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Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Equal Rites (original 1987; edition 1988)

by Terry Pratchett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,539130304 (3.77)258
Title:Equal Rites
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Signet / New American Library (1988), Mass Market Paperback, 254 pages
Collections:Fantasy/SciFi, Your library
Tags:Fiction, Fantasy, Discworld, Read, Reviewed, Own

Work details

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (1987)

  1. 150
    I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (MyriadBooks, elvisettey)
    MyriadBooks: For the appearance of Eskarina Smith.
    elvisettey: To find out what becomes of Esk.
  2. 80
    Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett (bethielouwho)
  3. 10
    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (pwaites)
    pwaites: Tiffany Aching is similar in many ways to Esk.
  4. 00
    Arky Types (Methuen Modern Fiction) by Sara Maitland (BeckyJP)

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English (119)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Polish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (129)
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What happens when a wizard doesn't do a background check on the person he's passing his magic to? A newborn girl becomes the worlds first wizard - something that just shouldn't happen! Too bad for Discworld, but Esk doesn't know what's impossible so she'll do it anyway.

This was a recommendation from a friend with a rather eclectic sense of humor and interests. I can understand why he loves the author. I'm not as enthused about it even with my preference for underdog stories and trope breaking. I like the idea that Esk, not knowing what is 'impossible', can do things simply because she believes that she can. The byplay between Granny Weatherwax and Cutangle is adorable. What I dislike about the book is the author's tendency to waver off-topic. It's one thing to reference other works but to actually break the 4th wall gets annoying when you're at the climax. Good humor, bad timing. ( )
  cat8864 | Aug 12, 2015 |
The reason this is one of my favorite Pratchett books is that even though it's one of his "grownup" novels, it's pretty much an all-ages read. The main character is very young and you're following her story. I'd say more about how awesome Pratchett is, but 1. it's already been said by better writers than I am and 2. I'm falling asleep at the end of a very long day and would just make a botch of the job. If you haven't read any Pratchett yet, I'd recommend this book. If you like the Tiffany Aching books, I strongly suggest you read "Equal Rites" before you read the most recent Tiffany book "I Shall Wear Midnight." Or, if it's too late for that, at least read it after. ( )
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
Description: A dying wizard tries to pass on his power to an eighth son of an eighth son, who is just at that moment being born. The fact that the son is actually a daughter is discovered just a little too late.

Thoughts: That is a terrible description but it's the only one I can find. Equal Rites is the third published Discworld book and the first to change the focus from Rincewind and Twoflower. Having rather enjoyed those books I was a bit nervous to see how this new series might differ, but I had nothing to be concerned about.

I had to look up a timeline to see exactly how these all related in time and found that Equal Rites takes place roughly two years after the events of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. It doesn't specifically reference any of the events of those books, but there are several similar locations and the tone of the book certainly builds upon those nicely. While the Rincewind stories focused on the nature of magic, Equal Rites looks at the ways magic is gendered. It manages a wonderful balance so that it isn't a stereotypical women's rights story but, instead, a playful look at how women have often subverted male power by cultivating their own and viewing (rather rightly) that the men are missing the point. The characters of Granny Weatherwax and Eskarina Smith are wonderful and I can't wait to spend more time with them in other Witches books.

My only complaint about this one is that the last section is too brisk. (What is up with my needing to use that descriptor so much lately?) The early sections are so nicely paced and given space to grow but the action in the last 1/3 seem to rush to the conclusion. It's all wonderful stuff it's just too quick and I felt cheated out of some experience.

Highly recommend!

Rating: 4.1

Liked: 4
Plot: 4
Characterization: 4.5
Writing: 4

http://www.librarything.com/topic/188600#5133005 ( )
1 vote leahbird | Jul 20, 2015 |
I have a love/hate r'ship with the Discworld books. I loved this book, and Esk.
I enjoy every encounter I have with Rincewind, the Luggage, and the Librarian.
Carrot is mildly interesting
Bits of concepts throughout the series are clever.
Pretty much the rest of the characters, and books, annoy and/or frustrate me. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Equal Rites is the third Discworld book and may actually be a good one to start the series on. While the previous two books were primarily satires of the fantasy genre, Equal Rites is the first Discworld book where Pratchett begins to satirize the real world. Other good books to start with are Guards! Guards!, Going Postal, or Small Gods.

In Equal Rites, a dying wizard passes along his powers to the eighth son of an eighth son, who is currently being born. Only, the son turns out to be a daughter, making Eskarina Smith a female wizard. Only, women who practice magic are supposed to be witches not wizards…

Essentially, Pratchett’s challenging and playing with the magic and gender dichotomy, where if women have magic at all, it is entirely separate from (and often viewed as inferior to) men’s magic. This is what annoyed me about the first Earthsea book so much. Esk is a young girl determined to be who she is, no matter what people tell her she should be, but she lives in a world where “she could sense doors being slammed before she had barely begun to open them.” Esk is a very sympathetic protagonist, a nine year old girl who’s just trying to find her own way.

“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don’t apply to you.”

This is also the first book featuring Granny Weatherwax, a major character in the series. Here Granny is a mentor of sorts for Esk. Originally, Granny is bent on teaching Esk witch craft and keeping her from becoming a wizard. But then Granny realizes: is she doing this for Esk or for herself? From then on, Granny is going to help Esk get into the Unseen University, and woe to any wizard who tries to stop her.

What’s remarkable is that this still one of the weaker Discworld novels that people tend to forget about, which really tells you something about the series as a whole. I’d recommend this one to… well, pretty much everyone. Certainly for anyone looking for humorous fantasy or fantasy centering around female characters.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Mar 16, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Šebestík, Martinsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brandhorst, AndreasAutorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cholewa, Piotr W.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Couton, PatrickTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DeNice, RobertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farkas, Veronikasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hrivňák, Karelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Imrie, CeliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ittekot, VenugopalanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaer, KristaToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kantůrek, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macía, CristinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mets, HillarKujundaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perrini, BenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sahlin, OlleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinkkonen, Marja(KÄÄnt.)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sohár, Anikósecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Varik, Aetsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zhouf, MartinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Кирби, ДжошCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Петрова, ВеселаEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Иванова, ТаняDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Зарков, ВладимирTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Thanks to Neil Gaiman, who loaned us the last surviving copy of the Liber Paginarium Fulvarum, and a big hallo to all the kids at the H.P. Lovecraft Holiday Fun Club.

I would like it to be clearly understood that this book is not wacky. Only dumb redheads in Fifties' sitcoms are wacky.

No, it's not zany either.
First words
This is a story about magic and where it goes and perhaps more importantly where it comes from and why, although it doesn't pretend to answer all or any of these questions.
They both savoured the strange warm glow of being much more ignorant than ordinary people, who were only ignorant of ordinary things.
For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.
Esk, of course had not been trained, and it is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you are attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history.
... she was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.
It has already been revealed that light on the Discworld travels slowly, the result of its passage through the Disc’s vast and ancient magical field.
So dawn isn’t the sudden affair that it is on other worlds. The new day doesn’t erupt, it sort of sloshes gently across the sleeping landscape in the same way that the tide sneaks in across the beach, melting the sand castles of the night. It tends to flow around mountains. If the trees are close together it comes out of woods cut to ribbons and sliced with shadows.
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The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check on the new-born baby’s sex…
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0552131059, Paperback)

paperback, fine (as new)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:52 -0400)

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"The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in theI chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check on the new-bom baby's sex..."--Back cover.… (more)

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