Equal Rites

Equal Rites

Book - 1988 | First Signet printing
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Publisher: New York, N.Y. : New American Libaray, 1988, c1987
Edition: First Signet printing
ISBN: 9780060855901
9780451157041
0451157044
Branch Call Number: SCI PRATC-T
Characteristics: 254 p. ; 18 cm

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IndyPL_SteveB Oct 18, 2019

Book #3 in Pratchett’s “Discworld” fantasy/satire series and a vast improvement on the first two. It’s a funny and thoughtful look at sexual prejudice, the nature of magic, and country versus city. *Equal Rites* is about a girl with wizardly powers trying to break into the all-boys club of wizards instead of being locked into the traditional role of “witch”.

Wizard Drum Billet knows his time to die is near and he needs to pass along his magic staff to an 8th son of an 8th son. He makes it to a blacksmith’s home just in time, when that 8th son is to be born. However, it is only after he dies that Billet discovers that Smith’s child is a daughter! Eskarina (called “Esk”) indeed has wizard powers. The local witch, Granny Weatherwax, agrees to train her as a witch; but it soon becomes clear that her talents are for wizardry (uses real magic) more than witchcraft (mostly uses knowledge of nature). So they agree to go to the city of Ankh-Morpork and The Unseen University, which trains wizards. Of course the wizards have never heard of a female wizard and only agree that she can learn to be a housekeeper trainee. But when you have the Power, the status quo doesn’t last.

IndyPL_JosephL Apr 17, 2019

The third book of Pratchett's massive Discworld series and easily the first of his really good books in the series, "Equal Rites" follows the story of the Disc's first female wizard, Eskarina Smith. Toying with traditional and sexist notions of how magic works on the Disc, this first entry in the subseries of The Witches is a strong new beginning for the series.

JCLAndrewE Jun 12, 2018

As the third book of Discworld, and the 1st in the "Witches" sub-series this is a great continuation of Terry's wonderfully imaginative world. Lots of fun, strong characters, and enough peril to keep your interest. Also a great, short read to cleanse your pallet between heavier reads.

Great Book!

c
csrestall
May 06, 2017

I am reading this series in the publication order. Which makes a huge difference to the review in my opinion. After finishing the first two books in the series which I loved, this one seemed to slow down a bit for me. I missed the luggage and the other characters from the first two books. However as I read more of the book I really started to get into it more. The staff kind of assumed the role of the luggage, in that it is an inanimate object with a strange personality. I also really enjoyed the premise of the first female wizard, and the entire mix up at the beginning. I also really enjoyed the ending and it was not quite what I expected. We as readers are also able to learn a little bit more about what happens on the disc. I am looking forward to the next book, even though there are once again new characters and a new premise. We have stumbled upon the character of Death a few times before however in the first two books.

s
Sabinlerose
Oct 29, 2016

This is the book where Prachet really honed in on his style of humor that would last for the rest of his career.

Possibly worth skipping over the first two books as the writing style becomes much more smoother and funnier starting here.

r
RogueJen
Jul 04, 2016

Love this series and really enjoyed this installment. The witches (Granny Weatherwax in particular) are one of my favorite Discworld topics.

b
busy2016
May 28, 2016

Here's the thing: you have a dying wizard who has to pass on his power/staff to the 8th son of an 8th son, he only has 6 minutes until he "meets" Death and he doesn't verify the 8th son of the 8th son is ACTUALLY a boy, Now what could possibly go wrong? The child in question is Eskarina, who is obviously a girl. I enjoyed the twist and the fact she is so young and strong-willed enough to stand up against any and everybody to become a wizard is refreshing. The staff is hers and no one can take it from her - not even Granny Weatherwax. Granny tries to make her into a witch instead of a wizard. Eskarina is on her own and realizes there's always a price to pay for your dreams, but she proved she could handle it. Now that's what I call focused.

k
KYMK2014
Aug 23, 2015

A dying wizard goes to great lengths to pass his power onto a newborn baby. He trusts the magic to lead him to the heir, and it sure found one. The father was an eighth son, and this is... an eighth daughter?!

Too late now! Magic doesn't "sort itself out" very well, so the world has got its first female wizard. Her family tried hard to burn the staff, chop it up, hide it, but it is completely unharmed. Young Eskarina Smith is protected by both the the staff, waiting at the bottom of the wood pile, and the wizard, reincarnated as an apple tree. Anyone who harms her will have to pay the price. As local witch, Granny Weatherwax, tries to train her into witchcraft, the magic takes hold. Her staff brutally kills a pack of attacking wolves. She does magic in reckless, flashy ways, almost losing her mind. Her natural talent for magic allows her to intuitively change the world around her as she pleases, but doesn't tell her about any of the side affects. There is no avoiding it. Nine year old Eskarina will have to become a wizard, and learn to wield her power properly. However, the Wizards at Unseen University aren't used to nine year old girls applying. With the help of the extremely useful staff, and Granny Weatherwax, she will have to find a new way in.

This was a good book.It really shows what it's like to be patronized, or rejected for unfair reasons. Even Granny Weatherwax tried to stop Esk, but eventually realized that it couldn't be done, so helped her along instead. Esk is a very admirable character, even though she is quite young. She is stubborn, refused give up on her dreams, and isn't dumbed down.

This book has a very good plot, and the creative metaphors expected of Terry Pratchett's writing. The ending was a bit short, but sweet. Next in the Discworld witch series is Wyrd Sisters

l
lisastitch
Jan 10, 2012

There were times I laughed out loud. This book was a delight!

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Quotes

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m
meganwebb2003
Nov 27, 2019

"For the first time in her life Granny wondered whether there might be something important in all these books people were setting such store by these days, although she was opposed to books on strict moral grounds, since she had heard that many of them were written by dead people and therefore it stood to reason reading them would be as bad as necromancy. Among the many things in the infinitely varied universe with which Granny did not hold was talking to dead people, who by all accounts had enough troubles of their own."

m
meganwebb2003
Nov 27, 2019

"All he needs to get right to the top, he thought, is a bit of a handicap. Wizards are martyrs to things like asthma and flat feet, it somehow seems to give them their drive."

m
meganwebb2003
Nov 27, 2019

"All he needs to get right to the top, he thought, is a bit of a handicap. Wizards are martyrs to things like asthma and flat feet, it somehow seems to give them their drive."

m
meganwebb2003
Nov 27, 2019

"Esk, of course, had not been trained, and it is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you’re attempting can’t be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a halfbrick in the path of the bicycle of history."

m
meganwebb2003
Nov 27, 2019

He tried hinting that she should obey the unwritten rules of Zoon life and stay afloat, but a hint was to Esk what a mosquito bite was to the average rhino because she was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don’t apply to you."

m
meganwebb2003
Nov 27, 2019

"He was aware that a large number of his guests were quietly leaving. No one liked magic, especially in the hands of a woman. You never could tell what they might take it into their heads to do next."

m
meganwebb2003
Nov 27, 2019

"In the Ramtops witches were accorded a status similar to that which other cultures gave to nuns, or tax collectors, or cesspit cleaners. That is to say, they were respected, sometimes admired, generally applauded for doing a job which logically had to be done, but people never felt quite comfortable in the same room with them."

r
RogueJen
Jul 04, 2016

Their wills clanged like cymbals and the air between them thickened. But Granny had spent a lifetime bending recalcitrant creatures to her bidding and, while Esk was a surprisingly strong opponent, it was obvious that she would give in before the end of the paragraph.

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csrestall
May 06, 2017

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Summary

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c
csrestall
May 06, 2017

At the beginning of the book there is a mix up with a dying wizard. He anticipates the birth of a seventh son of a seventh son, when in reality it is a seventh daughter of a seventh son. Before he learns of this mix up he bestows his staff upon the child, automatically making her a wizard. This then causes problems throughout her childhood, they try to hide the staff which seems to have a mind of its own. They try to prevent her from accessing her wizard magic by teaching her witch magic instead. However due to this her magic erupts out of her at will when she is angry, sad, excited etc. The decision is made for her to be trained as a wizard for the safety of her self and others. There is one problem however. Wizards are not supposed to be women. On the journey to Ankh Morpork where the Unseen University is many difficulties are encountered. They finally make it to the university only to of course be turned away. Esk then joins the university as a maid, with her own 'broomstick'. She is to watch and learn. However she is finally accepted to the university after reviving a student who was thought lost to 'them' creatures from the shadow dimension. Esk is able to save him with some help from her staff and Granny and is finally accepted into the university after they decide to allow women due to her heroism.

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