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Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Monstrous Regiment (2003)

by Terry Pratchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Discworld (31), Discworld: Industrial (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,44697706 (3.98)157
  1. 81
    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For middle-grade readers who like mouthy protagonists who ignore naysayers: Because if Tiffany (age 9) isn't going to get help from any adult, she'll solve this on her own.
  2. 00
    Half-Witch: a novel by John Schoffstall (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For rising YA readers who like smart mouths and smarter brains, because when Lizbet(age 14) finds God's advice lacking any sort of practical application, she kicks off her quest with a heist. From the cathedral.
  3. 12
    Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer (bethielouwho)
  4. 13
    Regiment of Women by Thomas Berger (bertilak)

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» See also 157 mentions

English (87)  German (6)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Why didn't somebody tell me about Terry Pratchett? Why??? I picked this novel more or less at random as an introduction to the Discworld series. (MR is no. 31 in the series.) Here Pratchett is both a biting satirist and and riveting story teller. And I came to care very much about Polly/Oliver Perks and her mad/sad/stubborn comrades. ( )
  AstonishingChristina | Aug 19, 2018 |
My second favourite Discworld book (after Night Watch). Perfect mix of humour and gritty bits. I love the way topics like war, religion and gender are treated here. Plus, there are cameos by Sam Vimes and William de Worde, which made me very happy. ( )
  thedreadcat | Apr 24, 2018 |
I've been wanting to find a way into the Discworld series but not knowing where to start, I asked folks on library Twitter, and this book was recommended as an entry point. This novel follows Polly Perks as she disguises herself as a man and joins the army in order to find her missing brother. Her ragtag regiment has a lot of individuals not ready for war as well as a vampire, troll, and an Igor. It turns out that Polly is not the only one in the regiment with a secret. Spoiler: It turns out that pretty much every member of the regiment is a woman. This leads to a comical plot where they go undercover disguised as washer women. This is a funny and sharply satirical book, and it does make me want to read more Discworld (recommendations welcome). ( )
  Othemts | Feb 27, 2018 |
Monstrous Regiment - Pratchett
Audio performance by Steven Brings
3 stars

What’s the meaning of the phrase ‘Monstrous regiment of women’?
A disparaging description, often used to describe feminist or rowdy women by their detractors.


Good old John Knox, what would he have to say about women marching en masse in pink pussycat hats? Not to mention, Terry Pratchett’s perversion of the title of his infamous pamphlet, ‘The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regimen of Women’.

This book introduces a new cast of characters from a small outlying country on the Disc. With all the able bodied men maimed, missing or dead, young Polly Perks cuts her hair, puts on a pair of trousers and enlists. She isn’t patriotic, she just wants to find her missing brother. She discovers that there’s more than one good reason for a woman to join the fight.

“This was not a fairy-tale castle and there was no such thing as a fairy-tale ending, but sometimes you could threaten to kick the handsome prince in the ham-and-eggs.”

There are some funny bits. The vampire Maladict’s sarcasm and coffee addiction gave me a few chuckles.“Who shall I shoot? You choose. Now, listen very carefully: where's your coffee? You've got coffee, haven't you? C'mon, everyone's got coffee! Spill the beans!”

There was naturally a lot of antiwar commentary, along with some heartwarming comradery. But, despite the overwhelming feminist slant of this book, I didn’t enjoy it as much as other Pratchett books. That may be because so many of my favorite characters made only cameo appearances. Mostly, I felt Pratchett was just trying too hard. All of the humor, the social commentary, the political (in)correctness were a bit strained and overwritten. ( )
  msjudy | Feb 23, 2018 |
I quite enjoyed this book. It was not as side-splittingly funny as some of the other Discworld novels, but it had quite a few humerous situations and some fine characters.
The issues brought up in this story were quite serious. Whether or not one should hide their true selves to get along in society, the fact that people's greed, stubbornness and pride will continue to lead them into senseless wars with one another, patriotism, women's roles, rights and abilities. Yet the author manages to bring these up for thought without pushing his own answers at you. ( )
  MrsLee | Oct 28, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Like all of Pratchett's best work, this book bridges its classical sources to the present day, bringing feminist and trans themes to light along with contemporary ideas about religious wars, militarism, mercantilism and geopolitics.

And all of that in a novel that flies along with such sprightliness that you'd never suspect it was pulling such heavy freight.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Jan 5, 2015)
''Monstrous Regiment'' is most often spirited and shambolic, but it has some serious heft. Pratchett is on the side of those who make very little fuss, which means he gets to shiv those who do.

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RobinAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKowan, ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Polly cut off her hair in front of the mirror, feeling slightly guilty about not feeling very guilty about doing so.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
It began as a sudden strange fancy . . .

Polly Perks had to become a boy in a hurry. Cutting off her hair and wearing trousers was easy. Learning to fart and belch in public and walk like an ape took more time . . .

And now she's enlisted in the army, and searching for her lost brother.

But there's a war on. There's always a war on. And Polly and her fellow recruits are suddenly in the thick of it, without any training, and the enemy is hunting them.

All they have on their side is the most artful sergeant in the army and a vampire with a lust for coffee. Well . . . They have the Secret. And as they take the war to the heart of the enemy, they have to use all the resources of . . . the Monstrous Regiment.
Haiku summary
Polly Perks cuts off
her hair, joins the army, meets
misfits, finds brother!

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060013168, Mass Market Paperback)

What do you get when you cross a vampire, a troll, Igor, a collection of misfits, and a young woman who shoves a pair of socks down her pants to join the army? The answer's simple. You have Monstrous Regiment, the characteristically charming novel by Terry Pratchett.

Polly becomes Private Oliver Perks, who is on a quest to find her older brother, who's recently MIA in one of the innumerable wars the tiny nation of Borogravia has a habit of starting with its neighbors. This peevish tendency has all but expended Borogravia's ranks of cannon fodder. Whether Sergeant Jackrum knows her secret or not, he can't afford to be choosy, as Perks and her/his comrades are among the last able-bodied recruits left in Borogravia. This collection of misfits includes the aforementioned vampire (reformed and off the blood, thank you), troll, and macabre Igor, who is only too happy to sew you a new leg if you aren't too particular about previous ownership. Off to war, Polly/Oliver learns that having a pair of, um, socks is a good way to open up doors in this man's army.

For those who haven't made this underrated author's acquaintance, Monstrous Regiment is as good a place to start as any. Readers will encounter Pratchett's subtle and disarming wit, his trademark footnoted asides along with a not-too-shabby tale of honor, courage, and duty in the face of absurd circumstances. --Jeremy Pugh

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:08 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

War has come to Discworld again. And, to no one's great surprise, the conflict centers around the small, arrogantly fundamentalist duchy of Borogravia, which has long prided itself on its unrelenting aggressiveness. A year ago, Polly Perks's brother marched off to battle, and Polly's willing to resort to drastic measures to find him. So she cuts off her hair, dons masculine garb, and, aided by a well-placed pair of socks, sets out to join this man's army. Since a nation in such dire need of cannon fodder can't afford to be too picky, Polly is eagerly welcomed into the fighting fold along with a vampire, a troll, an Igor, a religious fanatic, and two uncommonly close "friends". It would appear that Polly "Ozzer" Perks isn't the only grunt with a secret. But duty calls, the battlefield beckons. And now is the time for all good "men" to come to the aid of their country.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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