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Monstrous Regiment [Paperback]

Terry Pratchett
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 19.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 31 2011 Discworld Novels (Book 31)
A sudden burst of nationalism has swept over Polly Perks causing her to cut off her hair, don her brother’s clothes and join the local regiment so she can fight for her country. But there’s only one problem -- she has no idea who she’ll be fighting or what she is really fighting for. And why do they want her to have a rolled-up pair of socks anyway? War teaches you a lot, she finds, when it turns out that you joined -- the Monstrous Regiment.

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From Booklist

Pratchett flexes his satirical muscles again, with the follies of war his theme. Polly Oliver has disguised herself as a boy to join the army of Borogravia, which is always at war and bursting with patriotism, though the Borogravians are often less than clear on why they are fighting. But then, as followers of a god who believes that cats, babies, and cheese are abominations, they are used to contradictions; they mostly pray to their duchess, who may be dead. Their latest war has interfered with the commerce of Ankh-Morpork, which has dispatched Sam Vimes to bring matters to a "satisfactory" conclusion. But Sam still thinks more like the city watchman he was than the duke he now is, and this confuses people. Meanwhile, Polly's regiment, the Ins-and-Outs, has become quite high-profile, what with having, it is said, a vampire, a werewolf, and an Igor in its ranks, and with capturing, quite unexpectedly, the Zlobenian prince and his soldiers, an event publicized by Ankh-Morpork newspaperman William de Worde. Anyway, they're suddenly popular in Ankh-Morpork, and they subsequently turn the war upside down, so that it doesn't end the way the propagandists would have liked. No surprise, of course, to Sam Vimes. Polly concludes that it is, on some level, all about socks. Thoroughly funny and surprisingly insightful. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Like Jonathan Swift, Prachett uses his other world to hold up a distorting mirror to our own, and like Swift he is a satirist of enormous talent… incredibly funny… compulsively readable.” -- The Times

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Roles of War Jan. 5 2004
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Long-standing fans of Discworld know how Pratchett explores many levels in his books. MR achieves a new degree of intensity in examining the human tendency for conflict. The "fantasy" aspects of the Discworld are nearly abandoned in this story of war and soldier life. To be sure, there's a vampire, a troll, and Angua the werewolf. An Igor completes the team in a special, rather cutting, role. None of these "fantasy" characters can avoid being dominated by their human aspects. Pratchett enhances his ability to show us to ourselves. While his humour carries us along in following the tale, the underlying theme remains clear. War is a distinctly human enterprise.
Polly Perks seeks her missing brother in the middle of a conflict none can explain nor justify. Hiding the fact that she's a girl, she slashes her golden curls, dons boys' clothes [including "special purpose" socks] and enlists to seek him out. Her military career is fraught with risk, but not just from battle. If she's exposed, the wrath of Nuggan, the local deity, will be boundless - dressing as a man is an Abomination. As are cats, the colour blue, garlic and a host of social ills. These are lined out in the Appendix of a bible - with the Appendix larger than the main inspirational text.
In Sam Vimes' view, Polly has entered a life of crime, but not through her cross-dressing. He thinks "war is a crime - like murder". Sam, Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, has been sent to make a peace. When the stakes are as high as these - who rules the country - the task becomes Herculean. As with most wars, this one uses high moral purpose to camouflage baser selfish motives. A prince seeks power.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Monstrous, Monsters and Disguises Jan. 5 2004
By Friederike Knabe TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Nothing is quite what it seems in this latest Discworld offering. Even the Discworld is not quite what Pratchett fans can identify. Magic is only like a whiff or shadow appearing from time to time. We meet few of the regular heroes or places. Borogravia is not a major spot on the Discworld map. The small country is embattled in apparently never-ending wars with its neighbours about who knows what. Its rulers claim it to be a peace-loving place - thus it's always somebody else's fault. With so many battles, the army is running out of recruits so that a troll, a "reformed" vampire (having replaced his craving for blood with one for coffee), an "Igor" (known for his ability to stitch severed limbs and other missing parts back on people), a couple of lost youths with nothing better to do and one following a religious calling, are enlisted. And, above all, a girl, disguised as one of the boys, wants to join the fun: Polly Perks or "Private Parts".
Polly is young, smart and courageous. With her hair cut short, in men's clothes and imitating some "typical" male habits, she easily fools the recruiting officers. Or does she? Polly has several reasons to join the war effort - she needs to find her soldier brother who has not been writing home. Also, she has not really much to look forward to in this country. Borogravia is run by a Duchess who may or not be alive, and the local deity, Nuggan, who issues strict rules for his followers, reflected in an ever expanding list of "Abominations". These become stranger as time moves on. They include a ban on the colour blue, having your picture taken, newspapers, or the use of garlic. Not only should girls not wear trousers, they cannot own land, houses or run a business. Women's lives are clearly very restricted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books Feb. 24 2014
Format:Paperback
Monstrous Regiment is one of my favourite books, and the Discworld series is probably my favourite series of books. I'm afraid I'm a little biased, but I really do think this is an excellent book. The characters are all interesting and the overall pacing and plot are noteworthy. The main characters in this book are not recurring from others in the series, so they are a nice contrast to the regular casts. There are some traditional Discworld characters present as well. One of my favourite elements of this story is seeing Commander Vimes from an outside perspective. In the books that feature him we generally see the world through his eyes, and it is always an interesting contrast when we see how the world sees him.

One of the notable aspects of the Discworld series as a whole is it sometimes takes the traditional fantasy setting and uses it to explore issues that reflect reality. Monstrous Regiment does this as well. The setting is very focused on the group of main characters, and what happens to them. One of the really interesting parts of this book is that it could be a story in any war setting, only some of the characters and situations remind the reader that the book is a fantasy story. This shows that the fantasy genre is not limited to entirely unreal stories.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who likes the Discworld series, and to anyone who is interested in the variety of the fantasy genre. People who like war related stories might also like it, if they do not mind the fantasy setting.
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