Recent Reads: Equal Rites


Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett


If you haven’t heard of Terry Pratchett or Discworld than you are in for a fun surprise (but you are on this blog, so there is a better chance that you have than not).  Discworld was one of those series I kept hearing pop up in my Geek Girl Book clubs.   If you are looking to inject some fantasy into your library than I strongly suggest the Discworld series as they offer a wide range of characters, adventure, and humor.  Not only are they fun, quick reads, they are readily available for affordable prices through which is where I picked up several of the series titles.  Even though it was recommended that I start with Small Gods, I was immediately drawn to Equal Rites.  The tagline was too much to resist “Feminism clashes with a sorcerors feud…”


Even though Equal Rites is the third title published in the Discworld series, it can be the first title read in the series and you wouldn't be lost.  That is part of the magic of Discworld. You don’t need to read the books in a specific order.  There are recurring characters and similar places, and each character lives in the Discworld universe, but each tale is unique and distinct to its own (that I have read at least).  This novel I consider special because it was the first appearance of a well-loved character, Granny Weatherwax, a surly old witch who has a soft spot for those around her, even if it comes out as hard love.  This tale follows the apprenticeship of Eskerina Smith (Esk for short), the accidentally first female wizard and her quest for acceptance in an all-male, old school, boys club of an industry (wizarding).  


This book is filled with humor and sweet moments, mainly between Granny Weatherwax and Esk.  The relationship of teacher and pupil dives into an even more loving and at times, harsh, circumstances especially being that Esk seems to be a younger version of what I would imagine Granny Weatherwax to be as a young girl.  What is genuinely profound about this story is its continued relevancy even in 2017.  This was a story originally published in 1987, and it could still be considered topical for today's female readers.  How is it 30 years have passed, and we still are fighting the gender stereotypes that Esk faced and Pratchett highlights in this story?  Even though this story is funny and will make you laugh out loud even to yourself, there is food for thought between the words.


Going through Goodreads, you will find a mixture of loving or hating it.  Most of the haters seem to either be well read in the series (this was one of Pratchett's earlier works, so he wasn’t wholly flushed out as writer - everyone grows) OR a man (who really have no idea how it feels to live as a bench warmer in a mans world so they can suck it for all I care). To me, Equal Rites was an excellent way to start the Discworld series.  It can be choppy at times, especially compared to other works of Pratchett but all in all, I found this to be an insightful and enjoyable read.