Equal Rites (Discworld #3)
This is where Pratchett starts to sound like the Pratchett that causes me to gush in fangirl glee. It’s highly entertaining, lovely, and perfectly endearing (particularly towards the end). Because my introduction to Discworld was through the Tiffany Aching books, I completely nerded out when I realized that the main character of this story was a much younger version of the only female wizard that Tiffany runs into in I Shall Wear Midnight and I was quite pleased to find that Granny Weatherwax was in this book as well. There are tiny differences between the Granny of this book and the Granny of the Tiffany Aching books. It’s, admittedly, not entirely fair to compare one Granny to the other, since it’s just two points in a single character’s development, but with Pratchett’s characters they feel more familiar than that. More like people you remember from childhood, but haven’t seen since you moved away. The differences in the slightly younger Granny only made her more endearing. This book is light and entertaining, as all of Pratchett’s books are and it’s all due to Granny’s involvement in the plot. Everywhere she turns up, something hilarious is bound to follow.
Terry Pratchett’s profoundly irreverent, bestselling novels have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to the likes of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.
In Equal Rites, a dying wizard tries to pass on his powers 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.
I’ve always been fascinated with the way Pratchett brings pretty high level theoretical physics into fantasy books for the younger crowd. In this book, although vague, he manages to describe how the fabric of the universe can be delineated through numbers. Now, I’ll admit that I have a rudimentary understanding of theoretical physics at best. I get the general basics of string and quantum theory, but that’s really as far as it goes and if you asked me to explain it I’d probably mutter something about quantum states and then refer you to Richard Feynman. Pratchett, however, somehow manages to encapsulate these huge ideas within these fantastic worlds and every time I notice it I get this dopey smile on my face that would be weird if I lived someplace with a subway system.
But that’s not why these books are so amazing. No, they’re amazing because Pratchett takes characters that you love and puts them in eminent danger, but gives them sentient wizard’s staffs and a cantankerous Granny who also happen to be a witch to help them out and the plucky nerve needed to face down the danger. He puts them in a world that is set on the backs of four elephants who stand on a giant turtle who is flying through outer space. It’s a world drenched in magic and light, filled with characters who are odd and lovely and hilarious. Really, it’s everything you want in this kind of book.
4.5 ink bottles.
Character Believability: 4 Buffys
Character Investibility: 4.5 Doctors
Pacing/Tension/Urgency: 4 Dresdens
Worldbuilding: 5 Snyders
Language: 5 Feegles
Mystery: 4 Sherlocks