Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
This was the first Discworld book I ever read, despite having owned The Colour of Magic for the past two and a half years. That probably says a lot about me and my reading habits… And to be fair, the only reason I think I read it so quickly (in the space of around 4 hours) was because it was the first book I opened on Christmas Day.
Equal Rites tells the story of an eighth daughter of an eighth son – basically, one of the most magical people in the Discworld, and destined to become a wizard of immense power. Except for one small problem. Esk is a girl. And girls can’t be wizards.
Thus follows an adventure of gender politics, university academics duelling old women in feast halls and an orangutan librarian. To someone who had just made their first foray into the Discworld, this was incredibly…
Odd is a very weak world. But I was assured that this kind of weirdness in the world was perfectly normal, and Granny Weatherwax was actually a recurring character, not a one-off bastion of the rules of magic laid out in this series. Which I’m actually very excited for.
I really loved the subject matter of Equal Rites – who wouldn’t? Having studied a little of early feminism, I found it really interesting to read a “feminist” novel written at the time when the movement was just gaining steam. I put “feminist” in quotation marks because I assume it is meant to be read as much, but I don’t know what Terry Pratchett’s actual motives for this book were.
But if it wasn’t to educate, then it must have been to entertain – something that happened, no question about it. My first introduction to the Discworld was an overwhelmingly positive one; so much so that Equal Rites is sitting on my Goodreads favourites shelf right now. I was also lucky enough to get the lovely UK 2012 edition, which has a nice illustration on the front. So thank you to my boyfriend for gifting me such a nice book.
I gave this a full 5 stars out of a possible 5, and I’m just hoping that these books get even better from here on out. I have actually already read Soul Music at this point (review coming soon!), so I am assured that, yes, it only gets better.