09/03/2004

Monstrous Regiment (by Terry Pratchett)

While not normally a genre I enjoy, I do like Terry Pratchett's 'Discworld' series. Partly, of course, because they don't actually fall into any traditional genre. They are fantasy - of a sort - since several non-human races co-exist happily (well, sometimes) on the Discworld, such as trolls and vampires and wizards. But they're not normal fantasy. They're humorous, satirical, thought-provoking, and full of classical allusions.

They work wonderfully well as read-aloud books for parents who wanted to keep reading aloud to teens, the only problem being that there are no chapters in the Discworld books, so you find yourself reading until you are hoarse, and then looking for a convenient asterisk to use as a stopping point for the day.

I read 'Monstrous Regiment' to my teenage sons when they were 15 and 17. It's the story of a teenage girl who decides to join the army. The book is about what happens as she attempts to deceive everyone by pretending to be a boy (the Discworld is very sexist still), and eventually manages to enlist. Several adventures await, and a good many surprises as some of her new friends turn out also to be rather different from what first appearances would suggest.

Not really one of my favourite books, although there were some amusing moments here and there. Worth reading for Pratchett fans.

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