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Equal Rites (2005)

Equal Rites (2005)

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3.95 of 5 Votes: 5
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0060855908 (ISBN13: 9780060855901)
harper perennial

About book Equal Rites (2005)

Granny takes on the old boys club4 August 2012tThere are a few things that I have to say before commenting on this book as such. Firstly this is the second time that I read it, but I have listed it as a read book because when I read it the first time the friend who had lent it to me then proceeded to tell me all of the jokes. In fact, every Discworld novel that he ended up encouraging me to read generally came with a running commentary, and as such I ended up getting put off of them quite quickly. As it turned out, the funniest Discworld novel that I read was Guards Guards because that was the one novel that I read before he could spoil it for me. Secondly, I must say that I prefer the covers drawn by Paul Kirby as opposed to the other covers that I have looked at on the Goodreads site because his art seems to capture the essence of Discworld.tI decided that instead of writing commentaries on the Discworld books that I read a while back that I would actually give Pratchett a chance by re-reading them and I must say that I am really glad that I did. His use of the English language is little short of masterful, which is not surprising since prior to becoming a full time author he was a journalist. While anybody who knows how to construct a proper sentence can write a story, it takes a lot of skill to write a story the way Pratchett does. Not only does he use puns in a way that actually make them funny (with the title being an example) but he is also able to use modern pop-culture to describe aspects of the Discworld in a way that actually does not make me cringe. While I do not believe that he is mixing metaphors, it is not exactly something that I have seem any fantasy writers really do. However not only does Pratchett do it and do it well, he also gets away with it.tNow, this book is about how a young girl inherits, quite by accident, a wizard's staff, and in inheriting the staff she also inherits the wizard's magical ability. The catch is that on Discworld women are not supposed to be wizards. It is not that they can't be wizards, it is just that they are not supposed to be wizards (it is sort of like an old boy's club). It harkens back to the early twentieth century when women were not supposed to do a lot of things, not that they couldn't, but because the male dominated society said that they were not allowed. Obviously things had changed a lot by the time that Pratchett wrote this book, but in a way he showing us how the idea that women should not do a man's job is nothing short of absurd. However, I do suggest that things have gone a bit too much in the opposite direction, namely because some women are being allowed to work in areas simply because they are women, not because they are actually good at I. Please don't get me wrong, I am all in favour is gender equality and smashing open the old boys networks, it is just that I prefer appointments based on merit as opposed to gender. It is like the days when a noble would command an army, not because the noble could actually command an army (and in many cases they couldn't) but because they were a noble. The whole idea to me is absurd. I guess that is why Pratchett wrote this book.tI have suggested that this was probably Pratchett's make or break book, namely because he had already completed the two part Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic, and here he appears to have pretty much dropped the original characters and started afresh with new characters: Granny Weatherwax and Esk (though Esk hasn't appeared any of the books since – or at least the ones that I have read). Granny will appear in other books down the track, but she in introduced here, with her powerful stare and her headology (the art of making people think something when it really is not the case). However it has been suggested to me that this story was not well received. Personally I cannot say but since he has written 32 novels, I guess this book did make him, though I also suspect that by the time we reach book 20 we find that only die hard Pratchett fans are buying his books (in the same way that die hard King fans buy Stephen King books). I still note that the odd Pratchett book or five seem to be commonplace on many a bookshelf.tFinally I would suggest that Pratchett is not necessarily doing anything new, but rather taking an old style and putting it into a fantasy novel. His clever use of metaphors remind me of Douglas Adams (the Vogon Constructor fleet hung in the sky the way bricks don't) however from what I remember of Douglas Adams, his Hitch-hikers series seems to hit a brick wall at Life the Universe and Everything. Secondly, the story reminded me of the Asterix books, though instead of creating a comic he writes a story. However the way he writes the story, particularly when Esk meets the wolves in the forest, puts pictures of Asterix comics in my head.

Part 3 of the Complete Discworld RereadMen are wizards and women are witches, and that is the way it is. But when a dying wizard tries to pass his magical staff on to a newborn boy, someone should have checked with the midwife on the baby's gender. Now Granny Weatherwax has a problem. She can teach young Esk all about witchcraft, but the raw magic flowing from her is going to need training in wizardry. Sure the rules say only a man can be a wizard, but for Granny, rules are for everyone else to obey.While the first two books were more about the world than the characters, this outing is much more focused. This is a book about Granny and Esk, the fact it is on Discworld is a side note only. Because of this we learn more about Granny, and what makes her tick, in this book than we learned about Rincewind in two outings. And learning about Granny is well worth it. She is strong, intelligent, and stubborn as ten mules. The contrast in her between the times she has to play to expectations of being a witch(faking fortune reading for example), and when she shows her full power(a shape-shifting wizards duel) are a real highlight. Esk is a good character as well, though not as strongly fleshed out. While she may be a little too smart for an eight year old, the magic running through her body makes that forgivable. While insanely talented, she makes some very real mistakes. And even though she may act twice her age, the times she shows an eight year old's emotion makes her even more real.The plot is simple enough, Granny's training of Esk, a short but memorable travel to the big city, and a ending at the university. There is also a possible end of the world plot line. If someone is looking for a detailed and complex plot they best move onward. Though well crafted, there is not much depth.However if a person is drawn to great characters, this is the best novel of the series yet, and could easily be a starting point if someone wants to skip the more parody oriented 'Color of Magic' and 'Light Fantastic.'4 stars*Possible Spoilers Below*(view spoiler)[ Granny-fricken-Weatherwax. Easily my favorite character of the series, and she has a strong start here. Already we see her stare work on anyone she puts it against, her strength(and care) in burrowing, and headology. And for all her care not to use magic, we see her use more magic in this book than we will in later outings.Esk is interesting enough, but pales in comparison to Tiffany in later books. In some ways this feels like an early attempt to write an Aching book. Esk is stubborn, extremely talented, and acts a little older than she should be able to. I know she is brought back in 'I Shall Wear Midnight', but really she was brought back in the first Aching book, just under a different name.A few things I noticed: The librarian has embraced his orangutang shape, creatures from the dungeon dimensions are so very common in early books, the wizard Simon wasn't that different from Coin in 'Sorcery', the town of Bad Ass is introduced(but name not explained), what happened to Archchancellor Cutangle(who was a good character)?, at this point the thieves and assassins are under one large guild of allied trades, and finally, Granny's interest of Bees is already present.This book makes me interested to reread both Sorcery and Wee Free Men, to see just how similar areas of the too books really are, or if my memory is playing tricks on me. (hide spoiler)]

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I just recently re-visited this book after a couple years away from it. What's more, I've just recent re-read several of the more recent Witch novels from Pratchett, so they're fresh in my head. Granny Weatherwax is one of my favorite characters of Pratchett's, and as an author, it does me good to see how she began as a character. This book has some rough edges. There's nothing wrong with it, mind you, but it was still very early on in Pratchett's career, and it doesn't have the smoothness of his later work. Discworld is not nearly as developed, and neither is his writing style. Granny doesn't have her friend Nanny Ogg as conversational foil and counterpoint in this book, and it's surprising how much that limits her character. What's more, while you can see elements of the character Granny eventually becomes, there's a surprising streak of country bumpkin in here here. In later books she loses most of that (which is for the best) and while she may not be worldly, she is still self-posessed and wise. Another interesting echo is the relationship between Granny and Esk. Twenty years later, Pratchett brought a similar relationship to beautiful fruition with Tiffany Aching. As a result, this book is merely great rather than utterly brilliant. Even rough-hewn early Pratchett is better than 75% of all books out there.As a side note, this is not a bad entry point into reading Discworld. Normally I advise people begin at the beginning of the series, but despite this being the third book of Discworld, it makes for a better start than either of the first two books....

Pratchett’s third Discworld novel dispels with Rincewind and the various other assorted characters we met in the first two books, instead introducing one of the series’ most memorable characters: Granny Weatherwax, the sharp-tongued witch. Unfortunately, Granny is embroiled in a rather slow-moving tale that doesn’t really go anywhere for a hundred pages, before finishing with a rip-roaring conclusion that’s full of amusement, excitement and excellent writing. It’s just a shame that Pratchett didn’t go there sooner…The plot is about a little girl who wants to be a wizard, something previously unheard of. Pratchett gets plenty of mileage from this plotline, and there’s fun coming from the possessed wooden staff, which is kind of like the Luggage, in that it has a mind of its own, but not quite as funny or intriguing. When the plot gets moving away from Granny’s hovel, it gets pretty interesting, and there are lots of odd characters and weird situations to enjoy. But I loved Rincewind and his exploits, and I was sorry to see the back of them, and the first half of this books feels like Pratchett treading water. You read it for all the jokes and humour – spot on as usual – but that’s it…

(Relectura Mundodisco #4)Tercera novela del Mundodisco y primera que no protagoniza Rincewind. En esta ocasión la protagonista es Esk, una niña de ocho años, octava hija de un octavo hijo, y por lo tanto maga de nacimiento. El problema es que jamás ha habido una mujer mago. Los hombres son magos y las mujeres brujas, y siempre ha sido así, aunque no lo ponga en ningún sitio. Con esta premisa, Pratchett vuelve a remover los tópicos de la novela fantástica, quizá no siempre de una forma tan paródica o divertida como en las novelas anteriores, sino de un modo más crítico. Hay que tener en cuenta que se publicó en 1987, cuando no era tan frecuente ver novelas fantásticas protagonizadas (o incluso escritas) por mujeres. Y ya que hablo de mujeres, hay que mencionar la aparición de Yaya Ceravieja, el personaje femenino por excelencia en Mundodisco, que nos deja las primeras nociones de cabezología.Todavía no era el mejor Pratchett pero iba en camino.

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