magic and where it goes and perhaps more importantly where it comes from and why, although it doesn’t pretend to answer all or any of these questions. It may, however, help to explain why Gandalf never got married and why Merlin was a man. Because this is also a story about sex,”
Setting: Fantasy world–Middle Age
Premise: Tradition dictates that the eighth son of an eighth son must be a wizard, everyone knows that. And so, the dying Wizard Drum Billet made the pilgrimage to the enigmatically named village of Bad Ass and passed on his staff, just as tradition dictated. Except this time tradition didn’t want to be followed. This time the bearer of the staff was a baby girl.

Terry Pratchett. What a legend. This is the third book in the Discworld series following The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, but this series can be read entirely in isolation from each other. In fact, I’d recommend that you start with this one!

I first read Equal Rites when I was nine. A brave recommendation from my Mum when the quote “this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get completely beyond the author’s control” is on the first page, leaving me with the vague impression that sex included maths exercises. However, it was a book I needed, and one that has formed a core part of my ideals.

Terry Pratchett’s writing style is immediately immersive. The man could paint entire universes with his words–literally. He does it on the first page of this book, with sound effects. Reading any Terry Pratchett book is a 4D experience to the visualisation reader, and the characters are so well formed that I count Granny Weatherwax, the main character of ‘the witches’ stories in the discworld series, as one of my ultimate role models.

As you may have guessed from the title, this is a story of equality and that really is the dominant theme. Men are wizards, women are witches. That was the way of the world until a wizard’s staff chose baby Eskarina to be its bearer. From then on Esk’s life is a battle, but lucky for her Granny Weatherwax is a battle axe and will not see Esk’s potential wasted because of tradition.

I have read and re-read this book so many times that my copy is sticky taped together like some Franken-book, although on reflection dropping it in the bath probably didn’t help there. If you’re going to read the Discworld series. Start here.

You’ve heard enough about how much I like this book, but is this book you’re hunting for?
1. Do you need a no nonsense, straight talking, equality champion of a Witch in your life?
2. Are you in need of a book that will make you laugh out loud?
3. Do you want to dive into a richly imagined world guided by an expert author who can make you feel the mist curling around your ankles?

If you answered yes, yES, YES! Then this might well be your next favourite read!


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