Around the Discworld: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #3)


Today is my review for the third book in the Discworld series and the next step on a journey that Louise over at Lou’s Book Stuff and I agreed to undertake together whereby we read the entire Discworld series in order. You can check out Lou’s review here (I will be linking up asap).

EqualritesEqual Rites is book No.3 in the series and was a little bit of a turnaround for me.  I liked the first two books but I wouldn’t say I was bowled over, Equal Rites felt like it had a storyline I could get into a little more and of course Granny Weatherwax plays a role – and she is a character indeed.

My reviews for book 1 and 2 are here and here.

The main gist of the story for equal rites is that witches can’t be wizards.  This is a known fact.  Is isn’t possible.  So, when a dying wizard passes his powers and staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son – imagine the dilemma when the newborn baby turns out to be a girl.  Of course, it’s too late to backtrack, the staff has been passed on and now belongs to Eskarina Smith – more than belongs in fact, the staff has a force of it’s own and it seems to protect its new owner with a passion.

Enter Granny Weatherwax.  She lives on her mountain and prefers goats to people.  She steps in to try and help train Esk in the witch ways, unfortunately Esk has too much untamed magic and finally it seems that the only thing would be to take her to the Unseen University – a very male  establishment where the only way for Esk to enter is to be part of the staff, invisible, in the background, but secretly learning.

As I mentioned already I enjoyed this one more than the first two in series.  In fairness, it’s probably unfair to say I didn’t enjoy them because I did.  They’re entertaining stories with a whacky madcap humour but Equal Rites is the earliest introduction to Granny Weatherwax and already she is a character not to be trifled with.  I’ve previously read the Tiffany Aching series and loved them so rediscovering this earlier version of Granny was delightful. She is such a force of nature. one of those people who is always right, even if she doesn’t have the first notion about what she’s talking she never admits it – hot damn I wish I’d had a little bit of that attitude at certain points in my life.

Esk is definitely an interesting character but Granny can’t help but steal the show.

Other things worth a mention.  A certain similarity to the first two books in the series where a journey of two people is embarked upon. This particular journey could be said to be a ‘finding yourself’ type tale not just for Esk but for Granny.  She has some very firm views herself, in some respects she feels akin to the wizards – which makes the conclusion of this particular story so interesting and actually a little heartwarming.  I think Pratchett has a way of giving unbelievable characteristics to everyday things.  I think he could probably make a chair look disapproving or a stove cook furiously.  Firstly – the luggage from books 1 and 2 which came across as playful at times and like a determined guard dog at others.  Here we have the staff, positively dripping with stubbornness.  I love these little things.

In terms of slight reservations.  Okay, I wouldn’t say that I’m really experiencing any seriously laugh out loud moments at this stage of my journey through the Discworld but I like to think it’s early days and the world and characters are still being established.  I certainly found this story easier to get along with although that could be the  familiarity with a certain character.  I would also say that my experience with Equal Rites was that I enjoyed the first two thirds of the book more than the concluding chapters where things seemed to slow down for me even though, conversely the pace increased.  That being said there were elements that were greatly enjoyable – I’m thinking of the dual between a certain witch and wizard which was very entertaining.

Witches, wizards, magic, tricks, broomstick riding, magic libraries and a determined witch and her protege ringing in the changes.

I always think the first 2 or 3 books in a series are the foundations and so with still (ahem) quite a few more books yet to come I will say I have high hopes.  I feel like I’m starting to find my feet.  Let’s see what No.4 has in store.

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars

I bought a copy for kindle.