Title: Equal Rites
Author: Terry Pratchett
Series: Discworld #3, Witches #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Easy reading, Fantasy
5th sentence, 74th page: Across the forest animals broke and scattered as the shadow passed overhead, crying and cursing.
They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.
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 that the bab in question was a son. Everybody knows that there’s no such thing as a female wizard. But now it’s gone and happened, there’s nothing much anyone can do about it. Let the batttle of the sexes begin…
There is an incredibly poignant and obvious message in this novel – that we are all equal and entitled to equal rights. That’s not to say that this tale isn’t filled with Pratchett’s (I hesitate to say) typical sense of humour. There is the satirical humour scattered throughout that draws you into his world, whether you want it to or not. Luckily, for me, I was ready and happy to be swept along in his chaotic, entertaining realm.
Esk is a typical little girl with six big brothers. She’s tough, independent and keen to prove herself against the big, wide world. The fact that she is partnered with a supremely magical and powerful wizard’s staff just helps to complicate things. That, and her mentor is a slightly uneducated witch. And there is no such thing as wizards in this world… when is anything ever simple in Discworld?
As I’ve mentioned before, I completely loved the fact that this book highlights women’s rights and equality. It is something that I strongly believe in, and although sometimes it is a topic touched upon, it isn’t something that people tend to really delve into when writing or reading. We talk about equality, but I haven’t actually read such a well written novel that highlights the importance of this. The fact that this story was written in the 80’s and is still discussing issues that we are facing today just heightens my respect for Terry Pratchett.