Review: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Arguably the best of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Novels, Equal Rites introduces readers to his beloved character Granny Weatherwax, and what a spectacular ride this book is. (And no, unlike Granny's broom, you won't need to give it a jump start.)
The third Discworld novel opens with a surprising conundrum. In Discworld, the eighth son of an eighth son is always a wizard. In the town of Bad Ass, wizard Drum Billet is waiting to pass on his staff and power to a boy who has just been born. A lot of arrogance and sexism goes on in Discworld and as a consequence, Drum fails to check that the baby is in fact, a boy, and unintentionally passes on his staff and power to a baby girl named Eskarina or Esk for short. The Discworld has its first female wizard, and no one quite knows what to do with her.
What follows is an entertaining ride as Granny Weatherwax, the local witch tries to guide and help Esk find her place in the world and, hopefully, challenge a few stuffy old wizards along the way. As always, Pratchett is at his best when he's sending up human nature and well, everything else that is just so terribly, terribly human. There are quite a few laugh out loud moments. Parts of this novel work better than the first two Discworld novels, and I found the change in lead characters--from Rincewind to Granny Weatherwax--to be quite refreshing. The underlying message about sexism and gender equality is weaved in perfectly with the often humorous and occasionally violent situations that Esk and Granny Weatherwax find themselves in.
Overall, a marvellous, memorable read.