Posted on | January 4, 2010 | 14 Comments
Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites is the third book of the Discworld series, and, it’s the first Discworld book that I have read.
Equal Rites explores the world where women cannot be wizards, and men cannot be witches. However, when a dying wizard visits a blacksmith, things in the wizarding world are about to change. The blacksmith is the eighth son, and his wife is about to give birth to their eighth son – perfect for the dying wizard to pass on his staff. Granny Weatherwax, a central character, who helps bring the baby into world, takes the baby to the smith, who makes it grab the staff. The old wizard dies, but, what the smith failed to realise is, the newborn baby blessed with magical wizard powers is a girl!
For the first eight years of her life, the girl, Eskarina, shows no sign of magical powers. Once she inadvertently turns her brother into a pig, Esk’s parents, under Granny’s advice, decide that she needs to go to the Unseen University – a University where girls are not allowed, as female wizards are against the lore! There, and only there, will she be trained to practice magic responsibly.
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.
With the staff giving her the power, Esk takes on the journey through the hills, towns, rivers and valleys of Discworld, to find her place in a man’s world, against all odds. With all the child-like rebellion in the world, and the obstinacy, Esk runs away from Granny, attempts finding her own path, but, at the end of the day, she needs Granny’s help to take her places she wants to go, to ensure she fulfils her destiny – to become a wizard.
Not only does this book tackle the equal rights debate quite effectively, but what makes it thoroughly charming is Esk’s character coupled with Granny’s attitude. Esk, brimming with innocence as well as impulsiveness, is a great character, and her adventures are wildly entertaining. Granny, on the other hand, is careful and protective of Esk, while having some of the most humorous lines in the story, and all-in-all, making the reader wish they actually knew her! Oh, and the town the story is set in is called Bad Ass. It can’t get much better, can it?
This book can easily be read as a standalone, as it doesn’t really refer to any previous on-goings.
Rating : B+