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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on July 12, 2016
It's a Terry Pratchett book. That's all you need to know :)
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on May 7, 2016
Classic Terry Pratchett. Funny hilarious and everything in between. So far this is my second favourite book in the Disc World Series. I've read The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Night Watch,, which is my favourite, so far. Very good book. Easy to read. Doesn't get boring. And you're definitely rooting for Esk and Granny!
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on February 3, 2016
The crossroads between cosmology, witchcraft, and magic, where universes meet and blend...and where women's lib first made its appearance in the hallowed halls of Unseen University.
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on October 26, 2015
Could not put it down.
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on September 28, 2015
It's Terry Pratchett. Oh course it was a good read.
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on August 12, 2015
Loved the casual humour. Really enjoyed his goofy turns of phrase. And just the right length for this kind of story. Nice work.
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on September 4, 2014
Unfortunately didn't tickle my Mother's funny bone. She is in her 80s though.
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on February 5, 2014
Seriously one of my All Time fave books. Love Pratchett! Great condition and perfect reading buddy for any given night.
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on July 21, 2005
Everyone at the Unseen University knows that. They're all men, naturally, so they can't imagine any other way for it to be.
Just don't say it out loud around Granny Weatherwax, since she's prob'ly the midwife who delivered that man when he was very young, and the mother wasn't male either. We all get along just fine as long as the women have things their way, and the men have things their way too - the women's way, that is.
No one has the bad taste to comment on this arrangement until Eskarina is born, and a wizard makes a silly mistake. Could happen to anyone really - his dying moments unwittingly infuse the baby girl with wizardly, male magic.
In time, this brings the wrath Mistress Esmeralda Weatherwax down on the fortress of male magic, which is invaded and defeated never even knowing it was engaged. Saves a lot of work and running aroung that way, y'know. But Esme's real problem is that little girl, and her real problem is a little boy, and his real problem is -- unreal.
Neither the womanly witches nor the male mages are quite ready for this little girl with tomboy magic. Nor is she quite ready for herself.
As in Pratchett's other tales, the fun is in the telling. This battle of the sexes, like so many others, is fought to a draw - there will be cultural exchanges, visiting rights and such, and jittery kind of peace. All end up happy enough, but it's still one world with two peoples in it, male and female.
Except maybe for that girl and that boy. Male and female yes, in a child's way, but they have much too much in common.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon December 29, 2002
Equal Rites is the third Discworld novel, and in it Pratchett begins to reveal just how diverse a place it is. The inept wizard Rincewind is not to be found in these pages, nor are Twoflower the Tourist and his Luggage. Discworld is home to an incredible number of fascinating characters, and in this novel we are introduced to one of the most remarkable and unforgettable ones--the witch Granny Weatherwax. We also get a closer look at Unseen University and the wizards who call it home. The eighth son of an eighth son is always a wizard, as everyone knows. Unfortunately, the novel's eighth son of an eighth son turns out to be a girl, which is a fact Granny Weatherwax points out immediately. Granny is a traditional witch; she doesn't hold with living in towns and selling love potions and other sundry matters. She teaches young Esk witchcraft, but it eventually becomes apparent that the child is a born wizard. Getting the child to Ankh-Morpork and Unseen University is not easy, but the hardest part of the mission is getting her accepted as a female. There's also a small matter of the terrible beings from Beyond trying to break through to this side.

I enjoyed this novel, but it didn't seem to have the magical aura of most Pratchett books. Young Esk was too willful and erratic, and I never understood why she kept wandering away from Granny Weatherwax on the journey to Ankh-Morpork since Granny was trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a wizard. I also thought the character of Simon, a stuttering but brilliant young wizard, should have been developed more fully; he formed an important part of the story, but I never knew him well enough to strongly like him or dislike him. Esk's frustration and anger at being rejected as a girl are understandable, but some of her reactions seemed a little too childish to me. Toward the end, I sometimes got the impression that I was reading a piece of juvenile fiction--there's nothing wrong with that, and Pratchett has written some excellent novels for a younger audience, but it left me feeling a little empty and let-down. Even Granny Weatherwax, one of my favorite Discworld characters, seemed only a shadow of the Granny I have come to know in later novels. This novel also has some sexual innuendo material in the background, which is something I found a little disconcerting and atypical of Pratchett. It does add to some of the humor, though, especially in the scenes featuring Granny and ArchChancellor Cutangle. Weirdest of all was a direct reference to Steven Spielberg--when I read Pratchett, I am in his world, and I felt as if he kicked me out of his universe momentarily for no good reason.

The humor is the real strength of this novel. Pratchett's ever-present comical metaphors are particularly strong in places, and he is able to exploit cliches in ways no other author can. The descriptions of Granny having to get long running starts in order to get her broom off the ground and of the head wizards getting all excited about increasing their knowledge by increasing their ignorance of brand new concepts are especially hilarious. Comedy saves this particular novel. I would have liked to see much more character development; as it is, Esk and Simon are pretty forgettable characters, and the charm of Granny Weatherwax is really not realized here. I did enjoy getting a closer view inside Unseen University, but the wizards in the book seemed shallow and sort of stereotypical. I saw a lot, but I didn't learn a lot. In the end, though, this is a Discworld novel, so it is definitely better than most anything else you can find on the shelves, but I think it is one of Pratchett's weakest efforts.
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