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Monstrous Regiment (Discworld Novels) by…

Monstrous Regiment (Discworld Novels) (original 2003; edition 2010)

by Terry Pratchett

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6,80781541 (3.96)129
Title:Monstrous Regiment (Discworld Novels)
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Transworld Digital (2010), Edition: New Ed, Kindle Edition, 380 pages
Collections:Read 2012

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Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
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 |
Monstrous Regiment was the first book in the Discworld series I ever read. This stand alone Discworld novel got me hooked on the series and has been a beloved favorite of mine for many years.

Monstrous Regiment takes the classic trope of a girl disguising herself as a man to join the army and runs wild with it. The nation of Borogravia has been at war for as long as anyone can remember. The country is falling to pieces, but the army is still soldering on. Polly Perks’ brother has disappeared into the war, and she’s determined to find him and bring him home. To do so, she’ll need to masquerade as Oliver “Ozzer,” a disguise completed by a well placed pair of socks.

She joins a squad of the last few recruits Borogravia could scrape up, led by the legendary Sergeant Jackrum. This unusual band soon finds out Borogravia is on the edge of collapse and the war is not even close to being won.

“The little countries here fought because of the river, because of idiot treaties, because of royal rows, but mostly they fought because they had always fought.”

What I love about Monstrous Regiment is that it takes the Polly Oliver trope and uses it to create a confounding situation full of reversals and reveals that both questions and criticizes gender roles. A highlight of the book is when Polly disguises herself as a washerwoman and isn’t believed to be a woman by male guards because she doesn’t fit the stereotypes and expectations they have of what a woman is.

“Besides, she thought as she watched Wazzer drink, you only thought the world would be better if it was run by women if you didn’t actually know many women. Or old women, at least… Whenever there was an execution, and especially when there was a whipping, you always found the grannies in the front row, sucking on peppermints.”

Monstrous Regiment also destroys the myth of the “exceptional woman” who “isn’t like those other girls.” Polly may very well be awesome, but this is a book filled with amazing women of all sorts.

Of course, I do really love Polly Perks. She’s brave and smart, and most of her success comes from her from her logic and planning and ability to think on her feet. She’s funny and capable, and she’s one of the few female protagonists I’ve come across who does not even have a trace of a romance plot.

“A credit to the women of your country. We’re proud of you. Somehow those words locked you away, put you in your place, patted you on the head and dismissed you with a sweetie.”

In short, Monstrous Regiment is a truly great and hilarious book that explores war, religion, and gender roles with a cast of tremendously amazing female characters. I cannot recommend it enough.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
1 vote pwaites | Jul 14, 2015 |
I don't know, something about an amazing writer who happens to be a man can write about the stupidity of the way the world reacts to women doing anything just makes me love them that tiny bit more, y'know? ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
This makes the second book I enjoyed but not sure I agree with the underlying philosophical message in the book.

Fav quote form the book: “I don't want unnecessary violence, sergeant," said Blouse.
"Right you are, sir!" said the sergeant. "Carborundum! First man comes through that door runnin', I want him nailed to the wall!" He caught the lieutenant's eye, and added: "But not too hard!”

=) ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
I was fairly disappointed in this effort of Terry Pratchett's. I usually rave over his novels, but this one was rather so-so. The characters were interesting, and he did a dandy job of telling the tale from the perspective of the female protagonist. But the action frequently lagged, and the story seemed to take forever to wind down.
Frankly, I'm glad this wasn't my first foray into Pratchett's work. Had it been, I might have never ventured into many of his other novels that I've absolutely loved. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Mar 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (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 (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKowen, 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!

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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