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Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
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Monstrous Regiment (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Terry Pratchett

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6,87685531 (3.96)136
Member:divinenanny
Title:Monstrous Regiment
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Corgi Books (2004), Londen, Mass Market Paperback, 494p.
Collections:Your library, eBooks, To read, The List, Unread, Readable
Rating:**
Tags:fantasy, fiction, non fiction

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Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett (2003)

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English (75)  German (6)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (84)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
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 9, 2016 |
Polly Perks had to become a man in a hurry. Cutting her hair and donning men's clothes was easy. Learning fart and swear in public and to walk with a certain gait took a little longer. And all so she can find her brother Paul, who had gone to war a year ago and never returned. Aided by a pair of well placed socks Polly joins the army. After all, there is a war on. There's always war. The nation is in dire straights, willing to take just about anyone for the war effort. Next thing she knows Polly's squad is thrown into the thick of it, without any training, heading into the heart of the enemy. All they have on their side is a vampire, a troll, an Igor and a few other lads that joined up at the same time. It would also appear that Polly "Ozzer" Perks isn't the only one with a secret.

Monstrous Regiment is the 31st Discworld novel and the 3rd in the Industrial Revolution theme. This time around Pratchett tackles the ideas of gender roles, war, religious intolerance, the use of well placed socks and whether an entire nation could, in fact, be insane. Borogravia is an extremely backwater place. Their god, Nuggin, has increasingly come out with odder and odder "abominations". They have become so odd that the population has given up worshiping him and direct their prayers to the Duchess instead. They are also constantly at war with someone. This time it happens to be the neighboring country of Zlobenia. With the constant war, their economy is falling apart and there is a food shortage. Most recruiting parties leave villages empty handed. That is until Polly and the others decide to enlist. All of the "lads" join the army for various reasons, none of which have to do with patriotism.

We are introduced to some terrific new characters. Polly "Ozzer" Perks is a highly capable and resourceful young lady. She's smart, likable and a very fast learner in this mans army. Sargent Jackrum is an old time campaigner and manages to forge his group of little lads into a formidable fighting machine. Maladict the vampire has sworn off blood and transferred his addiction to coffee. Igor is out to prove he's a capable surgeon. There is also a troll, a religious fanatic and a pair of very close "friends", one of which has a fascination with matches. And each one of them has a secret.

It was a great read, highly entertaining. There are plenty of laugh out loud funny parts that blend seamlessly with more serious topics in only the way Pratchett can. This one will also make you think. There are even some great action scenes. While Monstrous Regiment could be read as a stand alone novel, if you would like to be "in" on the character cameos and extra references that always appear in Discworld novels I would recommend reading at least one Watch book and [The Truth]. It will not hurt the story at all if you don't though, it just adds that little something. ( )
1 vote Narilka | Mar 19, 2016 |
Fantastic novel which skewers many of the gender tropes of the military and fantasy literature. ( )
  kale.dyer | Feb 28, 2016 |
In Pratchett's umpteenth Discworld novel, he takes on the foolishness of societally-imposed gender roles, the horrors (and pointlessness) of war and the ironies of religion. Serious stuff! And yes, the book is a lot more serious that many of the earlier Discworld books, which pretty much played everything for laughs. However, that's not to say that this story isn't funny - it certainly is - just that the humor's a little more pointed and thought-provoking.
A young woman, Polly, disguises herself as a boy in order to join the Borogravian army (imagine any small, war-torn, Eastern European city-state) - in order to find her brother, whom she needs to fetch home so that she can inherit the family business. Unfortunately, cheery propaganda notwithstanding, she's joined up at the tail end of a war - on the losing side. Her fellow recruits are seemingly the bottom of the barrel - and include a (coffee-addicted) vampire, a troll, a religious freak - and an assortment of other characters - none of whom may be exactly what they seem.
I don't think this will go down in history as THE quintessential Discworld novel, but it's a timely satire, well worth reading. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
A teenage girl decides to join the army.. the book is about what happens. Not one of my favourite Pratchett books, although there were still some amusing moments. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (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 (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pratchett, Lynsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RobinAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKowan, ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Polly cut off her hair in front of the mirror, feeling slightly guilty about not feeling very guilty about doing so.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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!
(passion4reading)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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