It has been a year since Dusty introduced me to the Discworld. I have read nine novels; The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Mort, Small Gods, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather, Guards Guards, and The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. I read them in order according to each story line, but not in publication order. For the most part I understood everything, but there was a part of me that thought I was missing some of the jokes because I was not reading them in the order they were released. So, I have decided to read the rest of the remaining thirty some in order. So, take my hand as we glide on the back of the Great A’tuin! In this article I will be reviewing Equal Rites, which is the third disc world novel and the first in the Witches series.
Equal Rites is about a young Girl named Esk who was mistakenly given the powers of a wizard because she was supposed to be the eighth son of an eighth son. Everyone knows the eighth son of an eighth son becomes a wizard…right? A great dying wizard showed up to the town of Bad Ass to give his staff to the rightful offspring, the only problem was that he was born with the wrong genital. Esk was born the wrong sex, but still given the staff making her the first women to be able to use wizard magic.
On the Disc, women are not allowed to be wizards, they have to be witches because that is how it has always been. They are suppose to know all about herbs, fortune telling, and be attuned with nature. They also use Headology, which means if you look the part people will believe you even if you are making it up. If you look into a crystal ball wearing all black and a witches hat, the normal everyday man will believe you can predict the future.
As Esk matures the wizard magic in her begins to seep out causing a ruckus amongst the family. Granny Weatherwax steps in to try and train her in the arts of witchcraft in hopes that it will prevent her from expressing wizard magic. Ask does well with witch magic, but she still wants use the staff for its rightful purpose, so her and Granny take a trip to the Unseen University.
I felt like Equal was a good starter book, but by no means my favorite. There are some funny bits, but it doesn’t even touch upon the hilarity that leaks out of Small Gods and Soul Music. This was Pratchett’s third book, so I’m sure he was still finding his grove. Equal Rites did a fantastic job setting up the Weatherwax character who is the lead in the Witches Series. It also helped flesh out the University, which I assume is important for the next book Sourcery.
If you are on the fence about reading Equal Rites and have no interest on reading anything in the Witches series I would definitely skip this one. However, if it is a good setup for the next novel or if the next witches book is hilarious, my opinion mat change.
Stay tuned because in a few weeks I’ll be posting my review for Sourcery.