(Discworld Novel 32) (Discworld series) - A Hat Full of Sky

By Terry Pratchett

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
diana polansky
A good funny read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is one of his weaker books, which makes it one of the better books of the 20th Century.
(Discworld Novel 30) (Discworld series) - The Wee Free Men :: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents - (Discworld Novel 28) (Discworld series) :: (Discworld Novel 35) (Discworld series) :: (Discworld Novel 24) (Discworld series) - The Fifth Elephant :: (Discworld Novel 17) (Discworld series) - Interesting Times
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Great read ... Subtle humor and out right laughs
Pratchett is once again engaging and entertaining with wit and charm
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alik kurdyukov
This cookbook comes full of recipes and Terry Pratchett's charm. The recipes are easy to follow and create great food. The stories and sidebars are great too. Anyone needing to have a little fun in the kitchen should order this book. Anyone who has read any Terry Pratchett should order this cookbook! Great gift!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Really enjoyed this book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pam iodice
I love the discworld series and this was my first non-discworld book, but I have to say I really enjoyed reading this book
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
armineh helen
All of the Discworld books I have read so far have all been phenomenal. This man know's exactly where my funny bone is!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elizabeth evans
Fun book as expected.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
alkhansaa alhakeem
Terry Pratchett kept his fun nature in this book in some places there could be improvements but this is still a good book and a fun read
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
eileen anderson
Someone should have proofread this book the end is in the middle. I hope the store does a better job next time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Another perfect read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I bought this book as a gift. As far as I know, it was exactly what was wanted and the person is very happy that received it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stephan esterhuizen
another classic in the making
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Discworld books are always different and always entertaining. The characters are always interesting and the story line never gets boring.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leslie abramson
I purchased this book for my niece and she loves it. I do recommend this book for a young teenage. She loves to read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
casi graddy gamel
Terry Pratchett is brilliant; he's one of my go-to authors whether I need something new to read or something familiar.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Another installment of a fantastic series. some well sculpted new characters in the familiar world adding layers onto the Discworld. a great book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
colleen mills
Just read it. Can't wait to get book four, but then I don't have to. No more time. I'm downloading it now. Bye.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Only recently introduced to the discworld series of novels I am loving each and every one of them. I came from "hitchhikers guide to the galaxy" and if you like that series you'll enjoy this series too.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It's Pratchett, there is no need to say more. It should be compulsory reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
robert matheson
Pratchett is addictive; fine craft, pointed wit and just plain funny. Next please. I've still got gaps in my Disc World experience and glad for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ooi chuan
Tongue in cheek comedy, and light hearted fun. Enjoy a vaction kind of read, and relax with this one awhile
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
petr pra k
Love everything Terry Pratchett ever wrote.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
john catton
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
diane mendez
Great book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alejandro monsivais
Sir Terry hits it out of the ballpark again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lisa braun
This is the first one of the series that has the full feel of the Diskworld from here on out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
One of the earlier Discworld books and as always a joy. No matter how many times I read and re-read the series it is always good for the soul
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jim verne
Like all of Pratchett's work, the wry humor reveted my attention and made me laugh.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I love Terry Pratchett's Discworld books. This one is about Tiffany Aching, a young apprentice witch. And the Wee Free Men of course.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
amy gibbs
Good adventure.Stays interesting and makes it seem like your almost one of the characters yourself.Would be a good read for younger folks..
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I like anything Terry Pratchett and often laugh while reading his Discworld books! It is well written and very funny.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
agung ismantriono
Didn't much enjoy this one. It was just boring. I personally think you can skip all the books involving granny weatherwax. Its still "good" in the fact that its a diskworld book and Terry Pratchett is a funny guy, but if I ever read this series again, I'm going to skip this one. I almost stopped reading diskworld because it was so hard for me to make myself finish this novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
So funny I couldn't put it down and im going to try some of the things in there. Thanks for a great book
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I've always skirted around reading Discworld, but when my cousin introduced Wee Free Men to me, I just got hooked.
Absolutely insightful and beautiful.
I'm now a fan.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
greg g
Exactly what I would expect from Nanny Ogg! Fun to read and many of the recipes are begging me to make them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jonna cohen
Awesome as usual.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jason ray
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
heather wescott
I enjoy all Terry Pratchett's book and this was no disappointment ! This book was as usual very well written and just as full of humour!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Great style, great story, super entertaining. My first "only" Terry Pratchett book (had read "Good Omens" before) and I loved it! It has opened a new universe.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vanessa araujo
Great book
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
manu mishra
A wonderful read for the younger reader and young at heart.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I enjoyed this book for the chance to relax and enjoy a well told, sneaky surprising funny story in true Pratchett style
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
It's OK - but Nanny Ogg needs to be more outrageously earthy, and the recipes need to be more the sort we could actually use.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tiffany rachann
great book. a must read series, start to finish
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
monica gallagher
I love this booK!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
margaret ana
awesome! great price and book in great condition!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I love terry he is brilliant at capturing the essence of a topic whilst still keeping a light air to the whole thin
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Tiffany Aching stories by Terry Pratchett are fabulous! They are humorous and the characters are rich and there is not a better storyteller than Pratchett.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
steven cohen
Sharp and funny as ever, great read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tom regan
No other author like Pratchett -- !
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sanjukta basu
You can't go wrong with a Pratchett novel.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I'm a big Pratchett fan
I'll read through the brilliant and the not so great. This had moments of his brilliance but its not the best. Yes I know it is a novel for young people, and in that, a girl of that age may find a pretty interesting mentor in Ms. Aching!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
My best friend loves Terry Pratchett! Got the ones she didn't have for Christmas! If she wants more, I'll get them for her!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
As usual Pratchett is thought provoking AND funny.it was an easy read that belies the truth and depth of its message.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mar a luisa
Another genius Terry Pratchett read, sarcasm abound mixed with his usual wit and energy filled plot line - why can't a woman be a wizard??!!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
courtland hemphill
I liked it. Although it's not as funny as previous Disc World novels I have read. The ants stealing sugar are cool.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
erin hanlon
Witty writing combined with a clever plot and just enough danger to keep the story enthralling makes this a great read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
subha varshini
A good looking hard cover book that was well packaged and shipped promptly. It should be a treat to read another of my favorite authors' books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tiffany brown
loved it
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
totally enjoyed
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jared gillins
Good stuff
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mary jane
Great read as always from Pratchet
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Terry Pratchett always shows you the things that leave you wondering why you didn't see them before they showed up.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sandee westmoreland
Good read.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
We ordered this title as a gift, but when it arrived, it was the abridged version of this book. Be sure to check with the seller to get the one you want.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anna p j
Terry Pratchett is always good, like most of the disk-world novels this one is a beauty. The man is a genius
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bob merkett
Nice funny and concise. Pratchett on his best.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stacy lewis
the book came a bit slow but was in great condition and i really like it. I would order from them again deff
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is the second novel in the Tiffany Aching cycle of the Discworld fortyoneiology.
I heartily endorse this product.

(Parenthetically I should add here that I read this book in the kindle version. Some other reviews mentioned a gap in the kindle transcription- I did not have a gap) .

This group of novels is a little smaller in geographic scope than some of the other Discworld character series, and focuses heavily on witches. It is also written as a Young Adults Appropriate novel, and as such there is very little sex or violence in any of the Tiffany Aching books. It's still pretty good though, and if you get a chance to read it aloud to small children you are likely to find out how bad that Scottish accent you thought you could do is.
Maybe don't read it to SMALL small children, but you know, under 30's are probably OK.
While I suspect this would stand alone just fine, I would recommend starting at the beginning, with The Wee Free Men.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pat hendrickson
Item shipped quickly as ordered - Book in great condition. Very satisfied with this order!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
elizabeth childs
Some of the narrative is excellent, but overall the book disappointed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marilee cornelius
The book was in great condition and it was sent very quickly. Great service.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I bought the audio book because I wanted to listen to one of my favorite books while driving to work.
Rated it ONE star because of several reasons.
1. This audiobook is ABRIDGED. Should have figured out it out as it is 3 cds for a total of 3 hours.
2. There are NO Zoons. One of my favorite parts of the story... Zoons, raft trip, the liar.
3. There are several other instances of abridgement...
4. The reader, Tony Robinson, had two different volumes especially on the first cd. His narrative voice was strong and clear. His character voice dropped in volume 100 plus percent. I needed to turn the sound up to hear what characters said and then would get blasted out by the narrative. He does have a nice voice and I would listen to his readings again if he gets better production editing.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
The book is great, a typical Pratchett work. A fun story as usual. This is a complaint about the conversion to a Kindle book. The story is fine until about location 1103 when the next paragraph in the story is at location 2734. Then you read to the end of the book and then come back to location 1104 for the rest of the story. It really ruins the book when you have to search for the next sentence. Can't believe no one has fixed this.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
It's nott eh sort of book these choices are aimed at. Somewhere between a story book and a cookbook, Very enjoyable!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
brooke mckenna
Kindle version is missing a large portion of the story (gap starts around location 1101).
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kim langille
I actually thought there might be useful recipes in this. Mostly humor. And not very funny, at that...
I would not buy it again
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
nicholas alexsovich
Being a Pratchett fan to the hilt, I made haste to get the three books, Hat Full of Sky, Wee Free Men and Wintersmith. I knew they were basically kid's books, but it was Pratchett writing, so how could they be bad?

Well folks, I guess anything is possible, even that Pratchett could trip up once in a while. These books all tread flatly into the land of hard-to-go-with-it, a tough order when you have swallowed all the Discworld books whole. The characters are either twee or overdone to the point of yawn. The humour, watered down apparently for children, comes off as stale, there is little logic involved in the plots, and I got really, really sick of Tiffany. Thumbs down, and I hope Terry Pratchett goes back to what he is super good at -- hard rights and up-front lampoons directed at recognizable targets -- and lays off the goody-two shoes stuff.

pat chapin

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Not exactly sure what I was expecting but that wasn't it. If you like oddities this book is for you. It is very Harry Potter type but not for real life. I really want my money back.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
randy rodriguez
When I was younger, I read a lot of fantasy (Tolkien, Lewis, Eddings, RA Salvatore and others), but not so much the past twenty years. I'd been meaning to give Terry Pratchett a go - having heard so many good thing - for a fair while, and finally grabbed this book from the library on a whim.

Put simply, wow. From the first pages I knew I was not just in the safe hands of a good storyteller, but that I was riding along with, well, perhaps a genius. There's so much to enjoy about Pratchett's writing: his wit and wordplay, the world he's created, the energy that crackles through his prose - an intoxicating mix of fun, philosophy, humour, and thoughtfulness.

In Equal Rites, young Esk has a destiny hitherto unseen in Discworld; a female wizard. Having never been done before, no one believes it can, or should be done. Even old Granny Weatherwax, who shepherded Esk into the Discworld as a newborn babe, just as a dying wizard had bequeathed his powerful staff to the babe-to-be (assuming it would be the eighth son of an eighth son).

So life for this eighth daughter of an eighth son becomes rather fraught, and she never quite fits in, and people don't know how to handle her. Eventually her parents consent to Granny Weatherwax schooling her in witchery (a more natural and feminine form of magic), in order to harness Esk's power in ways that won't result in her troublesome brothers being turned into little pigs.

But deep down, Esk is being pulled towards her true destiny, powered by a higher magic. So there's only one place to go: Unseen University, the school of wizards. Except no-one really knows where it is. Off go Esk and Granny Weatherwax on a grand adventure, facing great dangers in the Discworld.

This is a terrific story that I absolutely tore through, a grin etched on my face throughout. Pratchett creates memorable and fun characters, salts in plenty of action as well as philosophy and satire, and has a lovely zaniness and delight. We can enjoy these fantastical adventures for what they are - highly entertaining, fun stories - while also being prodded to think more deeply about our own world and our own lives. There's a lovely universality among the entertainment.

A five-star plus read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I have become totally enchanted with Terry Pratchett and the Discworld series. I really don’t know why I wasn’t reading this series earlier.
Equal Rites is the third installment of this series, and the first in the Witches part of the series. You don’t need to read these in order, which is great in such a large series (41 books long!). I have read the first two books and loved them, but Equal Rites is even better.
The story follows a young witch named Esk as she figures out her wizarding powers — girls aren’t allowed to be wizards, but the wizarding staff given to Esk at her birth doesn’t know that. In the Discworld, women can be witches and men can be wizards and their magic is separate.
Esk is a great character and it was easy to root for her in her quest. Granny, the witch who trains her, is fantastic. She’s got an eccentric practicality and worldview that had me hooked right from the start. I could just picture her on her faulty boomstick, too set in her ways to fly too high or too fast, and, for some reason, I love how much she loves her goats. Both Esk and Granny drew me into this magical world in their own way, and I hope they crop up in another book because I am anxious to see them again.
I love how Pratchett creates worlds and uses irreverent humour and witty observations to explore what’s going on. He has a way with juxtaposition and pointing out the small details that paint a rich picture. There are so many times when I stopped to reread a sentence or paragraph just because it was so well written or summed up a “truth” in an eloquent few words.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I'm new to the Discworld Series and wanted to read them in some kind of order but I'm getting them through the library and have to accept them when they become available. Therefore, this is the second one I've read (read The Colour of Magic first). The Discworld novels can be intimidating at first because there really isn't a linear way to read them all. There are several story arcs within the larger canon. And Pratchett fans seem to argue endlessly about which novels are the best to start with.

This is the first of the Witch story arc so it is as fine a place to start as any, in my limited opinion. You are first introduced to several recurring characters and the plot revolves around the origin story for one of them.

The writing gallops along at breakneck speed with it's own idiosyncratic rhythm. Once you catch that rhythm, away you go, pulled along, wondering where, exactly, you will end up and enjoying the ride thoroughly.

I'm getting that sense of serendipity, when you've realized that you are at the start of discovering something wonderful. So glad I finally decided to take the plunge into the Discworld.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This author is sharp, incredibly imaginative and hilarious. This is his third book of the Discworld series.... and I'm now reading the fourth. I like this one especially because in Discworld, at least in the first few books, there were no heroines. Equal Rites was spot on in creating a great female hero :-) I read all kinds of fiction, but not science fiction generally. This series is part fantasy, a lot comedy, extreme imagination, a new world of vocubulary for many (thank goodness for Kindle and it's dictionary) -- I LOVE new words! Highly recommend reading this series if you do NOT want drama, but rather entertaining and imaginative and hilarious reading. Very hard to put the book down but easy to return to without worrying about something horrible happening when you pick the book up, or put it down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jeff brown
Third in the overall Discworld series and the first in the Witches Trilogy within Discworld. This story introduces Granny Weatherwax. If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Discworld books on my website.

My Take
Oh, lordy. If you're a feminist or believe in equal rites, er, I mean, rights, for women, you have GOT TO read Equal Rites. Yes, MUST. Although, Pratchett did have me up in arms over Granny Weatherwax's attitude. What is going on there??? It doesn't last of course. Granny is a hardheaded woman with a pragmatic approach whose actions will crack you up — and impress the unimpressable.

And you'll be laughing every step of the way as Pratchett satirizes everything from equality to the weather ("it was experienced mist and had got curling down to a fine art") to annoyed trees to a person's fear of forn parts to the truth of diplomacy to our modern forms of banditry…*lol*. Then there's that there Extra Muriel studying.
"A world like that, which exists only because the gods enjoy a joke, must be a place where magic can survive. And sex too, of course."
Ooh, I like this one: "…if you ignore the rules, people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you."

Oh, well then, women are too excitable, eh… Magic requires clarity of thought, ehhh…

It amazes me how thorough and prolific Pratchett is in finding so much to satirize about the world. Even more amazing is how well he works it into the story! It does make me wonder what he would have been like to live with. It could go either way.

As for his characters… I do find that I prefer the ones in this beginning to the Witches Trilogy as well as the Tiffany Aching stories. While the Rincewind stories are a great introduction to wizards, the Discworld, and Unseen U, they were trickier to read, if only because the stories were more convoluted and involved too much of Discworld. I do, however, recommend reading it. If only for Luggage, LOL. I do dream about having my own "luggage".

Hmmm, I hadn't thought of that one *eye roll*. Not reading books. They were written by dead people after all. Pratchett continues to go on about books when he describes those wild books in the library. As funny as it sounds, I'm glad my own library doesn't go into such gyrations!

I mention the librarian's practicality later on, and the difference between him and the rest of the wizards is emphasized after Simon's lecture on what magic truly is. Lol, it's too much like so many blowhards in the world *more laughter*.

I am looking forward to reading Wyrd Sisters , if only to learn what Granny, Esk, and Simon get up to. On their own…together…I'm easy. I do know I'll be laughing my head off.

The Story
It was most unexpected, that eighth son of the smith. A girl! Worse, as the years go by, her magic starts to stick out, and she'll need to learn control. It's Granny who'll have to take on the task of getting Esk safely to Unseen University. It'll be a perilous journey through earthquakes, wars, plagues, massacres… Well, that's what Granny's heard. Don't blame me for it.

The Characters
Eskarina "Esk" Smith is the eighth son child of the blacksmith. A girl. A GIRL. And she's inherited magic. Esmeralda "Esme", "Granny", Weatherwax is the village midwife and a witch who can borrow the eyes of any animal. Gammer Tumult has been Granny's mentor.

On their journey, they have adventures and meet…
…Hilta Goatfounder in Ohulan, a market town, and Mr. and Mrs. Skiller are greedy innkeepers. The Zoons are like gypsies but travel the waterways trading, and they are very reliable. Amschat B'hal Zoon is a Liar and has three wives and three children. (Zoons are extremely truthful and finding one who can lie is a great triumph. Liars are highly respected in Zoon culture.) In Zemphis, the caravan trail boss is Adab Gander. Master Treatle is a wizard expected to be useful in defense (he's also the Vice-Chancellor of Unseen U), and S-s-imon is his brainy assistant.

Ankh-Morpork is…
…the major city on Discworld. At least in their part of it. The Guild of Thieves, Cutpurses, Housebreakers, and Allied Trades is a very respectable body and is the major law enforcement agency in Ankh-Morpork. The Shades is a vile neighborhood of thieves, whores, and who knows what else. Mrs. Herapath is the glassblower's wife.

Unseen University is…
…in Ankh-Morpork and is where wizards go to learn how to control their magic. Archchancellor Cutangle is the Archmage of the Wizards of the Silver Star (Granny knew his father, Arktur Cutangle). Jeophal the Spry teaches Beginners' Dematerialization. An orangutang (a wizard who got caught up in a spell) is the Head Librarian and probably the most intelligent and practical wizard at the school. Ksandra is a maid in the laundry. Mrs. Whitlow is the pretentious housekeeper.

Esk's village is...
...so tiny that it "barely showed up on a map of the village". Gordo Smith is a blacksmith who is an eighth son with seven sons of his own and another on the way. Jaims is the oldest son, and Cern and Gulta are more of Esk's brothers.

The Dungeon Dimensions are…
…in another reality and home to beastly Things that keep trying to get into our reality. Its inhabitants include Bel-Shamharoth, C'hulagen, and the Insider among others.

Drum Billet is a wizard who is going to die in six minutes. Well, it is a useful thing to know, as a wizard can pass on his wizardness.

Gnolls are a type of stone goblin. High magic is what wizards do and can put shape on thoughts. Witches can only work with what actually exists. "Magicians are magical technologists with defiant beards and leather patches who gather in small jealous groups at parties." Thaumaturgists never got any schooling. Hedge wizards practice a specialized type of magic interested in gardening and listening.

The Cover and Title
The cover is a bright blue banded by a thin border of black on the left side with bouncing gender symbols in pastel colors. The author's name and title are in a bright yellow with a sharp black shadow along the edges of the letters and are located at the top and bottom, respectively. In between is the essential wizard's hat — one simply cannot be a wizard with the hat! This one is a deep purple blue with symbols and squiggles over over the crown and the upturned brim that's trimmed in a purple violet and topped off with a multicolored breeze-tossed tassel. The hat itself rests on a glow of yellow light while around the top of the crown a Milky Way of yellow haze, yellow stars, and a yellow symbol for, appropriately, the female, swirls in excitement.

The title is what it's all about for a wizard who happens to be, shockingly, a woman: Equal Rites.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
What more can be possibly said about the late and great Terry Pratchett? I've yet to open a book bearing his name that I do not like, that does not amuse and delight, and does not leave me thoughtful and wiser.

Well, wiser at least in my own estimation. I'm sure Pratchett would have something to say about the narcissism of the self-assessment.

To Equal Rites itself: Eskarina was supposed to be born the eighth son of an eighth son, an auspicious combination that a dying wizard seeks out in order to pass along his powers. Pass them he does, as Esk is born, but Esk is a girl, not a boy, and she enters the world without regard for the expectations of men and wizards. And indeed, she aims to grow into her power without regard for wizard and men. As her

In a day and age when social justice messages of equality and diversity seem to win awards and accolades, Pratchett is a breath of fresh air. Using fantasy, satire and deft wordsmithing, he conveys minute truths and observations that are far more persuasive than heavy-handed and stilted stories to those who have eyes to see, but doesn't bowl over the less interested reader with contrived sermons and meaning.

Equal Rites is rife this light-hearted but insightful satire. Esk determines that she must become a wizard, not realizing that the world of magic is divided along gender lines (wizards are men, witches are women). She thrusts herself forward with all the courage and naivete of a child unafraid to ask "why" to the assumptions adults take for granted. It provides an easy foil for the pretensions of stuffy old men and conventions, to question why things are done the way they are done.

Pratchett's characters can are fully formed, fully realized, and every subtle description fills in the depth of their character. This starts from his hook as the dying wizard stumbles along towards Esk's home and continues with Granny Weatherwax and her penchant for wearing her entire wardrobe at once. Some books rely on a single hook to pull you in, but Pratchett continues to hook in each chapter, page and paragraph with characters that fly from the page more colorful than real life.

While Equal Rites is the third published book from Discworld, it's also the first of the Witches.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
patricia u
Wizards always know when they're going to die and Drum Billet is determined to pass on his staff, and his magic, to someone worthy. He has heard that a baby is about to be born, the eighth son of an eighth son, and therefore someone who should be incredibly powerful when they come of age and he has decided that they'll make a worthy heir. Unfortunately he forgets one tiny matter - to check that the baby is actually a boy before he makes the exchange. It's a well known fact on Discworld that girls can't be wizards and boys can't be witches but Esk has been gifted a magic that she never should have had access to and now it's up to Granny Weatherwax to figure out how to train her.

I've always loved the Discworld witches and Granny Weatherwax is a firm favourite but I had forgotten how much she changes throughout this series. When we meet her in Equal Rites she is still an intelligent and powerful witch but she's never left her remote village in the mountains and hates the idea of even visiting a large town, let alone travelling the 500 miles to Ankh-Morpork. I always think of her as being rather worldy and wise so it was quite amusing to see her so nervous about leaving her home. Unfortunately for Granny Esk starts to manifest magical abilities that are beyond Granny's experience and she realises that the young girl needs proper wizard training so it's off to the Unseen University that they go.

One of the things I love about Terry Pratchett's writing is his ability to take real life issues, like equality of the sexes in this case, and present them in a way that shows how utterly ridiculous it is that these problems still occur in our day to day lives. His stories are so full of humour, he is great at poking fun of old fashioned and pointless traditions and his characters are always so much fun to read about. Equal Rites is the third book in the Discworld series but it stands the test of time and I've read it many times over the years along with all of the earlier Discworld novels. I love the world he has created and I've grown really attached to all of the characters over the years, so many of them pop up time and time again even if it's only for a minor guest appearance and although the books can be read in any order I do think that it's best to start at the beginning, especially your first time through the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shiela laramore
As my introduction to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, I was impressed. Equal Rites is a fascinating study of witches and wizards, and with plenty of subtle humour. The progression of the main adventure never ceased to amaze me.

Esk is the first female wizard and she desires training in a wizarding academy, but first she is guided by Granny, who is a hardened witch with stares that can scare off animals. There is colour, and there is magic! And there are parallels to be made between Esk’s blatant skills and intelligence against the sometimes incompetent wizards who actually are accepted into wizarding academies.

Yes, this is one to keep on your bookshelf.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
patrick mcallaster
This sequel to The Wee Free Men (see my review of the 2006 edition) continues the story of the training of young witch Tiffany Aching, who is now eleven. Tiffany is a wonderful heroine: fearless, smart, and sensible. In the background of these stories we learn more about her late Granny Aching, a pragmatic expert on sheep who is nonetheless magical. The story features some of the characters from the first book, including the Nac Mac Feegles, Miss Tick, and Granny Weatherwax. Tiffany is now apprenticed to Miss Level (who has two bodies), a kind-hearted if somewhat vague witch who does chores and helps all the needy people in the community. Tiffany accidentally attracts a hiver, an evil entity that wants to take over her body. She is helped by the Feegles and the witches, especially Granny Weatherwax. An entertaining and engaging continuation of the story, although not quite as hilarious as the first book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ali davis
This book, which is a sequel to "The Wee Free Men" has got one of Discworld's greatest young adult heroines AND some old favorites like the Nac Mac Feegle (the sheep-stealing, kilt-swinging little blue men), Granny Weatherwax, and Death, Himself.

Pratchett brings his usual weird energy to the story of Tiffany Aching, a nine-year-old sheep-herder's daughter, who is also a witch. She proved herself in "The Wee Free Men" when she rescued her sticky little brother from Faerie AND became Kelda (Queen) of the Nac Mac Feegle--at least temporarily. Anyone who hangs around with the little blue men for any length of time will soon be glugging Granny Aching's Special Sheep Liniment and saying things like "Ach, Crivens!" and "oot." However, Tiffany wants to become a `real' witch, not just the Nac Mac Feegle's wee big hag. So off she goes to apprentice herself to Miss Level (a split personality if there ever was one).

Unfortunately for Tiffany, a fell creature comes crackling out of Faerie, searching for the mind of a powerful but untrained dealer in magic. It needed a new mind/body after months of drifting in the void. A young witch's mind would be like a dollop of Cheese Wiz on the Cracker of Life.

The Wee Free Men ken the weird beastie that's tracking Tiffany, but she herself doesn't have a clue. She thinks her biggest challenge lies in confronting a snobbish clique of goth witches, who absolutely jingle with occult jewelry, but don't seem to have a clue as to what a real witch does.

"A Hat Full of Sky" has a wonderful climax where Tiffany and her feisty blue friends go face-to-face with Annagramma, the leader of the jewelry-laden apprentice-witch clique. To top matters off, the young sheep-herder's daughter participates in the celebrated Sheercliff Witch Trials, confronts her inner monster, and goes a round with Death, Himself:


"The Wee Free Men" is the first book in a tetralogy starring Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle. Read their continuing adventures in "Wintersmith" and "I Shall Wear Midnight." I can truly say these books changed me forever--at least, they changed my vocabulary--"Ach, crivens, ye daft loonies, don't just sit there and watch yer life gae doon the cludgie. Read these books!"
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This, I believe, is the second in the series.

The continuing saga of DiscWorld and its crazy inhabitants. It has many different countries and many different races and cultures, but craziness is common throughout. In this visit, we see that women can be wizards, too. Fantastic and unbelievable as that seems to be, there are girls and women with natural talent. They should be admitted to Unseen University as well as men. The men, of course, find this unfathomable. Women are supposed to be witches, whom they supposedly admire, but really think are the lowest of the low.

Witches use earth magic, which is equally powerful. But the eighth son of the eighth son turns out to be a girl after a wizard passes on the staff to her. The midwife couldn't get a word in to tell them she was a girl before the deed was done. The wizard had thought he'd known that it was a boy, as was usually the case when the staff led one to the new wizard. Esk, however, turns out to be very much a girl.

As a powerful new wizard, Simon may stutter, but he stuns the professors with his deep knowledge of wizardry, the makeup of the universe, etc. The use of magic, however, brings the Dungeon Dimensions closer to the real world, and he is captured and taken into their world. Esk follows to save him.

I think it's another wonderful installment of this tongue-in-cheek fantasy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
j v bolkan
In this second book in the series featuring the engaging and clever young witch Tiffany Aching, she is apprenticed to Miss Level. Her mentor, a kind-hearted witch who spends her time doing chores and helping people in the community, is most notable for having two bodies. By making up a spell so that she can see herself from the outside, Tiffany attracts the attention of a hiver, which wants to take over her body. In her attempts to escape him she is helped by the rowdy Nac Mac Feegles (the wee free men), Miss Tick, and the other witches. Guest appearances by Mistress Weatherwax and GUESS WHO. The series has three more books (one posthumous, coming out very soon). Although they have a young heroine these books are fun for everyone.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
peggy sharp
Second in the Tiffany Aching fantasy subseries and thirty-second within the overall Discworld fantasy series.

My Take
I do enjoy this subseries and think it's very appropriate for kids. It includes some lovely moralistic lessons that are well presented to catch children's attention.

There's a bit about the people of the Chalk "knowing" that witches dance around without their drawers on which worried Tiffany until Miss Tick said "you could if you wanted to but only if you were certain where all the nettles, thistles, and hedgehogs were". A nice bit of making fun.

I loved the bit about having to be careful when making a wish. Tiffany figures if she were to wish to marry a handsome prince, she'd step out the door to find a "stunned prince, a tied-up priest, and a Nac Mac Feegle grinning cheerfully and ready to act as best man". I did love the bit where Rob describes the letters he's learning: doesn't trust that one with a sting and the fat man walking.

Cute, I like Miss Level's description of the clues the Creator put on the plants. It was clever enough that I want to head into the garden to sleuth...

"Oh, waily, waily, it's true... "When a man starts messin' wi' the readin' and the writin', then he'll come doon with a dose o' the thinkin' soon enough."

Oh lord, the pictsies are planning to chase after Tiffany. In disguise so they can pass in the world of man. I almost want to see a movie made of this book if only to see this sequence in action...it's so funny in my imagination, and for once, I think film could do it even better!

It's the possession that really rams home the point about the importance of Miss Level's magic, and it's terrifying as to how far this witch will go before she can be rescued. Mistress Weatherwax's comments about Miss Level and her true gift are quite telling as well. And a magic we can all embrace.

Oh, I like that last bit from Granny Weatherwax: "If you don't know when to be a human being, you don't know when to be a witch. And if you're too afraid of goin' astray, you won't go anywhere."

The Story
Miss Tick has found a post for Tiffany as dairy maid. Well, that's what she tells Tiffany's parents. In truth, Miss Level is a witch who can teach Tiffany quite a bit about the craft. And the difference between toys and true power.

The Characters
Tiffany Aching is Granny Aching's granddaughter and only recently learned she's a witch.

The Nac Mac Feegle, a.k.a., Pictsies, The Wee Free Men, the Little Men, or Person or Persons Unknown, Believed to be Armed, are tiny wee men who will steal anything but not from just anybody. Jeannie of the Long Lake is the new kelda who has married Rob Anybody, the Big Man of the clan. She hates our Tiffany and she's insisting that Rob learn to write. Horrors! Of course, he's mastered the first two rules of writing: 1) Steal some paper and 2) Steal a pencil. Big Yan, Hamish, Daft Wullie, and Awf'ly Wee Billy Bigchin---he's the new gonnagle (the clan's bard and battle poet) are some of the Nac Mac Feegles who join the rescue mission.

Miss Level is a very kind witch who cares for everyone's health and does research. In the circus, she was known as the Stupendous Bohunkus Sisters. She also has an almighty secret that might prejudice Tiffany against her. Oswald is an ondageist, a spirit that is obsessive about tidiness. I want him to visit me...! Black Meg is a cantankerous goat.

Mr. Weavall is 91 and needs two walking sticks, and Miss Level will insist on visiting him every day to help care for him. The Widow Tussy cooks him a hot meal every day. Zakzak Stronginthearm is a dwarf who runs a general store for the witch who needs anything.

Petulia Gristle is the only friendly apprentice; she works for Gwinifer, Old Mother Blackcap, a veterinary witch. Annagramma Hawkin is the most puffed-up, bossy, nasty little apprentice for Mrs. Earwig who is even more puffed up; Dimity Hubbub; Lucy Warbeck; Gertrude Tiring; Harrieta Bilk; and, Lulu Darling are yet more apprentices bossed around by Annagramma.

Miss Perspicacia Tick roams the countryside posing as a teacher while looking for potential witches. Mistress Esme Weatherwax is not the head witch. No, not at all. Not one bit.

Roland is the baron's son whom Tiffany rescued in Wee Free Men. He has a thing for Tiffany and she's rather cruel in poking fun at him. Mr. Crabber is the very astounded carter whose horse, Henry, fulfills a dream.

The hiver is an invisible cloud of evil that latches onto power and sucks that person's soul dry. Dr. Sensibility Bustle is one of the minds in the hiver; silly old goat.

The Cover
The cover is blues, pinks, and grays with the Nac Mac Feegles roaming around Tiffany's witchy hat.

The title is a homage to both Granny Aching and an important lesson in Tiffany's adventure in this story. When she learns the best hat of all is A Hat Full of Sky.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michael emond
Equal Rites, Terry Pratchett’s third entry in the Discworld series, was a lot of fun that reads a little dated.

Rites was first published in 1987, on the cusp of the Culture Wars [in the US], so many of the sentiments about equal rights today can seem a little out of date—certainly there are those who would argue against this sentiment. Having said that, the characters, plot, dialogue, and story are all top flight and can make up for the fact that the ideology, at times a little heavy handed, is in your face.

Granny and Eskarina are a lot of fun, and are more than capable of carry a light-weight feminist ideology.

The dialogue is crisp and at time hilarious. Wordplay is always front and center with Mr. Pratchett and the book is worth the read if for this reason alone. It does not really matter if you read the other two books before you read this one—so there is that as well.

Book Rating: 4 out of 5. Equal Rites lost one point because the equal rights, central to the narrative, is a little dated.

Highly Recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jason shugars
This fun romp through the Discworld follows the adventures of Eskarina Smith, a young girl who is destined to become a wizard in a world where traditionally only boys can become wizards, and her mentor, Granny Weatherwax, a witch who takes Eskarina under wing to teach her the ways of magic. Granny tries teaching Eskarina witch magic at first, and Eskarina takes to this well enough, but she keeps making magic of a wizardly sort, leaving a bemused Granny Weatherwax to despair of this apprentice and her future. Finally Granny decides to take Eskarina to the Unseen University, where wizards are taught their trade, to get Eskarina proper mentoring for her wizard-type magic. Along the way there are plenty of little adventures to be had, and in due time Eskarina and Granny Weatherwax end up in the big city of Ankh-Morpork, where the Unseen University is located. At the university Eskarina becomes aware of many demonic beings lurking just outside the university, attracted there by one of the new students. She joins forces with the new student to take on the demons and prevent them from breaking through to the Discworld. In so doing she finds acceptance from the wizards and is taken in as a student at the university. This women's lib tale is light on the social commentary and heavy on the characterization, with Eskarina and Granny Weatherwax being well developed characters who hold their own throughout the novel. This is a short novel compared to most of the Discworld novels I've read, so there isn't as much buildup as there would be in a novel twice as long, but it's still a satisfying read and a good time, full of chuckles and a good sense of fun.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
daniel wood
Terry Pratchett is a man who needs no introduction, he is a brilliant author and a true powerhouse in the fantasy writing community. The thing is you probably wouldn't have predicted that after reading his first two books (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic). These two books were just a random collection of jokes with a very loose plot, a parody of many traditional fantasy tropes. They were funny, they had charm, they had their own sense of magic and wonder, but they were also very disjointed and lacking in direction. His third book, Equal Rites, was a significant departure from the first two as Pratchett moved away from the collection of random parodies and into some actual storytelling. At its heart, Equal Rites is a story about equality and it does a great job at exploring this theme in a way that really resonates with me. This is the book that first showed me the potential of fantasy writing, the book that truly got me hooked on the wondrous land of Discworld.

Equal Rites is a fun, creative, and easy to read story about a young girl named Esk and her adventures growing up in a world of magic. Unlike the first two Discworld novels Equal Rites assumes that the reader has a basic understanding of Discworld fundamentals, allowing the story to progress at a much more even pace but leaving big holes for those who are unfamiliar with the setting. The story is a simple one that has been executed well, it is very good at sucking you right in, and often you will find yourself wondering where those last couple of hours went. My only criticism about the story is with the ending, the whole story was building towards a big showdown between wizards and witches only to have it hijacked by an unseen enemy. The major conflict in the book that I wanted to read was neatly avoided and I think that avoidance is what stops this book from being more than just an entertaining story about wizards and witches. A lost opportunity given all the build-up work that been put into the story.

One element that never wavers in this story is the character development, the big strength of this book. The characters are funny, charming, likeable, inquisitive, and flawed; they are not just fantasy parodies, they are real people. Some of the best moments in this story are when the characters experience the realisation of their flaws for the first time and are forced to deal with them, and they always do, usually in spectacular fashion. Characters interaction is another big strength, the dialogue is sharp and witty, the banter really flows, and you get the sense that you are watching real people having real interactions with one another. Character building is a hallmark of Pratchetts writing, and its great to see just how strong it was so early in his writing career.

Pratchett's writing is a lot better in this book than the first two, a clear demonstration of how a writers craft matures the more they write. His writing style this early in the series is still very hit and miss with some amazing sections of dialogue offset by some average world building, in particular the scenes where he tries to explain the how magic of Discworld works. Tedious. The pacing in this story is pretty good for the most part, with a smooth start and a fast finish broken up by some slow staccato sections in the middle. These sections seem to correspond with the magic description sections which makes sense to me as these sections are quite confusing and often require a couple of re-reads to understand the point Pratchett is trying to make. On the whole the writing is a vast improvement on the first two books and while there may be a few issues with the writing it us great to have an A to B narrative that had been previously missing.

Equal Rites is a story that I think will resonate with everybody, whether or not you are a fan of Discworld, whether or not you are a fan of the fantasy genre. The story of a young girl asking why women can't be wizards explores some themes that I think transcend genres, and while Pratchett didn't take full advantage of this opportunity to create a masterpiece, he did deliver a strong message to the rest of the world that fantasy is a relevant genre that can be used explore topical issues in ways that other genres cannot.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
On Discworld, only men become wizards, while women are always witches. At least that's how it has always been. But now that is about to change. Wizard are able pass their powers on to the eighth son of an eighth son, but when a dying wizard finds an eighth son with seven sons, he fails to verify that the eighth child is a son before he passes his staff to the newborn. It is only after he dies that he realizes that the child is, in fact, a girl. As this girl, Esk, grows, she begins to demonstrate unusual talents, and so Granny Weatherwax, the witch, takes her in, intending to train her as a witch. However, unlike most witches, who generally only make use of magic as a last resort, Esk intends to use magic to do things, and it soon becomes clear that she needs to be trained at the Unseen University, for her own safety (not to mention those near her). The arrival of Granny and Esk at the University creates an uproar, as traditions are upset and precedents broken. In the end, Esk uses her knowledge as both a witch and a wizard, and help to explore a whole new understanding of magic and its uses.

As always, Pratchett is riffing on a theme. This time he is satirizing gender roles and the silliness that tends to grow up around them, often to great comic effect. But at the same time that he's making us laugh, Pratchett is also providing plenty to think about. While it is true that gender roles often arise from legitimate differences between men and women, it is equally true that these roles commonly ossify into rigid social structures that place artificial limitations on people's choices. Pratchett seems to be pointing out the need for us to recognize that both genders can benefit by cooperating and working togother.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Since I liked the Wee Free Men, I thought I would continue with Tiffany Achings adventures with the Nac Mac Feegle.

A Hat Full of Sky is about Tiffany as she begins her training in witchery. Unfortunate;y she's beeing hunted by something unpleasant and of course the Nac Mac Feegle have to try to rescue her. Unfortunately the Pictsie way of trying to stop something that cannot be seen, smelled or touched by beating it to a pulp might not be the best tactic here. But don't tell them that.

I really liked this book and its rather quiet way of dealing with character issues. Since the antagonist was primarily internal (and jumped from person to person) the challenge of facing up to one's own shortcomings and failings. I thought that the landscape of Tiffany's mind made for one of the more unique battlegrounds I've read and I thought that her willingness to accept help and find support in her friends.

The other thing I liked was how the novel dealt with cliques and being the oddball in some way. Tiffany's realization and internal monologue about what real and sincere respect are completely awesome. I also liked how she learned to handle it and especially who she found as inspiration to keep acting in that way at the end.

As before, the Nac Mac Feegle provided a nice note of comic relief as well as a reservoir of steadfast support. I found their enthusiastic way of "we'll help, just show us what you need bashed" endearing. I also liked Miss Level and her multiple hands and philosophy that doing something good doesn't mean getting obvious appreciation for it. Death's cameo appearance was fun too.

I think I might have found yet another series to get sucked into and would happily invite everyone else to join me in it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This sequel to "Wee Free Men" continues the adventures of Tiffany Aching, the young up-and-coming witch of the Chalk lands. She is off now to the mountains to learn witchery with Mrs. Level, who has two bodies and an invisible servant named Oswald. She meets other apprentice witches, including some troublesome ones and some friendly ones, and makes new friends. Then an evil being called a hiver comes along and takes her over, and Tiffany becomes a terror. She abuses people and steals and turns people into frogs. It takes all the skills of Mrs. Level and the Nac Mac Feegle and Granny Weatherwax to save Tiffany from the hiver, with Tiffany herself contributing some good ideas for how to go about it. Things get a little squirrely in the mountains for a while until Tiffany comes up with an idea for getting rid of the unkillable hiver for good. The importance of good friends is highlighted in this book, as Tiffany's bacon is saved several times by her friends, and the importance of independence and a quick wit comes out as Tiffany struggles with the deadly hiver. The Nac Mac Feegle provide their swords and comic relief throughout the book, and Tiffany learns some important life lessons and grows up a little more. This book should be fun for children and adults alike.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
richard stomp
My "complaint" is very superficial. I don't think either the drawings or the content is... pretty. So it is just not my kind of book. It was an excellent idea. I just wouldn't have done it that way. Based on this cookbook, I don't think Terry Prachett's books would be for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brooke maedel
Disclosure: Terry Pratchett is my favorite author, so this review comes from someone with a positive bias.

This book is terrific! In addition to the rich, humorous-yet-serious world which Pratchett is known for, this story follows the relevant theme of personal identity in defiance of rigid gender norms. Our young lady protagonist inherits wizard magic at her birth. Of course, that should never have happened and logically can't happen. Oh well. Common sense is rarely good sense. If you want parallels to women breaking into male-dominated fields (eg STEM) with the added perk of fireballs and so forth, this is the book for you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
blanca nieves
Ok, this was the first of Pratchett's Discworld series that I actually enjoyed. After reading the first two books which were less than stellar, it was with trepidation that I moved on to Equal Rites. But this one was good, not excellent, but still enjoyable. Although it is part of a series, this book could be read as a standalone, and as such I'm not going to recap the other books except to say that Discworld is in fact a magical world on a disc, held up by four elephants which in turn are held up by a giant turtle. That is all you really need to know.

A wizard knows when death is looming. And because of this they like to pass on their powers, most specifically to the eighth son of an eighth son. And so this is what Drum Billet set out to do. But he made a small mistake, see that eight son was actually a daughter. And everyone knows girls can't be wizards. Or can they? Eskarina is the little girl's name and she grows somewhat normally. That is, until one day she turns her brother into a pig. Seeing as how her magical powers could get out of control, local witch Granny Weatherwax, takes her under her wing and attempts to teach her witchcraft. Eskarina's magic is just too powerful though and Granny resigns herself to the fact that she'll have to escort her to wizard's school at the Unseen University.

Nothing is ever easy though and its quite the eventful journey to get to the entrance. Eskarina disappears at times and makes trouble and mayhem wherever she and her wizard staff goes. And even when she arrives at the Unseen University, who is to say that they'll let her in since she's a girl. She and Granny have to come up with a good plan or she could be forever plagued by troublesome magic.

I have to say I love Granny Weatherwax. She's a good mix of practicalitly and no nonsense and just her expressions are hilarious. In addition to that, she's a witch, and a reputable one at that despite the fact that she can't get a decent wart to grow on her nose. Eskarina was ok. For her being the main character I expected a bit more detail and this book just didn't have it. The rest of the characters played minor roles but were all interesting with unique attributes.

Pratchett aims to be funny when he writes and he does an above average job at it. I tend to read at face value though and largely ignore some of his more subtle jokes in the book. I know they are there, I just don't really care about them. He tends to jump around in ideas as well and this can make for hard reading at times. This was noticeable in the end of the book where he went on a complete leap of storyline from the rest of the book and it didn't seem to fit. I found myself skipping through this section of the book as I didn't find it particularly interesting.

Since I enjoyed this book I'll probably keep reading the series. With each additional book the writing seems to get better and better and the plotline more interesting.

Equal Rites
Copyright 1988
254 pages

Review by M. Reynard 2011
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I've read all the Discworld novels -- so far, since that's a moving target when dealing with a prolific author like Terry Pratchett -- and have been jonesing for additional Lancre witches material. When I saw this book in my local bookstore, I felt compelled to pick it up.
The book is a compilation of recipes inspired by Discworld -- a wider variety than perhaps might be plausible, but bringing in the Ankh-Morpork city watch, wizards of Unseen University and other characters broadens this book's focus and appeal -- along with Nanny Ogg's advice on life and etiquette. The recipes are very British -- some of the ingredients are either unfamiliar to American audiences, or have names that will be unfamiliar -- but all look servicable enough.
The book shines in the sections later on, where Nanny expounds on life and love. While she keeps her infamously dirty mind relatively in check, the casual arrogance of the Lancre witches is good for quite a few laughs, with the not-so-subtle message that witches (and to a lesser extent, wizards) are above etiquette given that they can ruin the lives of anyone who would object. Not that they would, dearie. It's an amusing reminder that even the relatively benevolent Nanny is something of a terror to the mere mortals around her.
Ultimately, however, this is a small amount of new material for the price -- readers who thought "Eric" was a thin work will find this book to be positively anemic in comparison.
Recommended mostly for Pratchett fans who have read all his other works, and can't wait for his next novels to come out.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
leah culver
The Unseen University, the centre of magical learning on the Discworld, a building whose endless rooftops make Gormenghast look like a toolshed on a railway allotment and whose faculty are the guardians of magic for the whole world. Of course, wizards are renowned for being incredibly intelligent but not very smart, and when Drum Billet realises his time is almost up he decides to pass on his staff to the eighth son of a poor blacksmith, himself an eighth son. Unfortunately, he neglects to check the baby's gender first...

Nine years later, Eskarina is a happy and normal nine-year-old child, happily terrorising her older brothers and learning the ways of the world. Local witch Granny Weatherwax is less happy about the magical staff left to her by the wizard. When Esk's burgeoning magical powers threaten to cause chaos, Granny realises she has to get Esk enrolled at Unseen University, which given that the university specifically prohibits women from joining (on the grounds they'd probably be too good at magic) could be rather problematic.

Equal Rites sees Terry Pratchett setting out his vision of what the Discworld series is going to be. No previous characters from the first two books turn up (with one orange-furred and banana-stained exception), and there isn't even any mention of those events. Instead we have new characters having new adventures. Pratchett also starts to use his creation to address real-world concerns here, in this case feminism. He doesn't go too overboard and the humour remains fairly broad, but you can almost sense the author thinking that maybe the funny planet with the turtle and elephants can be used for something more interesting than just poking fun at Lovecraft and Conan, amusing as that may be. Unfortunately, this idea falters a bit since Esk's story is meant to make Unseen University a co-ed establishment, bringing in female wizards and making it more equal. As later books show, none of this happens, Esk is never mentioned again and UU remains a male-only establishment in the latest novels, twenty-odd years after Esk's time. Given how well Pratchett develops his world, this lack of evolution is disappointing and seems to contradict the book's pro-feminist theme.

It's also the first appearance of Granny Weatherwax, one of his most iconic characters. She's a mere embryonic shadow of her later self here, but already some of the character's more intriguing traits are developing. We also continue to get through the revolving door of Unseen University Archchancellors with Cutangle becoming an interesting character as the story develops. As usual with these earlier books there are some weaknesses, most notably that Pratchett is re-using the idea that the fate of the whole Disc is at stake as creatures from the Dungeon Dimensions attempt to break through the fabric of reality, which he uses rather a lot in these first dozen or so books.

Equal Rites (***) is another funny and fast-paced read, but you can start to see Pratchett developing some more sophisticated ideas of what he can use the Discworld series for. The book suffers from being somewhat slight and insignificant (aside from Granny Weatherwax's first appearance, the events of the book have next to no impact on the wider world and series) but is still moderately entertaining. However, from the next book Pratchett is starting to roll out much bigger and more intriguing guns.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jeffrey smith
After reading The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic back to back, I had high hopes that Pratchett's books would keep getting better and better. Well, I don't want to say that Equal Rites is a bad book, but it's definitely an inconsistent one (although even the first two were a smidge inconsistent in spots.) And while it may not be his best work, it's still Terry Pratchett, which means it's still funny.

As you may have read, Equal Rites is about a wizard whom upon his dying breath, bestows his powers unto an 8th son of an 8th son, who turns out to be a girl, our heroine Eskerelda. On Discworld, only males are supposed to become wizards while females have to stick to the more earthly form of magic, witchery. Of course this creates a conundrum and hilarity ensues (sometimes anyways.) I think I enjoyed the first half of Equal Rites the most, which happens to be the slower half. Granny Weatherwax -the resident witch of the small mountain town Bad Ass- tries to teach Esk how to be a witch, hoping to keep her natural wizarding instincts from kicking in which would surely be a dreadful thing as wizard's magic is all about stars and numbers. Granny's quirks are a constant source of humor, from her poor spelling to her comedic outlook on humanity. Esk however, never quite becomes interesting as a character and I think that is where Equal Rites ultimately falls a bit flat.

After Esk's failed "training," Granny gives in and decides to take Esk to the Unseen University, most of which resides in alternate dimensions with a few buildings grounded in Discworld's largest city. From here the book takes some strange turns, from Esk running from Granny and travelling with river-faring gypsies, to reaching the university itself and battling the unimaginable horrors from the Dungeon Dimension that are trying to attack Esk, whose magic strength calls to them like a beacon. It seems that in this half of the story, Mr. Pratchett decided he was a little bored with Esk and her quest to become the first female wizard and he focuses more on Granny as she develops a slight relationship with the University's headmaster. My guess is that in writing the characters, Pratchett realized that Granny was just more fun. This is most likely why she appears in so many later books whereas we never again hear from Esk. After I was finished with the book, most of what I remembered was about Granny Weatherwax and I really don't think much on Esk's character at all.

But despite the characterization problems, I do like the new elements of Discworld that Pratchett has shown us here, particularly the University. We don't really learn a whole lot about the wizards in the first two books, since the primary wizard, Rincewind, isn't a very good one. So that part of the book was fun. If J.K. Rowling had taken a lot of hallucinogens before creating Hogwarts, it may have come out something like the Unseen University. And anywhere Pratchett decides to take the reader in Discworld is fine as his prose is a delight to read and always hilarious regardless of the subject matter.

So would I recommend Equal Rites to others? For the avid Pratchett fan, yes. Or for those planning to go through all of the books in publication order like I'm planning to do, you'll come across it anyways. It is a bit of a scattered read without as many memorable characters as the first two, but it's encouraging for me to know that even a mildly entertaining read in the Discworld universe is still entertaining.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Third book of Discworld series features Witches or, more precisely - the Witch. One and only - Granny Weatherwax. There's no one that even remotely resembles her. Lady of a respectable age with a stare that could (and did) make logs burst into flame and a voice that you must obey unless you want something bad happening to you and several generations of you kin. Still, she isn't much of a sight. She dresses in black, wears hat with bunch of hatpins in it and waddles around like a women of respectable age should. Terry Pratchett created the most memorable character of contemporary fantasy, or even contemporary literature. I sincerely doubt that there is a reader out there who didn't, at some part of his life, wanted to become Granny, to instill fear and respect mere by it's appearance - being at the same time aware of his power, and sane enough not to use them. Granny kinda steals a show here, forcing the reader to concentrate on her and miss out whole point of the book - equality of the sexes. And it is perfectly understandable, 'cause, whole rattle about it isn't much more than a back note in a series of events that leads us once again through the plains and mountains of Disc, colouring them this time with peculiar visage of Granny Weatherwax and a notion of the World How It Should Be. Pratchett has written more serious books than this one (Mort being the first one to follow), but rarely he managed to write something as complete and self-explanatory like this one.

There has been more than twenty years since this was first published, and if somehow you still didn't read a single page of Discworld that puts you amongst the new generation of reader who are right now discovering world of fantasy literature. If first two books were satirical and ironic musings about the genre itself, third book in the series is the book about world and worldly events presented in the mode of the aforementioned genre. And, much like the Granny herself it doesn't gets old, or better - it retains certain grace in the process. It reads fresh and exciting as twenty years ago. It is still filled with magic and wizards (and witches of course), more enough to put away reader who can't be bothered with silly things like that, but if one learns to look beyond flashy effects, if one cares to look below the blockbuster spellcasting, one will find true gem that plays with notions of human psychology and says much more of humanity itself then many-volume tomes around there. Definitely worth a look. Or even three.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Being rather new to the work of Terry Pratchett, perhaps I had and advantage over some of the more jaded Pratchett fans here. I personally loved this work; thought it hilarious, and simply set back and enjoyed it as a stand alone read. As with most authors, his one has works in print which are simply not as good as others. No one can bat a thousand, and continually living up to all their reader's expectations. Perhaps my ignorance of his other work got in the way of my not enjoying this one. His, the author's, unique brand of wisdom holds many truths...if you just stretch things a bit.

It would seem that on Disc World there are no female wizards, never have been, and if all concerned have their way, there never will be. Wizardry is simply not "female work," because as the whole world, in this case Disc World, knows, females simply are not up to the task; they are different than men, and should remain in their "place" and if they must indulge in magic, then they should stick to being witches which is something fitting only for females. The female mind just is not up to the task and they think differently then men. Women cannot be wizards and men cannot be witches, although, at times, men can become warlocks.

This entire premise of gender roles is suddenly challenged by Eskarina, a precocious young girl of eight, who was born at exactly the wrong time in the right place, or the right time in the wrong place and several combinations of the two. Esk is born a wizard and nothing or anyone is going to stop her. This is her story. She is helped along the way primarily by Granny Weatherwax, a rather unique and loveable, at times, witch. I understand that Granny is introduced in this story and appears later in others.

As usually, as with his other work, Pratchett has filled his world with a wonderful assortment of characters, quirky, different, non-logical, but all delightful in their own other world, magical way. One of this author's many talents is word play, and we get plenty of that in this offering. I found myself constantly reading a line or two and asking myself "did I really read just what I think I read!" This poking fun at things; the world in general most of the time, either gently, or at times not so gentle, works quite well with his perchance for word play and the reader needs to take close note as she or he reads. There are plenty of chuckles in this work, even if you have to dig a bit deeper than is some of the author's other works.

Another aspect of this author's work I like is the fact that I can recognize characters. I have yet to run into one of them that I have not met here on mundane earth. Pratchett simply has and odd ball way of portraying so many of my friends and acquaintances. I can even spot bits and pieces of myself now and then.

For hardcore Pratchett fans this may not be their favorite work. For someone just starting his wonderfully imaginative work, it will certainly do. I would gently suggest though that if this work throws you into a complete snit because the author does not write his story the way you want, that you either skip the book completely; or better yet, write your own.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
On the Discworld legend goes that the eighth son of an eighth son is destined to become a wizard. That is why, a few moments before he has an appointment with Death, the wizard Drum Billet is on his way to the village of Bad Ass. Indeed, the wife of Gordo Smith is about to give birth to their eight heir. Drum Billet has to hurry, because he hasn't got that much time to give his staff to the newborn baby. But he is about to make a big mistake. And it's up to Granny Weatherwax to get it fixed.

Although the story of Equal Rites is not that special, the book is a milestone in the Discworld saga because it introduces one of its most beloved characters: Granny Weatherwax. The funniest parts of the book are also related to her: for example her memorable out-of-body experience and her experiments with getting control of a flying broomstick. You cannot but fall in love with that character. Ah, and she will become so much more interesting when joined with Nanny Ogg, but for that you will have to until the sixth Discworld novel Wyrd Sisters.

The equality theme is rather conspicuously interwoven in the novel, but Terry Pratchett never reaches that level of shrewdness we are so accustomed to. Actually this topic never gets deeper than the wizards proclaiming that "women are not allowed in the Unseen University". In my opinion this is certainly a missed opportunity.

Nevertheless Equal Rites is a good read and certainly a must read for every fan of the Discworld.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
linda juliano
Eskarina Smith was born with a slight impediment a wizard desperate to leave his staff to an heir was so delighted to find the eighth child of an eighth child neglected to make one last quality check. And so the first female wizard was born. Granny Weatherwax quickly realizes the magnitude of the problem - there was no one to teach Esk to manage wizardry that is exactly like handing a two-year-old the remote control to an armed nuclear submarine. Granny did her best by instructing Esk in witchery, but this was only a temporary diversion. If there was any hope for the wolves in Lancre, Esk must be sent to the Unseen University where, unfortunately, the most likely reaction to a girl who could cast spells was to make a maid out of her.

On the way she meets Simon, a young wizard on the way to the University to gain his staff. Simon's a bit unusual; he's self-taught with a theoretical bent at a time when the average wizard had trouble keeping his cigar lit. Simon's talent wasn't simply useful, it was downright dangerous. So with Esk trying to work her way past wizardly sexism, Simon getting closer and closer to accidentally releasing all hell, and vague hints of romance Pratchett does what he always seems to do and make theater of the Absurd into a literary phenomenon.

Deep down inside Pratchett is a true romantic warring with a soul that thinks everything is made from the blackest of cottage cheese. It always amazes me how he manages to keep a level of sarcasm, tell some horrendous puns, and still write a book that is every bit a whopping good story, with characters good and awful, but always charming. This is number three in the serious, and stands perfectly by itself, but reading all the books is compulsory anyway. You will enjoy all of them, like it or not.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I listened to an unabridged audio version of this book and my review pertains to that version.

This is the third of Terry Pratchett's young adult books I've listened to on audio (via download from Audible), and the second in the Tiffany Aching series. Fledgling witch Tiffany Aching was first seen, along with her violent, often dim but always brave accomplices, the Wee Free Men, in the book called, not surprisingly, The Wee Free Men. In this sequel, Tiffany is now 11 and leaving home to begin her life as an apprentice witch. The plot involves her battles with a "hiver", a parasitic presence that latches onto a strong person and takes them over, eventually killing the host. The hiver is attracted to Tiffany's strong magic abilities and stalks her. How Tiffany "beats" the hiver and also learns a lot of important lessons about growing up (most of them applicable to non-witches out here in the real world) is only part of the attraction of this book. The rest is the rollicking storytelling voice and the humor of the interactions of the characters, particularly whenever the MacFeegles or Wee Free Men show up. Chaos and kicking nearly always ensue, and these are the parts that will get you in trouble with your neighbors on the subway as you laugh out loud at various points in the plot.

Stephen Briggs is a wonderful narrator, who has read all of the Pratchett young adult titles available through Audible. He does a great variety of voices, performing both women and children well, as well as making the MacFeegles' voices unforgettable and hilarious. The accents can occasionally be a little difficult to understand, but it's well worth the effort. Though the Tiffany Aching series and another, standalone book (The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents) are marketed as young adult titles and are certainly excellent for readers age 9-10 and above, there is much for adults to enjoy as well. Highly recommended!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Having just finished the first Tiffany Aching book, I eagerly jumped into this one almost immediately afterwards. (Hey, I waited a full two hours before I read it...) I wasn't quite sure if I'd like this one as much as I did the first one, and I have to admit that while I loved the heck out of this book I just didn't like it quite as much as the first.

The story picks up a short while after the events of the last book. Tiffany is being sent to study under the mysterious Miss Level, a witch who was born to two bodies. If being away from home & dealing with snobby student peers wasn't bad enough, there's a strange being trailing after Tiffany that is bent on possessing her body & powers!

Really & truthfully, the best scenes in the book were the ones where Tiffany interacted with Granny Weatherwax. It was interesting to see Tiffany being groomed as a "Granny Weatherwax in training", but it was also nice to see a new side of Granny. Some fans of the regular witch series may find it a bit strange, but I rather liked seeing how Granny would react to someone with similar thoughts & actions. (I just hope that Tiffany doesn't replace Granny eventually- I don't like her THAT much!) The good news for this book is that it's a fun & easy read. The bad news is that there are one or two scenes where the book seems to drag a teensy bit, mostly the scenes with Miss Level & her twin body. (I just found Miss Level a bit of an annoying character.) Still, those scenes don't last for very long & soon enough the book moved on to the real meat of the novel.

Overall I think that most readers of Pratchett's work should like this entry. New readers would be better off if they started with the first Tiffany Aching book or if they started at the beginning of the Discworld saga. (Or at least read some of the Witch books.)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
By now most of you know about Discworld, right? It is a fantastic place, which resembles our world but that presents us with some notable differences. As its name suggests, Discworld is shaped like a pizza, and it rests on top of four elephants, who in turn stand on top of a giant turtle, the Great A'Tuin. And as everyone knows, there is a small sun that orbits around this world, which is only reasonable. I guess that by know you get the idea. These characteristics are just a snippet of the elements Pratchett uses for his satire, and quite a few clever elements they are.

This story starts when Mr. Billet, an old wizard, shows up at the house of a blacksmith in a small and forgotten village. He is there looking for the eighth son of an eighth son, who is supposed to be given birth momentarily by the blacksmith's wife. Mr. Billet will pass on his powers and die soon thereafter. Maybe he should have done his homework more carefully, because after the ritual, they all notice that the new wizard is a baby girl. Thus, the first female wizard was created.

Eskarina lives a normal life until she is eight, but at that time things begin to change as she discovers her magic. At first, Granny, her nanny, tries to steer her towards witch magic, but soon enough the old witch realizes she cannot prevent Esk from fulfilling her destiny. Therefore, Esk starts her journey to the Unseen University and her fight against gender stereotypes and discrimination.

Even though this is not one of Pratchett's best efforts, and it slows down a bit in a few sections, there are a lot of things the author does proficiently. As always, there is one main subject for the satire, in this case gender discrimination, and the author makes us laugh out loud with some of the situations he creates. Pratchett also succeeds in inserting other topics in his satire, like the description of the Zoon, a tribe formed of people that are honest and that have to select those that can lie a little better to be tribal liars, or as other tribes call them, diplomats and public relations officers. Another ability of this author is finishing phrases that seem normal in odd ways, to make us laugh unexpectedly, like "Time passed, which, basically, is its job".

There are many other great aspects to this book, and even a Pratchett that is not completely at the top of his game, delivers a book that is worth your time and money. Even the title is clever, using the homonym for "Equal Rights". On top of this, there is an appearance of one of my favorite characters in the series, Death, and we also get to learn a couple of secrets behind magic in Discworld. I am already looking forward to grabbing the next Discworld book, lay back in the deck of a cruise and relax. I won't be able to relax totally though, since I will have to be checking that the cruise does not reach the end of the world and fall over.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kristina provence
One can only admire what must be going on in an author's mind to create stories like A HAT FULL OF SKY! Tiffany Aching, young heroine of The WEE FREE MEN, is back capturing the attention of young and older readers alike. Terry Pratchett has woven a new thread into the Discworld, adding a refreshing, new dimension to the already rich collection of characters, landscapes and goings-on. The Chalk, home of the Achings, is a remote rural region, far away from the bustle of Ank Morpork. The soft rolling hills, evolved in ancient times from the seas of the ages, are part of an area where reality meets magic...

While Tiffany, now 11, has been cautiously applying her special skills, inherited from her much-loved granny, she does not really understand what they mean and how to apply them. It is time to *learn* the witching business properly. With the help of Miss Tick, the headhunter for young witches, she leaves her beloved Chalk to take up "service" with an experienced witch, the complex Miss Level. Contrary to common assumptions that young witches might learn to fly on a broomstick or concoct magical potions, Tiffany's new life can only be described as tiresome and tedious... Her chores have more in common with a nurse's training as she follows Miss Level to attend to the old, sick and lonely. While she is much appreciated by their charges, Tiffany has a more challenging time to fit in with her fellow witches' apprentices. The trials and tribulations of the witches' teenage years are no different from those of "normal" girls: vanity, jealousy, peer pressure. Pratchett has a wonderful, sensitive touch when characterizing this motley group. Tiffany's search and acceptance of her own, real *hat* and the hat itself are wonderful metaphors for her coming of witch-age.

Tiffany has several magical talents. With telling herself "see me" and "see me not" she can step out of her body to observe her surroundings undetected. She also has the capacity for "third thoughts". Those are thoughts that "watch the world" and "think by themselves". They have helped Tiffany in her fight with the Queen of the Fairies in WEE FREE MEN. But they also can be trouble. Combined, these talents can also prove dangerous. The Nac Mac Feegle, the funny wild bunch of tiny blue men, a special kind of fairies, are the first to realize that danger is brewing for Tiffany. The hiver, an ancient entity that cannot die and moves from host to host, to absorb their minds, has set its ambitions on Tiffany. She would be an ideal candidate to be taken over... Rob Anybody and his brothers, have a special bond with the young girl, the "big wee hag". Their adventures are always hilarious, yet their efforts to protect Tiffany and to reach her before the hiver does is one of those gems that will stay in the mind of the reader. Mistress Weatherwax, the most revered of the old witches, is well known to Pratchett fans. Here, in her attempt to support and protect Tiffany, new sides of her personality are revealed. The confrontation with the hiver, while unavoidable, develops in unexpected ways.

A HAT FULL OF SKY is a delight of a story, for readers with a young mind, whatever their actual age. As Pratchett fans have come to expect, it is filled with good humour, imaginative witticisms and magic fantasy and, at the same time, with deep understanding and empathy for the foibles of humans and other beings. [Friederike Knabe]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book, which is a sequel to "The Wee Free Men" has got one of Discworld's greatest young adult heroines AND some old favorites like the Nac Mac Feegle (the sheep-stealing, kilt-swinging little blue men), Granny Weatherwax, and Death, Himself.

Pratchett brings his usual weird energy to the story of Tiffany Aching, a nine-year-old sheep-herder's daughter, who is also a witch. She proved herself in "The Wee Free Men" when she rescued her sticky little brother from Faerie AND became Kelda (Queen) of the Nac Mac Feegle--at least temporarily. Anyone who hangs around with the little blue men for any length of time will soon be glugging Granny Aching's Special Sheep Liniment and saying things like "Ach, Crivens!" and "oot." However, Tiffany wants to become a `real' witch, not just the Nac Mac Feegle's wee big hag. So off she goes to apprentice herself to Miss Level (a split personality if there ever was one).

Unfortunately for Tiffany, a fell creature comes crackling out of Faerie, searching for the mind of a powerful but untrained dealer in magic. It needed a new mind/body after months of drifting in the void. A young witch's mind would be like a dollop of Cheese Wiz on the Cracker of Life.

The Wee Free Men ken the weird beastie that's tracking Tiffany, but she herself doesn't have a clue. She thinks her biggest challenge lies in confronting a snobbish clique of goth witches, who absolutely jingle with occult jewelry, but don't seem to have a clue as to what a real witch does.

"A Hat Full of Sky" has a wonderful climax where Tiffany and her feisty blue friends go face-to-face with Annagramma, the leader of the jewelry-laden apprentice-witch clique. To top matters off, the young sheep-herder's daughter participates in the celebrated Sheercliff Witch Trials, confronts her inner monster, and goes a round with Death, Himself:


"The Wee Free Men" is the first book in a trilogy starring Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle. Read their continuing adventures in the third book, "Wintersmith." I can truly say these books changed me forever--at least, they changed my vocabulary--"Ach, crivens, ye daft loonies, don't just sit there and watch yer life gae doon the cludgie. Read these books!"
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
a d green
Old Granny Weatherwax usually succeeds at whatever task she sets for herself. However the local blacksmith has sired the eighth daughter of an eighth son (himself). A dying wizard staggers into the smithy and bequeaths his staff to a baby who he assumes to be an eighth son of an eighth son.

Right count. Wrong sex.

Granny tries to rectify the matter by destroying the staff, but it indignantly refuses to be destroyed either by force or by witchcraft. Finally she hides it in the smithy and life returns to normal in the little Ramtop mountain village of Bad Ass--at least until Eskarina is seven.

As Pratchett puts it, "Magic has a habit of lying low, like a rake in the grass." When young Eskarina sasses her father in the smithy, he slaps her, and then is knocked cold by the suddenly active staff.

Granny realizes that the wizard's magic had taken hold of Eskarina after all. Still, she's a stubborn old woman with an unshakeable moral center. Wizard's magic is not for females, but who's to say Eskarina can't be trained up as a witch?

Thus begins one of the funniest apprenticeships in fantasy. Eskarina and Granny Weatherwax both have firm ideas on what a witch should and should not do. Granny wants to teach 'headology' to Esk, who scorns any technique that doesn't involve flashes of light and/or bad smells. She wants to learn 'real' magic.

After a near-death experience with a magical technique called 'borrowing' Granny finally girds up her many layers of flannelette and sets off for the Unseen University with her subdued (but not for long) apprentice. Maybe the wizards can teach Esk how to control her wild magic before it destroys her, and maybe Discworld along with her.

There is a musty old rule barring females from the Unseen University, but how long is that going to stop a determined Esk ("Why is that little girl squinting at me?") and an even more determined Granny Weatherwax?

The witches of Ramtop Mountains are my favorite Discworld characters. I'm surprised no one has yet published "The Wit and Wisdom of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg." They answer all of the important questions of philosophy while getting clobbered by falling houses, chastening fairy godmothers, dueling with assorted wizards, fairies, and vampires, and generally restoring peace to the little villages of the Ramtops, Bad Ass included. They are the moral bedrock (in Nanny Ogg's case, moral 'bedspring') of Pratchett's sane and funny philosophy of life.

If you'd like to read the Discworld witch books in order of publication, they are: "Equal Rites" (1987), "Wyrd Sisters" (1988), "Witches Abroad" (1991), "Lords and Ladies" (1992), "Maskerade" (1995), and "Carpe Jugulum" (1998).
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
pam hamblin
Now as a general rule I don't go around buying up every children's book that I find particularly amusing. I often find that I love so many of them that to buy them all I'd have to be either rich or a particularly good shoplifter. Yet when Terry Pratchett's, "The Wee Free Men" came out I found myself actually buying it, it was so good. Not wanting to make a habit out of this sort of thing I decided that the next time I came across a great book I'd just read it in the bookstore. The next thing I knew "A Hat Full of Sky", the sequel to "The Wee Free Men" had was published and I began reading it. It was only after I publicly embarrassed myself by laughing uproariously in front of the other shoppers in the store that I had to face facts. I was going to buy "A Hat Full of Sky" too. I did, I read it through, and I loved it. Though maybe not as moving as its predecessor, "A Hat Full of Sky" truly deserves to be read by anyone who thinks that fantasy and humor should become synonymous.

As we remember from "The Wee Free Men", Tiffany Aching has recently done battle with the Queen of Fairies, armed with only a frying pan and the help of some violent pictsies. The Wee Free Men, as they call themselves, have decided to keep Tiffany safe by keeping a close eye on her at all times. It turns out this eye might not be close enough though when Tiffany becomes the object of a hiver's desires. Hivers are creatures that move from powerful creature to powerful creature, taking over their minds until there's nothing left in the body but a shell. When Tiffany, witch in training, finds herself a victim of a hiver (a creature no one has ever killed before) it's with the help of her bright blue friends that she is able to face it down.

Now, the first half of this book is everything you could hope for in a story. The Wee Free Men decide that the best way to rush to Tiffany's aid is to make themselves appear as human. Therefore, they fill up some old clothes and attempt to work together to walk as a single being. Needless to say, this is not without its failings. While the Wee Free Men are riding in a carriage towards Tiffany the other passengers in the stagecoach view the "man" with fear (especially when the buttons on his trousers pop open and a small redheaded man sticks his head out to talk to them). About this point I was gasping for breath, trying not to draw too much attention to myself as I laughed at the book. Sometimes I think that Pratchett's the funniest fantasy writer living today.

Unfortunately, somewhere around page 185 the book slows down. Less attention is paid to the Wee Free Men and far more to Tiffany and Mistress (now called Granny) Weatherwax. This is all well and good, but part of what I liked about "The Wee Free Men" was the fact that its little blue characters (I've heard them referred to as drunken tattooed Smurfs) appear regularly from the beginning of the story to the end. Here, they kind of drift off and the book forgets about them. Worse still, there are about five different endings to this story. You think it's over.... And then here's another ending right around the corner... Before you meet yet ANOTHER ending five pages later. The action doesn't rise and fall towards the end, it falls and falls. And falls some more.

None of this is to say that the book is bad. I'm still happy that I purchased it. I just don't think it's quite as good as the original. Let's hope that with the future books in this series that equal attention is paid to Tiffany as there is to her little blue drunkards. If not, I can only quote the response the Wee Free Men themselves might have.

"Oh waily waily waily".
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
melody smith
First published in 2004 and set on the Discworld, "A Hat Full of Sky" is the sequel to "The Wee Free Men" and sees Tiffany Aching return as the book's heroine. Tiffany, now eleven years old, has been brought up on a farm in an area on the Chalk. She has six older sisters, one younger brother, wields a mean frying pan, is very good with cheese and has already impressed the Discworld's greatest witch. Granny Aching, who dies when Tiffany was seven, continues to be a big influence on her grand-daughter. Granny was a shepherdess, very fond of Jolly Sailor tobacco and - Tiffany is convinced - a witch. Remembering how Granny said it was important to stand up for those who have no voice, Tiffany has decided she wants to follow in her footsteps.

The book also features an exceptionally rowdy, and thoroughly entertaining, bunch of fairies. The Wee Free Men, we also known as the Nac Mac Feegle, are a Pictsie race who were thrown out of Fairyland for being drunk, disorderly and rebellious. They are covered in tattoos, have red hair and blue skin and wear little other thank kilts and swords. An extremely fast and strong race, they are fond of fighting, stealing and drinking - Granny Aching's Special Sheep Liniment is a particular favorite. There have been a few changes since "The Wee Free Men", however. The clan now has a new gonnagle, Awf'ly Wee Billy Bigchin Mac Feegle, and a new Kelda, Jeannie of the Long Lake. Jeannie, as tradition demands, has married the Big Man o' the Clan, Rob Anybody Feegle. She is also responsible for possibly the biggest change of them all. The Nac Mac Feegle had once been afraid of reading and writing, believing it to be a dangerous type of magic. Jeannie now wants the clan, beginning with Rob Anybody, to learn how to read and write. For a while during "The Wee Free Men", however, Tiffany was the clan's temporary Kelda - as a result, they have never forgotten her and still try to protect her. It also means that Jeannie doesn't like or trust the young hag at all.

As the book opens, Tiffany is leaving the Chalk for a spell (boom boom !). She's been apprenticed to Miss Level, a very peculiar research witch but clearly with some talent. (Miss Level's cottage is also home to Oswald, a kind of anti-poltergeist : instead of messing things up, he's obsessively tidy). Tiffany travels to Miss Level's with Miss Tick : unknown to either of then, however, they are being followed by a hiver. This is a type of demon without a body, brain or shape of its own. Instead, they search for and take refuge in bodies of great power - and this particular hiver has targeted Tiffany. Tiffany has inadvertently learnt how to 'borrow', a trick which leaves her own body unattended. Unfortunately, this will makes things easier for the hiver to take up residence. Luckily, the Wee Free Men want to follow and protect her - if they can convince their new Kelda it's a good idea.

Like everything else I've read by Pratchett, this is an excellent book. It's easily read, features plenty of likeable characters and there are plenty of laughs. Although I would recommend reading "The Wee Free Men" before this instalment "A Hat Full of Sky" is definitely recommended !
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
dani meehan
"Equal Rites' was one of the earliest of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, and introduced a major character, the witch Granny Weatherwax, to that ever-growing world of wonders that travels through space on the back of a humongous tortoise. Like everything that Mr. Pratchett writes, it is fun, fast-reading, and thoroughly enjoyable. It relates the tale of Eskarina, an eight year old girl who through a twist of fate has been destined to become a wizard - thoroughly shaking up all the traditional wisdom and assumptions of Discworld magic, where everyone knows that only men can be wizards, just as only women can be witches. She is mentored by the local witch, Granny Weatherwax, who does all she can to try to redirect the girl into witchcraft, the only proper and sensible magic for a woman. Granny soon comes to terms with the inevitability of Esk's fate, however, and accompanies her on a journey to the great Unseen University, training institution of wizards and exclusive bastion of masculinity, where she hopes to break untold generations of tradition by gaining entrance for her ward.
Pratchett's Discworld novels started out as light hearted, clever parodies both of the conventions and clichés of fantasy novels, and of conventions and assumptions of Western culture in general. As his world developed, his philosophical skewering of real world situations grew sharper while parody took on at best a secondary, background role. In this early novel, it feels like he was beginning to shift into greater social commentary, but slipped gears in the attempt. Although the story is rapped around the issue of male and female roles, he really muddles whatever he was trying to say, perhaps not yet fully comfortable with mixing sharp social satire into a light fantasy setting. The result is neither fish nor fowl, and though still fun to read, lacks the element of greatness that sets most of Pratchett's Discworld novel so far above the normal book of fantasy.
Had this book been written by anyone else but Pratchett, I probably would have given it a four star review, but Pratchett has set a higher standard, and I judge him by it. If you have not yet been introduced to the world of Discworld, this book is not the place to start, although once you have picked up the addiction, you will probably come around to it eventually.

Theo Logos
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rayna so
First things first - do not let the "young adult" tag on this product dissuade you from diving in.

Now, as to the book itself, we find ourselves, as usual with Mr. Pratchett, on Discworld, the magical flat world sitting on the back of four elephants, all of whom are borne on the back of a great turtle, who soars through space. Yet we aren't dealing with such majestic themes and images here. We concentrate our tale upon a slight little girl, one Tiffany Aching. She is coming into young womanhood, which is trying enough, but certainly more trying when one is a novice witch, even one as powerful as Tiffany. Maybe even more so because of it.

Tiffany, you see, is trying to learn the ropes of witchdom, which means she apprentices herself to various witches to learn the ins and outs of the life. This she does, even though it means she has to leave her homeland (there are no more witches where she lives on the Chalk). So, leave she does and she starts to learn.

But somewhere along the way she attracts the attention of a being as old as the universe and as powerful. And this being wants. What it wants, it comes to realize, is little Tiffany Aching.

But Tiffany, in addition to being a powerful, if somewhat untried and novice, witch also has additional protectors. The Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! The person who first said that big things come in small packages was almost certainly describing the Feegles. The Pictsies (as they are wont to be called) protect Tiffany from, well, everything. They think she belongs to them and they're not really keen on thieves, unless it's them doing the thieving. And drinking. Oh, and don't forget the fighting. If they can do that in service to their witch (their "hag" as they call them) then all the better!

Pratchett has woven another magical, haunting, hysterical, tragic tale of the little things of being - life, death, power, duty, and maybe justice.

Or maybe we are dealing with majestic themes, after all. With liberally sprinkled episodes of thievery, fighting, cussing, and boozing, which the Feegles will tell you makes up almost the entirety of being. One can only love a creation like the Feegles, although I would advise a distant and general kind of love. Up close affection from a Feegle generally involves a headbutt.

A brilliant series and one I'm looking forward to completing, if, as reported, the next book after Wintersmith is the finale.

Bravo Mr. Pratchett!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Terry Pratchett's first novel, "The Carpet People", appeared in 1971. "Equal Rites" is the third novel in Terry Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series and was first published in 1987. He won the 2001 Carnegie Medal for "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" and was awarded the OBE in 1998.

The book starts with an ending - Drum Billets', specifically. Drum was a wizard and, as a result, knows exactly when he is going to die. (It's one of the perks of the job : wizards are also delivered into the next life by Death himself, rather than one of his more minor demons). Shortly before he is due to die, Drum visits Bad Ass to 'pass on' his wizarding skill to the eighth son of an eighth son - the wife of the local smith has just given birth when he arrives. (Bad Ass, for the record, is a village on the Ramtop Mountains in the small kingdom of Lancre). Unfortunately, he fails to check the gender of the new arrival and has exited-stage-left before finding out he has, in fact, just passed on his skills and his near indestructible staff to the first daughter of an eighth son instead.

The midwife, Granny Weatherwax, is also the village's resident witch - a fine and noble profession on the Discworld. (Unlike wizards, witches don't have leaders, and Granny Weatherwax is widely considered to be the greatest leader the Discworld's witches don't have). She also believes that there can't be a female wizard any more than there could be a male witch - partly due, she says, to the differences between how male and female brains work. Witches' magic is based on headology, while wizards' magic is based on jommetry. (That sort of spelling doesn't appear to be Granny's strong point). Furthermore, if Esk (as the smith has named his daughter) wanted to become a wizard, she'd have to study at Ankh-Morpork's Unseen University - which, like a very old-fashioned golf club, has never admitted a female. Hoping the wizard's magic won't find Esk, but realising it might, Granny Weatherwax decides to watch over her and possibly train her as a witch instead.

This is the first of the Discworld series to feature Granny Weatherwax. As a result, it's a pretty good starting point if you've never read any of the other Discworld books and want to see what you're missing. Pratchett's books are always very funny, and this one gets funnier as it goes along. Definitely recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jean cripps
Esk is the eighth child of an eighth son. An aging wizard (more precisely, his staff) finds Esk during her birth, and believing that she will be a he, transfers possession of his magic and staff to her at birth. The problem is that on Discworld, it is accepted as fact that females cannot be wizards. They take the feminine path of magic, becoming witches. Esk is taken under the tutelage of Granny Weatherwax, a witch in a remote mountainous region, who works hard to mold Esk into (just) a witch. Esk has her own opinions about that (as does her staff), however, and it seems a wizard she must become. So off they go to Ankh-Morpork and the Unseen University. At the University, the wizards insist that a little girl cannot become a wizard, and refuse to admit her. Once again, Esk has her own opinions about that. Esk has her own opinions about just about everything, as does Granny, and Pratchett makes this characteristic memorable and very endearing.

Granny and Esk are two female characters as distinct, strong, independent, and hilarious any I've read. While Equal Rites does not have the outright, page-after-page hilarity that permeated the preceding book, The Light Fantastic, Granny and Esk make it equally enjoyable to read.

My only disappointment with Equal Rites is a too quick ending. We are left wanting to learn more about Esk and her future; various Discworld resources suggest we are not given the chance (yet, anyway). Even so, this is a fantastic book, and earns my highest recommendation. It could be read out of order in the Discworld series, being connected only in a loose way to the 1st two books. But as it is only the 3rd of the series, and these books are relatively short (~200 pages each), I recommend reading The Color of Magic (book 1) and The Light Fantastic (book 2) prior to Equal Rites. Equal Rites is important in the series in much better defining Discworld magic. Granny and two other witches (but not Esk) continue the "Witches series" within the Discworld series of books with the excellent Wyrd Sisters.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Eskarina Smith is the eighth child of an eighth son. If the child had been a son, it's nearly inevitable that a wizard would have been the result. Nearly everything was prepared. A wizard came to witness the birth. He passed his staff on to the newborn child, immediately taken by DEATH, as is fitting. But, as with everything else on the Discworld, there's a hitch. Eskarina's a girl, and everyone knows, girls can't be wizards. As she grows older, however, certain Powers begin to manifest themselves, leading Eskarina on a wholly unanticipated series of adventures. Like attending the wizards' school, the Unseen University.
This third Discworld novel takes us to the other aspect of that strange place's magic environment, the feminine side. PTerry introduces us to someone who will later loom large in the Discworld pantheon, Esme Weatherwax. Granny Weatherwax is the resident witch of Bad Ass and takes up the task of teaching Eskarina the role of how witching works through the use of headology. Granny's not a charlatan, but she knows the value of belief and spurns the cheap tricksterism so often manifest by the wizards. Eskarina's powers are too apparent for either of them to control effectively and Granny's forced to send Eskarina to the only place where that control can be learned. By various and adventure-filled paths, Eskarina arrives at the University, thrust almost inadvertently into a bizarre new world.
Esk's outspoken claim to "want to be a wizard" brings on the confrontation between tradition and The Century of the Fruitbat. Times certainly are a-changin' but for Esk they only become worse for some time. She's given into the care of the University's housekeeper, Mrs Whitlow, and quickly becomes a figure out of Dickens. Sweeping floors isn't what she had in mind, even if she can direct the broom to do the work while she sits in a corner pondering life's injustices. Yet her powers develop, to the point where she's forced to confront the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions, the greatest threat the Discworld faces. It's an even match.
Pratchett's characterizations are always more valuable than any of his story lines, and this early work is no exception. Eskarina's a forceful girl with modern views, even if she's writ a bit young for the role. Although this book ends a bit weakly, the story's message is valid and needs expressing. As always, Pratchett attests that the Discworld is a "mirror of worlds", especially ours. Eskarina's plight is too common for PTerry to ignore and he presents it clearly and honestly. That he can add his sparkling wit in conveying his ideas is a added blessing for us. Put this next to Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic with assurance that you will pick it up again. His works never age, but remain a joyful read for years to come.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is the second book in the Tiffany Aching series (after The Wee Free Men and before at least a couple more with the tentative titles of Wintersmith and When I Am Old I Shall Wear Midnight).

Tiffany is now eleven, two years have passed since the events of The Wee Free Men and the incident with the Fairy Queen. She's learnt a few tricks since then, like the ability to step out of her own body, which is actually very handy when your only mirror is too small and you want to check if your hair is well combed at the back of your head. Although she likes wearing that invisible hat Mistress Weatherwax gave her.

Now Miss Tick the witch is bringing her to the mountains, to Miss Level's cottage to be more precise, an old witch with two bodies, where she shall begin her apprenticeship.

Her news friends, the other witches' apprentices, and especially Annagramma Hawkin, mock her because she's only good at sheep and cheese, and Miss Level only helps old people or acts as a midwife and she's not even doing proper magic, and of course Tiffany's not even wearing proper witch clothes with stars and sequins, let alone a real witch hat. In the end, Tiffany's apprenticeship turns out to be not exactly what she expected, but much, much more.

And all that time, the little blue fairy men, the Nac Mac Feegle, are watching over her. And what they find out is that an evil spirit, a Hiver, is pursuing Tiffany, waiting to take up her body the next time she steps out of it. Rob Anybody and his mates set out to help her.

I really really love the Tiffany Aching books. In them, and probably because they're aimed at a younger audience, Terry Pratchett manages to philosophize in a much more accessible and discreet manner than in his lastest (adult) Discworld books (like Thief of Time). The values he teaches here, through the relationship between people, or between people and the land, are very noble ones, and they're seemlessly sewn into a storyline that is in itself very captivating, and of course very funny. I really really love the Tiffany Aching books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
uma shankari
Beginning after the events of "The Wee Free Men", "A Hat Full of Sky" centers on Tiffany Aching, and her efforts to properly learn witching. The event's occur within the DiscWorld. The Nac Mac Feegles' once again make their presence felt, in the purportining of various items & general odour.. and are absolutely brilliant. Tiffany herself is a more lacklustre, whilst Death briefly manifests.

So the first half of the book moves along joyfully, with Tiffany leaving the Chalk and apprenticing to a witch who is about double what she seems. The antics of the Nac Mac Feegle got spurts of laughter from me, most notably the scene wherein many little men make one large... thing.

They follow Tiffany in order to protect her from a creature which they know to be unbeatable, after an initical hiccup with their new Kelda who is Rob Anybody new wife.

The method of travel is colourful and beguiles away a good few chapters, with usual TP wit and verve.

When it comes to the battle, the NMC are shunted aside to focus further on Tiffany, which is unfortunate as I found her transformation into a narcissitic pre-teen whilst possibly true to life, not at all entertaining.

The book also has too many half endings, before actually concluding, & Granny Weatherwax figuring in the preceedings at some point.

It was with some disappointment that I concluded the book & realised that I had not enjoyed it as much as anticipated. It would seem this book has been more written for the pre-teens than the previous, and not at all necessarily. Here goes a family anecdote: My siblings practically started reading on TP's books, first with Carpet People & Truckers & Diggers, & then onto the more DiscWorld when they were still 10-14. I do believe he is the only reason they are semi-literate today...

Summation: Naturally it was enjoyable, with the authorship of TP, but not as much as even Maurice and His Amazing Educated Rodents, which was also a book for young readers. Loved the first half, impatiently read through the last.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is the continued story of Tiffany Aching, precocious child and aspiring witch, and follows her from the Chalk of her home to the Ramtops, where she is apprenticed to Miss Level. Not that witches have apprentices, you understand. Tiffany discovers that learning to be a witch can be an awfully mundane business, long on chores and caring for those too careless or to foolish to care for themselves. And short on magic. Unhappily, something else follows her from the Chalk: a Hiver, a bodiless and evil power that takes over - and quickly destroys - minds that have strong magic. Tiffany is in mortal danger, and she doesn't even know it.
The Nac Mac Feegle know of the danger, but they are far away, and the new Kelda, Jeannie, is a little jealous of Tiffany anyway. Miss Level only knows that there is danger and that something is wrong. It may take the greatest witch of them all, the formidable Mistress - not "Miss" - Esme Weatherwax - to save the day. Or it may take even more: Tiffany Aching may have to rise above even the levels in "Wee Free Men" to save the day - and herself.
As in every Pratchett book, there is wonderful humor, with the Nac Mac Feegle providing most of the comic relief. The scenes in the stagecoach ride, for example, with the Wee Free Men trying to impersonate a man by filling out a scarecrow, may be the funniest sustained bit Pratchett has done in years. But the humor is the sugarcoating for some very serious messages about growing up.
This is Pratchett at his very best. Yes, it's a children's book, in the sense that the language is toned down a bit, and there's a little less violence, but like the very best children's literature, this is a book an adult can read with pleasure and delight. This is a book with messages and meanings for adults, too. And Pratchett's writing, his skill in crafting a sentence, isn't one bit less sophisticated than in his other books.
Read for pleasure or read for deeper meaning, this is an outstanding book. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
elizabeth gage
Equal Rites is the 3rd in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. This is a series I find myself reading in order despite the fact numerous people claim there's little reason to do such. Equal Rites, in itself, is a good enough supporting step in the Discworld staircase, but fails to live up to the potential brought about by the first book. While also somewhat below the second offering in the series, The Light Fantastic, it still garners 3 stars because it's an entertaining book which, overall, I enjoyed reading. But it wasn't a book I devoured in 3 days. This one took me 4.

This book suffers from a decided lack of action which the first 2 books had plenty of. Not action such as dragon slaying and other stock fantasy developments, but action in terms of plot development & movement. The burden here is that the book takes too long to get going. At times, it seems as if Pratchett is trying to write an actual fantasy story, an endeavor altogether not worth the time given his skill at humor. After a slow start, however, the book moves along well enough to keep the reader entertained.

I also missed Rincewind and the Luggage, 2 solid characters from the first 2 books. In this one, we see the introduction of Granny Weatherwax, an apparently recurring character through the realm of the series. She travels with Esk, the 8th daughter of an 8th son, to Ankh-Morpork and Unseen University to correct the confusion that comes about when she was thought to be the 8th son of an 8th son, who is always a Wizard. Granny is a witch in the standard sense, which is probably why some parts of the book might come off as actual fantasy. But I assure you this is not the case.

All in all, not great but still widely good enough to keep me reading the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chinmay narayan
Pratchett seems to love the character dynamic between the Curmudgeon and the Innocent, when both are working together towards the same goals. He used this to great effect with Rincewind and Twoflower in the first two books of his Discworld series, and it pops up again here.
Granny Weatherwax (the curmudgeon) is a witch. She is charged with steering 8-year old Esk towards wizardry. Only Esk is a girl, and as we all know, girls can't be wizards. She was supposed to be the eighth son of an eighth son, but somebody messed up the paperwork. It is this conflict that is central to the book. Pratchett does a nice job lampooning the (perceived) differences between men and women (i.e., practical vs. intuitive knowledge; book study vs. study of nature, etc.) that exist in our world, transporting them to his own imagined landscape. That's to be expected from a book punnishly titled "Equal Rites". On top of that, we get a cunning parody of institutes of higher learning. Unseen University (where boys go to become wizards) and its hierarchy of learned scholars knocks the stuffing out of scholastic life.
All the Pratchett devices are back for another run through the ringer. Along with the above mentioned character types, we also have some silly humour (a group of marzipan ducks magically anthropomorphize, only to melt when they take to the river; "that's natural selection for you," comments the cheeky narrator). And another inanimate object without a face inexplicably manages to make facial expressions. Twoflower's Luggage has an heir apparent in Esk's magic staff. Some comments I've read state that Pratchett relies too heavily on these devices in later books. Well, it's only three books into the series, and I still find them fresh and interesting. Time will tell, though.
While not as laugh-out-loud funny as its predecessors, "Equal Rites" moves along its narrative with much more force. Which still makes it an entertaining read. Still, here's hoping that Pratchett managed to combine the two in equal proportions as the series went along.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
This an early, shorter Discworld novel (number 3), but it is notably better than Sourcery (number 5), which has a similar plot. As a baby, young Eskarina, the 8th "son" of an 8th son, is given a staff and power by a dying wizard who discovers, too late, that she is actually a daughter. Granny Weatherwax takes the girl under her wing as an apprentice witch, but it eventually becomes clear that young Eskarina must learn wizardry to control her powers. Granny's scenes are the best parts of this book: she seems to be Pratchett's earliest, best-developed, and favorite witch. Eskarina's dialogs with adults she meets along the journey are very funny, but we don't get to see her character develop very well. Pratchett's puns are in fine form in this book. The story's point, which seems to be about the separate-but-equal nature of witch and wizard magic, becomes confused and diluted; the sexist wizards, who are openly contemptuous of the idea of a female wizard, are never really shown up, and although Granny muses repeatedly about her distaste for wizard magic, she eventually winds up in a wizard's duel with Archchancellor Cutangle of Unseen University in which she matches him spell-for-spell. Is a witch really a wizard with extra psychic powers and practical skills in herbalism, "headology," and the good sense to know when to use psychology instead of magic? In that case, it is the wizards that are the simplistic, sexist stereotype, and I fail to see the value in fighting sexist stereotypes with different sexist stereotypes. As happens with frustrating frequency in Pratchett's novels, the ending becomes somewhat muddled: Eskarina is largely ignored in favor of scenes between Granny and Cutangle, and as the book winds up, she has yet to learn to read her first wizard spell, and a potentially interesting character, the powerful young wizard, Simon, is somewhat wasted as the story ends, like Sourcery, in a random spectacle of excess magic.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Terry Pratchett once again takes readers on a romp through Discworld, however, in a departure from style, Pratchett chooses to make this book much more serius than his past two books. Although his writing style has changed, it continues to improve in the way he is able to describe things with not only increadible detail and realism, but also to make the reader laugh, chuckle, chortle, or whatever other reaction the reader has to a good joke.

This book leaves the characters of Rincewind and Twoflower and opens with a wizard giving his power to the eigth son of an eigth son. Because he is in a hurry, however, and because the father is convinced the child is going to be a boy, they don't discover that the son is actually a daughter until after the transferance of power ritual is completed. The girl, named Eskarina (Esk for short) is raised normally until the age of eight, when a family friend, the witch Esmerelda ("granny") Weatherwax, offers to raise the child and help her with her gift, which had recently manifested itself after an incident between Esk and her brothers. From there, Esk begins to question the way of things, that all wizards are men and all witches are women, and decides that she is going to be the first female wizard. Thus begins their journey to the city of Ankh-Morpork to take Esk to the Unseen University, the center of magic on Discworld.

I suggest you read the first two Discworld books first, however it's not necessary: This book contains almost no references to the first book. It's also a short read, so pull up a chair, get something to eat, and hold on to your hat (and broomstick) as Terry Pratchett takes us once again to the beautiful, waterfall encircled world of Discworld.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
s awek karwasz
Terry Pratchett's Discworld does for Fantasy what Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy did for science fiction--firmly sets a story within a genre, stereotypes intact, then goes to town. This third instrallment is only loosely connected to the previous two, in that it features many of the same settings and a few minor characters, but you could easily read it on its own. I'm reading through the series in order because that's how I'm wired, but you don't need to.

A wizard is born the eighth son of an eighth son, and such a birth is at hand as a wizard nearing his end travels to the mountain village of Bad Ass to hand over his staff to the newborn lad. Only too late do they realize that he has just ordained the Disc's first ever female wizard.....

This was good. I preferred the first two DW novels to this one, but I'm seeing in the other reviews that the opposite view is just as popular, so take that how you will.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
annemarie o brien
I don't know how this series escaped me, but I'd never picked up one of Terry Pratchett's Diskworld novels before...but while on vacation, and desperate in an airport for something to read, I picked up the Legends 3 anthology of short novels (only because it had an Earthsea novella, Dragonfly, by Ursula K. Le Guin), which happened to contain a Diskworld story. I read it because it was there, and because United had delayed take-off by three hours...Serendipity!
Pratchett's Diskworld, for those of you unfamiliar with the series, is quite flat...borne on the backs of four giant elephants, which in turn are supported by a galactic-sized turtle flying through the cosmos...is home to wizards, witches, dragons, zombies, demons, trolls, knights, dwarves, all the usual suspects of worldwide, multi-traditional heroic fantasy. But Pratchett deftly skewers the endless, tedious cliches of the genre and of Western society in general. He's sarcastic, sophomoric, filled with bad puns, and actually pretty darned funny. Maybe it's the British upbringing...There are different sub-series which follow the exploits of different main characters. Equal Rites is as good a place as any to start reading the Discworld books. It deals with the occasionally-unpleasant but totally-admirable witch, Granny Weatherwax, and the trials, tribulations and growing-pains of the first female born with wizardly powers instead of witchly ones...I also gobbled Lords and Ladies, a sort of twisted take on the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which the elves are not, uh, well, not nice...
Discworld has something for everyone, as long as you're a fan of some SF genre or other...Pratchett turns every cliché on its head, warps every hoary plot to his own ends. And I thank him for it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marv s council
Drum Billett, an elderly wizard, is dying, and is waiting to pass on his magical staff to the newborn eighth son of an eight son before he expires. Unfortunately, the eighth son turns out to be a daughter, but Drum Billett finds this out too late, he's already given her the staff. Eskarina grows up showing signs of having strong magical powers, so her perplexed parents apprentice her to the witch Granny Weatherwax (making her first apperance in the saga). Granny becomes convinced that Esk really does have wizard powers, so they set off on the long journey to Ankh-Morpork to try and convince the wizards of Unseen University that Esk is fit to be a wizard. Nobody at Unseen University has any time for Esk, except a young apprentice wizard called Simon. It seems there are sinister forces at work in the university, and only Esk and Simon can stop them. Granny Weatherwax is a less complex character in this book than she later becomes, but still formidable. The magical battle between Granny and Cutangle, the chancellor of the University, is one of the highlights of the book. One thing about this story ahs always puzzled me though. At the end of the book, Cutanlge decides that Esk can be admitted to the University, and he is considering admitting more female students. He even suggest an exchange programme with Granny Weatherwax (with whom he seems rather smitten). But in subsequent Discworld novels, the charming Esk has vanished without trace, and Unseen University is as much a male bastion as ever. I wonder why? This was the first Discworld novel I ever read, and it is still one of my favourites.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Terry Pratchett has become one of the most popular authors alive today and his popularity is richly deserved. But not even with his fertile mind could he ever have envisaged the heights to which his Discworld series would rise. This book first published in 1987 is the third of the Discworld novels and the author is really getting into his stride in the series that broke all records and continues to do so with new books being regularly published.

Pratchett's wit and imagination are second to none. Who else would have or could have thought of the Discworld, a world of mystery and magic sitting on the back of four elephants, who in turn are standing on the back of the great turtle A'tuin the whole lot journeying through an eternal void. Are you with the plot so far?

Wizard's have the uncanny knack of being able to predict their own death, or so thinks Drum Billet. Having seen his own demise rapidly approaching he sets out to pass his power and his staff on to his predicted successor, who as tradition would have it, has to be the eighth son of an eight son. The only problem with this is that the eighth son just happens to be a daughter and whoever heard of a woman becoming a wizard. But it's too late Drum Billet has gone to wherever dead wizards go and Eskarina has inherited a wizard's staff and is under the doubtful tutelage of Granny Weatherwax, who reckons this being a wizard is as easy as falling off a broomstick . . .
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leslie c
It's two years after the first book in the trilogy, Tiffany is now eleven, and she's looking forward to going off to "witch school." Unlike the formal institution of Hogwart's, however, witch-training in the real world (on the Discworld, that is) really means an apprenticeship to an older witch. Tiffany's mentor is Miss Level, an ex-circus performer, whose idea of witchcraft seems to consist mostly of looking after everyone in the neighborhood who needs assistance. As Tiffany discovers (and as the author has pointed out in his other books), the main thing about learning magic is learning NOT to use it. This time, Tiffany is being stalked by an ancient, parasitic non-intelligence that can't be killed, but which is guaranteed to send its hosts insane. The Nac Mac Feegle are back, of course, and their special skills are essential to Tiffany's eventual success. Granny Weatherwax, who appeared only in a cameo in the first volume, is a much more important figure in Tiffany's gradual education, and the view we get of her is much more nuanced -- and much stronger -- than in the author's other "witches" novels. Pratchett's style has become far more mature and more subtle than his early work thirty years ago, which some of his fans don't appear to be able to accept, but I like his more recent work even more than the earlier stuff. A beautiful book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nancy hill
[For context's sake, I have been reading the Discworld books in publication order, though I'd read this subseries before any of the rest of the books. A Hat Full of Sky is #32. This review comes from my rereading.]

I very much enjoyed A Hat Full of Sky, though I don't think I enjoyed it quite as much the second time around. Compared to some of its Pratchett contemporaries it wasn't quite as snappy or ground-breaking, but as a novel more geared toward the young adult audience, it wasn't really meant to. Even with the lighter touch there is some intriguing commentary on human psychology and more insight into the society of witches on Discworld.

As a next step for Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegle, the book had some great character development. I especially enjoyed Rob Anybody's role, and his loyalties divided between his big wee hag and his kelda wife.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nick wiens
On the reccommendation of a friend I started reading the Discworld series. I thought that although the first two books in the series - The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic - had moments of brilliance, they also had parts to them which I found quite boring, leaving me slightly dissappointed. However, I thought that Equal Rites was AMAZING! it has all the brilliance from the first two books without any of the boring bits! I genuinly loved it and am now proud to say that I am a discworld fan. I liked this so much that I immediatly ordered the fourth book upon finishing it.

A wizard dies at the start of the novel and intends to leave his magic to the eighth son of an eigth son. However Death arrived to take him and so he passes on his powers before the midwife - Granny Weatherwax, a brilliant charcater who we are first introduced to in the book - has time to explain that the baby if in fact a girl. Therefore creating Esk, the discworlds first female wizard.

When Esk is 8 years old she starts becoming magical, and so Granny takes her under her wing (figurativly speaking) and teaches her the ways of witchcraft and eventually agrees to take her to the Unseen University so that she can become a wizard.

Hillarious and brillant, I would deffinatly reccommend this book to discworld fans.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amanda blanda
Increasingly, I respect Terry Pratchett's genius. "Equal Rites", as his other work, reads effortlessly. The plot moves swiftly, with interesting angles (if not twists), and the bizarreness of Discworld is completely logical to fickle human beings.
Dying wizard Drum Billet eagerly passes his magic staff on to a newborn wizard - the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately, in his rush, he failed to notice the child was a girl. Unwittingly, Billet is responsible for the first ever female Wizard in Discworld.
All, including Granny Weatherwax (a witch) try to ignore the event, but neither the magic staff nor little girl Esk will let them.
Esk grows up amidst her brothers, but when she's nearly nine, a frightening incident involving Granny opens the flood gates to her magic abilities. Granny decides it is time to teach Esk to become a witch, in the hope that her wizardness can be squashed.
Of course, this proves impossible, and soon Granny and Esk need to embark on a journey to the Unseen University of Wizards. Esk finds that the chauvinistic wizards are unwilling to entertain the notion of a female wizard. But a nine-year old little girl and a cranky granny can be more than a determined handful ...
The character of Granny reappears in later Discworld books and she is an absolute delight: a stubborn witch with more that the average share of common sense - well, mostly anyway.
The genius of Pratchett is that you don't even notice how quickly you are willing to accept Discworld and its characters. Before you know it, this little cocoon of enchanting surreality is over.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
glenda carlson
It's sometimes said in theatre that it takes a talented comic to play a tragic role successfully--and that the reverse is not true. Pratchett has the born comedian's deep and loving understanding of the tragedy of the human condition, and it is his gift to us to make us laugh instead of weep...
Tiffany Aching, unquenchable heroine of "The Wee Free Men," faces new challenges as she leaves her beloved home on the Chalk Downs to begin her training as a witch. New faces, new landscapes, the half-scary company of girls her own age, and a very ancient quasi-evil thing, pursuing her for her powers inborn...
No one does it like Mr. Pratchett--this blend of irreverent humor and resonant, edge-of-myth magic. The puns are inexcrably bad (when the Wee Free Men try to impersonate a human being, animating a scarecrow, the one in the head complains, "I talk to my knees, but they don't listen to me."), and the magic is undescribingly profound--Tiffany, as did her grandmother before her, seems to embody the very essence of the land she loves. Impossible to do every moment of one's waking life, of course, and Tiffany has to learn the value of not-quite-lies, half-truths, and stories. Granny Weatherwax, witch extraordinaire and my absolute favorite Pratchett character, plays a much stronger part in this story than in "Wee Free Men," mixing her pride, her practical psychology, and the most intricate of magics. It's a wonderful, wonder-full story, and I can't wait to read more of Tiffany as she grows.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This novel started out as a five-star novel, but lost a little steam along the way. A wizard near death seeks the eighth son of an eighth son to pass on his staff to an heir. Things go awry when the child is a daughter, but the baby's hand has already been placed on the staff before the error is discovered. The staff has a mind of its own, and will care for and protect its companion. The village witch, Granny Weatherwax, thinks the girl, Eskarina should become a witch. Girls just don't become wizards (as a former EEO Officer, I am familiar with the attitudes). But the girl has uncontrolled magic, and Granny thinks she needs to go to the Wizards' Unseen University for proper training.

There is an eventful trip down the river, and some interesting things happen. At the university there is a problem (attitudes again), but there is more than one door to enter. Esk must some way prove her abilities.

At this point the novel departs into the magic of Discworld, and I found myself skimming some parts. There are long explanations about the nature of magic, and the different categories of people involved. And there are the creatures that exist in a different dimension, wanting to gain entrance. Naturally the good people must win in the end, but I found the ending a bit strange.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Equal Rites introduces Granny Weatherwax, one of the most powerful characters of Discworld. In the process, it discusses the mechanics of witchcraft and wizardry on the Disc and the consequences of allowing a wizard to reincarnate as an apple tree.

On the downside: Although Terry Pratchett is moving closer to the deftness demonstrated in later Discworld books, he's not there yet. The story feels either a little forced, or enormously choked. That is, either he was still struggling with the milieu or he had so many ideas that he was struggling with which ones to use in this book. I like to believe the later.

To its credit, it lays out the character of Granny Weatherwax. The utter pragmatism of Granny Weatherwax with the extremely rare drop of sentimentality is her charm.

In the middle, both a pro and a con is the detail of the mechanics of the wizards and witches of the Disc. This gives context for later stories, is engaging on its own, but might not appeal to some readers.

As always, Pratchett entertains and lampoons. Gender relations and the Mars/Venus attitudes towards the world are poked at, along with averice and the more discrete services provided by witches. In all, a great effort that indicates the potential for greatness achieved later in the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I truly believe that these books, the Tiffany Aching saga, are Terry Pratchett's best Discworld books. In fact, you don't really need to know anything about Discworld in order to enjoy these books. The Feegles, or Wee Free Men, that we met in Book 1 are back in Book 2, causing mayhem, misdirection, and the occasional questionable humor. I believe the humorous and serious notes of this book are even better balanced than Book 1, The Wee Free Men. Tiffany is 11 in this book, and her grandmother has been dead and buried for some years, yet she still has a strong presence in Tiffany's mind. Mistress Weatherwax, who showed up at the end of Book 1, has a much greater role in Book 2, and there is even bonding over pickles and voles. Indeed, Tiffany has a lot to learn and this adventure takes her up against the wall to find out how strong she is.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jennifer medina
As fond of Terry Pratchett's work as I am, I hadn't expected to find so many profound truths in what was billed as a book for young people. But of course, as is so often the case with books for the youth (and which is easy to forget, as we get caught up in the Big World), it's the simple things that teach the best; the ones with the extraneous bits removed, becoming the essence of the thing itself (which would otherwise be a little bit hard to see without the right perspective.) A Hat Full Of Sky is like that, making profound observations about what it is to truly be a witch and the nature of magick (hint: it's not so much about toys and props, and more about helping people and telling the right story at the right time.). It's also about how a person learns to know themselves and their true name; to take responsibility for their own choices; to accept help and to learn true humility and discretion; and about the meaning of home. In a world filled with e books, I may need to get this one in a tangible form, to take out onto the land and read again while wearing my own hat full of sky. Highly recommended for witches, shepherds, and youths of all ages.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
zachary underhill
There are three ways to look at "Equal Rites". First we view it as a farce, just like Pratchett's first two Discworld novels. Second, we can view it as an honest story about a girl's coming of age. Thirdly, we can view it as a sophisticated parody of fantasy conventions. But any way you slice it, "Rites" works pretty well. This is the start of Pratchett's rise from screwball comedy to literary greatness.
His talent shines forth in the careful blending of the three different approaches to telling the story. There will be long patches of apparently serious prose, during which we see the interaction between the little girl Esk and Granny Weatherwax. Then, right when you least expect it, Pratchett gets you with a killer punchline. I think that my favorite moment is when Granny Weatherwax launches a diatribe against the wizard's staff that symbolically divides her from her pupil, after which the omnipresent narrator comments: "The staff regarded her woodenly." He he. Is it any wonder this guy is the second best-selling author in British history? Also of note is Pratchett's clever word choices and bizarre imagery. In one scene in the library where the books escape, the narrator notes "a flock of thesauruses" flying past.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tiffany debarr
We purchased the CD version of this book on our cross-country journey this summer. Our daughter, aged six, picked the CD out based on the description on the back of the CD cover. Neither my wife or I had heard of the author or series before.

We were very happy to discover that this is a wonderful and delightful tale! It is one of the rare children's books that both adults and children can enjoy. There were many times when all of us were laughing at the same time. Mr. Pratchett's sense of humour is, to say the least, unique.

The tale is told independently of the first book in this series. You are told enough background information to know what is going on and at no point do you feel like you should have read the first book.

As to the plot, it is full of blue little men with red hair, witches and a nasty creature that takes over the heroine. Everything is settled in the end and the world goes on.

As a final testment to the book: our daughter demanded that we listen to the book on the return journey and neither my wife nor I complained.

PS My daughter wants you to know that she thinks the book rates a "100 percent."
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
karina dacasin
The idea of an eighth son of an eighth son being magical has been around for a while, but what if that eigth son is given special magical powers by a dying wizard, then turns out to be a girl? Yep, 'tis a problem as on the Disc girls are witches and boys become wizards--and never the twain shall meet, until this fateful day in Lancre.

This was a fun first visit to Lancre as we see Granny Weatherwax, premier witch thereabouts. Other witches seen in later books aren't here yet, but Granny more than fills the need for witches by herself. I can only imagine what meeting Granny would actually be like--she is so straight forward and has a no nonsense attitude. Plus, witching is mainly about knowing things others don't and not so much about flashy magic.

Additionally we get more clues into the, shall I say special?, properties of the Disc. Its magical field has all sorts of effects, besides being the Disc's version of Earth's magnetic field.

"It has already been revealed that light on the Discworld travels slowly, the result of its passage through the Disc's vast and ancient magical field.

"So dawn isn't the sudden affair that it is on other worlds. The new day doesn't erupt, it sort of sloshes gentlyl across the sleeping landscape in the same way that the tide sneaks in across the beach, melting the sandcastles of the night. It tends to flow around mountains. If the trees are close together it comes out of woods cut to ribbons and sliced with shadows."

I did especially enjoy the book, with no especial prior background knowledge of the Disc needed, but I was slightly disappointed that so far as I've seen the characters herein haven't been seen again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
oran de baritault
Equal Rites is one of my favorite Discworld novels, and it was a pleasure to rediscover it as part of my Discworld challenge. The story concerns Eskarina Smith, or Esk, as she is more commonly known. Esk was supposed to be the eighth son of an eighth son, but as anyone who has children knows, the sex isn't necessarily a given until the delivery is officially over. Unfortunately, a dying wizard who wished to bequeath his knowledge to a successor didn't take the take to verify Esk's identity before making the transfer. This of course results in all kinds of trouble as everyone knows that women aren't supposed to be wizards; or at least that is what everyone who is a wizard knows.

Esk is a delightful character. I keep hoping that she will make an appearance in another Discworld novel, but as of yet her story remains unfinished. The writing in Equal Rites is more polished than it's predecessors. It seems as though Pratchett hit his stride in this, the third Discworld novel. If you haven't read any Discworld novels, or even if you have read some of Terry's later stuff, you can't go wrong with this one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
As I've said in the past, I'm a pretty big fan of Pratchett's work ever since I read `Good Omens' years back. I've always wondered what a female wizard would be like & now I get to see exactly that.

The plot follows Esk, a girl who becomes a wizard- something that is unthinkable to just about everyone she comes across. When Esk starts showing more promise, everyone keeps trying to raise her in more traditional roles. Esk tries her hand as a witch (with the help of Granny Weatherwax), but in the end only one thing is clear- Esk is a wizard & sometimes there is no changing what is simply in one's nature.

I really did like this book, although I will admit that it's not entirely one of my favorites. When the book is really rocking along, it's awesome. It's just that there were one or two parts that just slogged along a little. The good thing is that with Pratchett, even when he's not at his absolute best, he's still pretty darn good. This isn't one of the books that I'll read & re-read over & over again like `The Truth', but I would like to see more of the characters.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gillian bronte adams
A Hat Full of Sky is the thirty-second novel in the Discworld series, following Monstrous Regiment. This novel is a sequel to the story in The Wee Free Men, wherein nine year old Tiffany Aching met the Nac Mac Feegles, or Pictsies, a less attractive kind of fairies. When their Kelda -- or Queen -- died, the Feegles chose Tiffany as her (temporary) replacement. Tiffany proved her mettle by whanging the Queen of Fairy with a frying pan and was later recruited as a witch by Granny Weatherwax.
In this novel, two years later, Tiffany goes away from the Chalk Country to discover her witch powers as the apprentice of Miss Level in the Ramtops. The Feegles are still watching out for her and note that she is being followed by a Hiver, a nonmaterial spirit who possesses humans or animals. After some moments of jealousy, the new Kelda, Jeannie, sends her husband Rob Anybody and fifty Feegles to protect Tiffany from the Hiver.
Miss Perspicacia Tick escorts Tiffany to the town of Twoshirts on the cartier's cart. Along the way, Miss Tick keeps having feelings that something is watching them. When they meet Miss Level in the woods near Twoshirts, both senior witches have the same feeling. However, nothing menacing is to be found in the vicinity, so Tiffany reluctantly climbs on the broomstick behind Miss Level and off they fly to her new residence.
Before they leave, Miss Level asks Tiffany if she is afraid of heights and Tiffany says that she is not; however, she should have told Miss Level that she is really afraid of depths. Since Tiffany had forgotten to wear woolen trousers to protect against the cold, Miss Level mostly flies just above ground level, except when she is flying straight up a waterfall. Tiffany tries to keep her eyes shut as much as possible, for the ground is just a blur as they fly over. Every time they come to a fence or hedge, Miss Level says "Here we go!" or "Ups-a-daisy!", which does not help Tiffany's queasy stomach. She throws up twice on the journey.
After they arrive, Miss Level immediately takes Tiffany to her room and lets her prepare for bed. Of course, she brings up a tray of beef stew for supper, which Tiffany manages to eat despite the efforts of an invisible sprite to take away the dishes. Tiffany discovers the next day that the invisible creature is an ondageist, who tidies up things. She also discovers that Miss Level has two (2) bodies with only a single mind.
In this story, Tiffany is attacked and possessed by the Hiver before the Feegles can reach her. The creature uses her mind and abilities to appear as a powerful witch and it scares the dickens out of Annagramma, a fellow apprentice who likes to put down her sisters. When the Feegles arrive, they cross over into her mind to fight the creature. Miss Weatherwax also comes to help with the Hiver. Together they all toss it out on its ear, but it is still around and it can't be killed. Moreover, Tiffany feels that she is missing something.
Tiffany learns a lot about herself and her beloved Granny Aching while she is residing in the Ramtops. In fact, she learns that she has a lot of Granny Aching within herself. Despite Annagramma's cuts and put-downs, Tiffany rises above petty jealousy to accomplish remarkable deeds and to accept the accolades of Granny Weatherwax herself.
Overall, this novel is as fully satisfying as the first tale about Tiffany. The scene where Tiffany dances with the bees is filled with vicarious joy! How can the author produce such a humorous book that also makes the reader feel so alive? Another winner in the Discworld series!
Highly recommended for Pratchett fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of self-reliant young ladies who are willing to face their shortcomings, but also willing to accept their strengths.
-Arthur W. Jordin
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
At a mere eleven years old, Tiffany Aching has won a war and lost a gran. She's killed the "Quin" of the Faeries - with a skillet! Her grandmother, a woman of Power, was a subtle force among the Chalk Downs shepherd community. With such a background, it's inevitable that she is destined for an interesting life. She's already been a kelda to the Nac Mac Feegles - the pictsies who scutter among the barns and bushes of the local farms. Now, she's been selected by the doyenne of the Ramtops' witches, Mistress Weatherwax, to be trained in The Craft.
Tiffany's clearly inherited some of her gran's Power, but is too young to understand or cope with it. Something else wants that Power. The hiver is a formless thing constantly seeking minds to inhabit. While not truly evil, its effect is deadly. It's inhabited Tyrannosaurs, sabre-toothed tigers and wizards. Yet it's still not sated. Tiffany's young, untested and vulnerable mind seems an ideal roost for the hiver. Thus, the story, told as only Pratchett can relate it, becomes a contest of wills - Tiffany's, the hiver, her mentor, Nac Mac Feegle and all.
So, is this just another simple fantasy about witchcraft and the eternal struggle between "good" and "evil" - a dark versus light dichotomy? Not in Pratchett's knowledgeable hands. The Feegle, Tiffany's staunch allies, are thieves and boozers, in strife with anything that moves. Miss Level, Tiffany's assigned trainer, leads a double life - and more than one of those. The Chalk Downs aren't just white rocky paddocks - they bear a history of life reaching millions of years in the past. Part of the Power is understanding that heritage, and perhaps putting it to use. And just why was the Uffington White Horse carved on a hillside so that can't be seen clearly until you're above it? And why is the carving in parts instead of a complete rendition? Um . . . and is it really a cat? Pratchett's ability to challenge the reader instead of merely being entertaining is unexcelled. This book is a prime example.
Tiffany's confrontation with the hiver reveals its hidden origins. They are as remote as Time itself. While the hiver enters but one mind at a time, it represents an aspect of all living things. Pratchett's resolution of the hiver's invasion of the young witch's mind is superbly crafted. But the story doesn't end with that denouement. Tiffany must attend on Granny Weatherwax, who initiated this situation. In this finale, Pratchett draws one of the most glorious passages of his career. Esme Weatherwax can Borrow - entering the minds of creatures more subtly than the hiver's occupation. Is it her in the swarm of bees Tiffany encounters? Or have they collectively responded to the presence of so powerful a witch? Whatever the cause, Tiffany and the swarm perform a dance - of victory? of acceptance? or just for the pleasure of it?
With his superb style - a recipe of mirth, pathos, philosophy and irony, Pratchett has again shared his genius with us. All of us. As many have noted, putting a "readers' age" restriction on this book is a flawed limitaton. Pratchett, in whatever he writes, is unaged and ageless. Adults and children alike will find entertainment and value here. The best approach, in this reviewer's opinion, is for adults to buy this book and read it aloud - to anybody. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
(...)with humble apologies and thanks to Michael Blake
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
doaa abouzeid
Pratchett's EQUAL RITES is hilarious from beginning to end. An illiterate 9-year-old witch's assistant, Eskarina (or just Esk) Smith, is by an odd mischance left with a wizard's staff and decides she wants to become a wizard. That upsets the wizards of the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork because it's somehow against the "lore," though no one could quite find the exact reason why. She is aided by Granny Weatherwax, her witch mentor, who is one of the most fully realized comic characters this side of Dickens.
For instance, she finds lodgings "on the top floor next to the well-guarded premises of a respectable dealer in stolen property because, as Granny had heard, good fences make good neighbors." Pratchett abounds in wonderfully graphic puns and felicitous expressions: "The air was full of the busy silence of the night, which is created by hundreds of small furry things treading very carefully in the hope of finding dinner while avoiding being the main course."
I won't say what happens, because that would be telling. This is the first of Pratchett's novels set in Ankh-Morpork. Pratchett is never more comfortable than describing this congenial hellhole. (For example: "There was also the distinctive river smell of the Ankh, which suggested that several armies had used it first as a urinal and then as a sepulcher.")
Some day when you are really down and need a wondrous lift, pick up this story of how Granny Weatherwax helped Esk become a bona fide wizard.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
That's how I felt when I read this latest Discworld book. My third, since I'm reading them in order.

The beginning of the story was the Vanilla. Not my favorite flavor, but not the worst. Plotwise, everything looks promising to start with. However, unlike the last two books that had several main characters we are only introduced to two this time around: Esk and Granny Weatherwax. I felt that Esk was a rather well developed character--even more so than Granny sometimes. But what shocked me was that Esk is obviously not all that important of a character since there is no mention of her in the "Gang's all there!" glossary of the book.

The middle of the book was the Chocolate. My favorite! I really enjoyed reading about Esk and Granny discovering the world outside their village for the first time.

But the end of the book was the Strawberry. My least favorite. The idea of a stuttering wizard named Simon was only slightly amusing and the whole last part of the book just had that thrown-together feeling to it. Almost as if Terry Pratchett was looking forward to ending this book prematurely so he could start a new book (Mort) about a better character--DEATH.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hien bui
I suppose you could call this a cookbook, but it's much more about Nanny Ogg than it is about the recipes. And let's face it--I bought it for the fantasy, not for the food.

There are "recipes" for a lot of the foods you'll find in the Discworld books: dwarf bread, rat onna stick, dried frog pills... You could even quite possibly make some of the recipes in here for a lovely Discworld party and invite some of your savvier friends.

But it's mostly lovely little tidbits about various Discworld characters--primarily Nanny Ogg, but a few other characters get some space here, too.

If you're familiar with the Discworld, you won't find it at all surprising that it's been "heavily edited"--they tried to take out the innuendos, but I think they found that was a losing proposition, and settled for taking out just the blatant stuff.

And if you're not familiar with the Discworld, and happen to find a copy of this at your library, go ahead and pick it up, and see if it doesn't just convince you that the Discworld is a place you'd like to visit.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a hysterical read, especially for Terry Pratchett fans. Nanny Ogg's is so much more than a cookbook, and there aren't that many recipes, but what recipes they are! Although they've been heavily edited (by the Vice Squad, probably), the inferences are still there for those with sufficiently filthy minds - yet it's all in surprisingly good taste. There's lots of additional information on etiquette with various species, advice to young ladies on courtship matters, etc. all with Nanny Ogg's, shall we say, robust attitude towards life. Truly a funny book.

The recipes themselves are not the real draw, and the traditional ones are a bit heavy for me (like Clooty = suet dumplings). But some of the recipes, such as the infamous Strawberry Wobbler, must absolutely be tried, preferably at your next Girl's Night Out get-together. And the cartoons! the drawings alone will have you in fits of giggles. This is a must-own book, and that's high praise coming from someone too cheap & short on cash to buy very many new books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amber fuller
Perhaps a lot of adult fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series have come to take for granted his ability to combine fantasy, riotous humor, and a touch of "why are we here and what are we for?" metaphysics. In "Hat Full of Sky," a sequel to his kids? hit "Wee Free Men," he manages all these plus more from a pre-teen perspective. However, you?ll really want to read the first volume ("Wee Free"), first, or the plot of "Hat" won't make as much sense to you.

In the previous volume, Tiffany Aching, a young independent farmgirl with witch-like powers, overcomes an evil queen to rescue her brother with the help of a clan of drunken, riotous "Pictsies," six-inch kilt-wearing men painted blue and swearing like truckers. In "Hat Full of Sky," Tiffany goes off for formal witch training, only to be taken over by a "hiver," an evil being who stirs up all one's worst urges. Under the hiver's temporary influence, Tiffany becomes a kind of "mean girl," pushy, self-interested, inconsiderate, and obsessed with clothes.

It strikes me as remarkable that Pratchett (a middle-aged man, after all) could get the internal struggle of the pre-teen so exactly right: wanting to be popular and able to satisfy every urge, but with a wee small voice inside, fighting those urges in favor of a better self.

As in "Wee Free Men," the Pictsies are terrifically funny; the best bit is when the Pictsies climb over each other like acrobats and throw on human clothes to disguise themselves (as a single human) for a journey: they confound their fellow-travelers when the stomach complains out loud to the head, and the gloved hands walk off in opposite directions.

Both full- and pint-sized readers will laugh and enjoy this book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This was my first exposure to Terry Pratchett, and stands as one of my favorite Discworld novels. It is a merciless satire of one of the long-standing fantasy stereotypes... men can be wizards, while women must settle for being witches.
Through the eyes of Granny Weatherwax, among others, we see that there is nothing wrong with "settling" for being a witch. In fact, witches might be superior! After all, when you have the power, there's no need to flaunt it.
But a young witch (very young... just a child) wants to see why she can't be a wizard. This leads to interesting and clever meditations on men and women, the differences between them, and how to relate to the opposite sex.
As in almost all of PTerry's books, we also see some interesting side-swipes at academia and authority figures. But more than anything else, this book shreds old stereotypes and cliches about wizards and witches.
What kept me from giving this book a five star rating? Simply the fact that this book does not quite stand alone. If this is your first exposure to the Discworld, you might be a bit stumped by Octarine, the Librarian, and a few other running gags or background concepts. But if you've read the first two (Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic), then this book will be a delightful new addition to your personal library.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
She's already defeated the Queen of the Fairies with a frying pan but now Tiffany Aching is apprenticed to Miss Level, up in the mountains, away from the chalk, to learn about witching.
Amongst an array of wonderful characters, Miss Tick, Annagramma, Petulia and the Nac Mac Feegles, Tiffany learns about real craft, helping those too poor or stupid to help themselves, birthing babies and helping those suffering to leave the world.
Unintentionally, she invites in a hiver. No spoilers but Granny Weatherwax plays her part and Tiffany learns and understands what being a witch is really all about.
Fabulous, loved it, beautifully written, wonderful story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jahangir gilani
It's a fact of life on Discworld that wizards are always men and witches are always women, and most of both wouldn't have it any other way. But that was before a certain eighth son of an eighth son, imbued at birth with magical powers by a dying wizard, turns out to be a daughter instead. Granny Weatherwax, the local witch (and whose first appearance in the series this is), tries to train young Eskarina as her own successor but finally realizes the girl will need the full training available only at Unseen University -- where no girl has ever been admitted. And on the way, she hooks up with Simon, a sort of wizardly Einstein -- who, along with Esk, is never seen again in the series. (Why?) This early in the Discworld series, Pratchett was still working out the details of his world, so that one can actually swim in the Ankh River (instead of walking across it, as in the later books), and various details of the University are also at variance with the later books. And it's not really clear what happens to Esk in the end. As always, it's all lots of fun, though.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
sarah minnella
For some reason, it has a lot of interesting concepts, and characters I enjoy (the first mention of Granny Weatherwax), but to be honest, this is one of my least favorite Discworld books.

Some of the elements never get used again, which, for the ones I liked, I found disappointing. And it does explain Borrowing for the first time as well, but other than that, most of it (besides Granny and UU) don't get brought up after this book. And while it tackles the ideas of sexism on both sides rather well, it doesn't seem to have the kick other books do.

To spoil the rest of the series: Esk, for all her hard work, NEVER gets mentioned AGAIN. In any of the books. So if you skip this book, to be honest, you won't miss out on anything. I would have preferred it much better if anything in this book had made a difference in some of the others. At least after The Light Fantastic, Twoflower shows up again later...
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
margaret kraft
OK, I'm not used to reviewing novels, so you'll pardon me if my literary style is not up to scratch. This book was given to me by a friend who decided I had to read it. This is the third book in Pratchett's "Discworld" series. I haven't read any of the others and it was not necessary to do so in order to thoroughly enjoy this book.
In a different reality from ours, where the world is a flat disc supported on the back of a giant tortoise, lives a little girl named Esk who is mistakenly appointed a wizard in a world where females can't be wizards (it's against the lore). Granny tries to raise Esk in the way of witches instead, but finds she can't fight the fait accompli. Like it or not, Esk is meant to be a wizard.
The message of equal opportunity does not hit the reader over the head, although the message was probably more blatant a decade ago. Esk needs to go to wizard university in order to control her powers, but the university is just for males. Granny, the prim traditionalist, is against Esk doing all these "unnatural" things, but turns out in the end to be the biggest "feminist" of them all.
Along the way, there are fun, good humour, smiles, ethereal monsters, flying books and orang-utan librarians.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Tiffany Aching is back, a little bit older, and about te set out to undergo some training as a witch. Unfortunately Tiffany has been targeted by a Hiver, a nasty entity as old as the universe and unkillable. The Nac Mac Feegle (Pictsies) become aware of the Hiver and want to warn Tiffany, but their leader holds off at first as Tiffany was a rival. But eventually the small blue men are on their way to the rescue.

Tiffany, meanwhile, has been apprenticed to Mrs. Level who has a very unusual personal trait. But oddities aside, Tiffany begins her training unaware that the Hiver is after her. Eventually all th plot threads come together with both humor and seriousness until the whole thing winds up in a very satisfactory manner.

Terry Pratchett has produced another wonderful young-folks book written in his usual style of wit. Pratchett manages to do a perfect job of getting across the brogue used by the Pictsies without making it harder to read. Not many books make me laugh out loud but I received a few odd looks on the train when this book made me laugh. Check it out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
britt m
My most recent discovery is from the Science Fiction / Fantasy section of the bookstore, "Nanny Ogg's Cookbook" by Terry Pratchett. The author of the book is the author of a fantasy series entitled Discworld, where elves and witches inhabit the world, with a largely satirical approach. Nanny Ogg is one of Discworld's main character witches. The cookbook is very funny and mainly British cuisine, which may explain why this book was so hard to find in the USA. The recipes are entirely in metric and some of the ingredients would be unknown to the average American cook. Yet, the book is lovely! There is even a section on the table manners of dwarves, pixies, trolls and scarecrows! Some of the recipes in this book that you may be interested in trying are: Mrs. Gogol's Clairvoyant Gumbo, Traveller's Digestives, Strawberry Wobbler and Sergeant Angua's Vegetable Stew With Dumplings. If you are a fan of Discworld, or are interested in an amusing, yet interesting stab at being a cookbook, then try this one.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Equal Rites is the third book in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. I had to stop and think after reading this book. Why didn't I like it that much? Was it my mood at the time? No, I don't think so, because I wasn't in the best mood when I read Reaper Man and Lords & Ladies either, yet I loved them. Finally, I decided that, unusually for Pratchett, it just didn't do anything for me.
Drum Billet is a wizard who's dying. Before Death comes for him, though, he wants to pass on his wizard staff and power. This is done by finding the eighth son of an eighth son. Drum Billet thinks he's found the perfect one and hurriedly does the deed before he finally expires. One thing, though: he didn't wait long enough to make sure of the sex of the new-born baby.
Granny Weatherwax is determined to see that Esk (the baby in question) grows up to be a witch, rather than a wizard. Esk will never get into the wizards' university because women can't be wizards. It just isn't done. However, Esk starts manifesting power that's beyond being a witch and beyond Granny's ability to teach. Esk really wants to become a wizard and seems to be losing control of her power, so Granny decides to take her there and see what will happen.
What follows is an adventure that takes them to the city of Ankh-Morpork, to the university, with a side-trip to the Dungeon Dimensions to ensure that the monsters that live there don't come into our reality. And maybe, just maybe, some wizards will start to change their attitude to the "fairer sex." And sometimes, a staff is just a staff.
It really hurts to say this about a Terry Pratchett Discworld book, but I just didn't think it was very good. It is the third in the series, and I wasn't a big fan of the first two, so perhaps he just hadn't hit his stride yet (I think he hit it with Mort, personally). First of all, the book just isn't that funny. None of the situations are exceptionally humorous. Instead, most of the humour comes from Pratchett's narration. Even that, though, is not up to his later power. He makes some wry comments about gender issues, especially the prejudice against women in the workplace. However, they just lie there, doing nothing and taking up space.
The characters aren't that interesting. I was looking forward to the introduction of Granny Weatherwax (first read by me in Wyrd Sisters), but even that was a disappointment. She doesn't have the same feel in this one as she does when she's with her coven. You can see signs of it in her characterization (she's irascible and set in her ways), but she's not quite as tart as the Weatherwax I know. It's almost like she needs somebody to play off to be "right."
Esk suffers from being rather dull. Is it because Pratchett can't write an 8 year old character? I don't know. I do know that she's rather flat and I didn't care about her situation. I'm all for equal rights, but Esk's situation didn't push me any further along that path. She's just there on the page with nothing to really hook you into caring about her.
One thing I shouldn't really hold against this book, though I feel I should mention it, is the wizard characters. The main wizards (Archchancellor, Dean, etc) are different characters in this book than in subsequent books. Unfortunately, since I've read many books containing the "new" characters, I found the original characters extremely wanting. They weren't funny at all. What I can hold against them, however, is that they were boring. Archchancellor Cutangle is the most developed of them, and even he's not very well done. He's there more to represent the unmovable force of male domination, and to show what happens when it meets the irresistible force of female determination.
I can say a couple of positive things about this book, however. The beginning is probably the funniest part of the book, where the mix-up happens. This part has Death in it, which already brings it up to a certain level. Death is always ready to chime in with an interesting comment or two. Secondly, Pratchett's descriptions of things are on the ball as always. He has a wonderful narrative voice. While the witty asides in this one aren't as good as some others, he still is an interesting read when he gets on a roll. Unfortunately, when the characters come back onto the stage, the story grinds to a halt again.
I really hate to give a Pratchett book 2 stars. Hopefully, it will be the only one that I have to do that to. Save your money and buy Reaper Man instead. You'll be glad you did.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The joys of returning to Terry Pratchett are inumerable. It never fails to get me chuckling aloud, causing strange looks to be directed at me. Pratchett has such a way with words, quite the amazing imagination.

While many authors, that write in a pun-filled style led by sarcasm, lose the swing of things very early (or the reader gets bored because the style gets old), Pratchett seems to keep going strong. This is book 32 and his style is still going strong, keeping me very interested!

One of my favorite parts of this book was the fact that you get to see Mistress Weatherwax as an actual human, showing respect to another for the first time. To make things better, she was actually kind and helpful. I guess even grumpy old ladies aren't always grumpy...

Courtney Conant
Author of The Blood Moon of Winter (Land of Makayra (Volume 1))
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stan mitchell
I've decided he's too good and too prolific for me to write a brand new review every single time I read one of his books. Discworld currently has 34 titles and every one of them will probably knock your socks off. His mind bubbles and flashes like a boiling pot of electric eels, and I simply can't get enough of his writing.

A reviewer has compared him to Geoffrey Chaucer. He reminds me more of Douglas Adams, or perhaps S Morgenstern. Great company, isn't it? He's an extremely skillful and imaginative writer, damn funny, clever and observant to boot. He's also very easy to read. A master of characterization, and if there's anything else you like about reading that I didn't mention here, assume I simply forgot. He's awesome.

Another reviewer mentioned Jonathan Swift and PG Wodehouse. Why such hallowed company? Because Pratchett belongs there! Truly, I'm enjoying my quest to read every book in the series. You should do the same, and begin your quest at the library because he's got to be there. He's awesome!

Yet another reviewer said Jerome K Jerome meets Lord of the Rings. Yeah, that works too.

Why do we, as reviewers, compare authors to other authors? Because it's easier than thinking. In the case of Terry Pratchett, it's probably because we'd otherwise wind up quoting the guy. He's so unique that we just don't know how else to cope with his greatness. Even this paragraph sounds like foamy drool raving, doesn't it? That's how all readers react to Pratchett. Reviewers simply don't have the good sense to keep it to themselves.

I could call his writing fantasy, but I could likewise call what Douglas Adams wrote science fiction. In both cases, I wouldn't be wrong, but I'd be neglecting so much and just totally missing the point. A rare few authors transcend a genre to such a degree that you know they're shouting out, loud and proud, a big fat "Bite me!"

I love Terry Pratchett's writing, and I completely understand why some folks refer to him as their favorite author. Or favourite, I should say, since we're being British. He's one of those authors that makes you want to grab whoever's in hearing range and start reading passages aloud. I'm simply thrilled that there's such an extremely talented and prolific author who's been working for years without me being aware of him. Now I have much catching up to do, and I will love it.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
lauren rogers perrault
Look, not every Pratchett Disc World book is a five star read. Pratchett seems to approach every new book from a different angle. And because he does so, some of his books will make you roll on the ground in laughter while others will satisfy jaded fantasy readers with interesting ideas. `Equal Rites' on the other hand is a pretty simple book that was not very well put together and is written at a grade school reading level. I don't know what sort of audience Pratchett is after, he seems to skip around in so many directions that maybe it is not a concern for him who his audience is for a particular book. But if you are just getting into the series, this might be a book that you could pass up and come back to at a later time if at all.

The plot is kind of deadening. Pratchett kept inferring what would happen through hundreds of little hints and thus expunging any surprises. Not that there would have been any surprises because this is the sort of story that you will have encountered numerous times in the past. The laughter in comparison to some of his other books is missing, gone is the `Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy,' zany-ness that was so appealing in say, the `Color of Magic.' Lastly, why did Eskarina need to be taught in any case? She seems to have known more about magic that any wizard could have taught her before the long trip occurred.

This is a disaster of a book in comparison to other Pratchett's. I really do suggest that you pass on this one. Harry Potter is much better than this. Also, you might want to try the author Alice Hoffman and her book `Practical Magic'. This is more adult in nature, and is a very satisfying read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I read "Equal Rites" after enjoying both "The Color of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic". I especially liked Granny Weatherwax, who I had heard about as being a great character. I also liked Cutangle the Archchancellor, and mildly found Hilta Goatfounder and Mrs.Whitlow to be quite funny. I really hated Ksandra. Really, really hated her. Not because of her accent. Because she does absolutely nothing! There were also many similarities to Harry Potter, although that came later. First, Drum Billet giving Gordo Smith his staff and Granny trying to burn it remind me of the first chapter of "HP and the Sorcerer's Stone". Cern and Gulta were like two Dudleys. Especially since Gulta gets turned into a pig. Gander was a little like Hagrid, as was Granny. The Skillers, although they were a brief presence, reminded me of the Dursleys. Hilta was reminiscent of Doris Crockford. Mrs. Whitlow was a version of Professor McGonagall. These are just a few. If you don't know Discworld, you'll like Equal Rites. If you love Discworld, Equal Rites is a great book for you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This heavily edited version of Nanny Ogg's Cookbook made me wish for the days when I was in Ankh-Morpork with me mum and she'd ...
OK, so that's going a bit too far. Please forgive me.
The recipes are all in metric units but that's no real trouble for a resourceful American cook! I have tried several, they came out quite well! The honey mixture for the porridge is delicious. I also liked Rincewind's potato cakes. The gumbo recipe was amazing! Technically, I suppose that I have also had the Librarian's recipe but that is quite probably splitting hairs.
But odds are that you aren't buying this for the recipes. You're buying it for the wit and wisdom of Terry Pratchett. You get that in spades! The way Leonard of Quirm makes a cheese sandwich had me laughing out loud! The sections on etiquette were divine. My personal favorite was about Death but then again, I've always loved that character.
Check it out! You won't regret it!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
There have been quite a few spin-off books from Pratchett's Discworld series in the years that he's been doing them. Various maps, the Science of Discworld books, plays, films and now this. And I think we can all agree that spin-offs are never quite as good as the original.

Oh sure, there are laughs to be had - it is Nanny Ogg, after all. If you don't know who she is, then you need to go through a few of the books in the Witches track of the Discworld series. If you don't have time for that, then let me sum it up for you.

In the mountaintop village of Lancre, people still do things in the old ways. They have no real need for modern contrivances or newfangled ideas or, well, change. So in that way, they still see the need for witches where the rest of the world has decided that they're really nothing but interfering old biddies. Of course, they would never say so to their faces....

Lancre is the home to three witches. At least, there used to be three. One of them decided to trade it in to be a queen, leaving the elder witches to look after Lancre on their own. Granny Weatherwax is the elder of the two witches, and she is everything you expect in a witch. She's hard as nails, brooks no nonsense, and is the scariest thing in the mountains. She lives alone in her isolated shack, and takes great pride in people knowing that she was one of those people who didn't care what people thought.

At her side is the more amiable, but no less powerful, Nanny Ogg. She's usually described as having a face like an apple left in the sun for too long. Unlike Granny, she's a matriarch, the head of a vast family of Oggs, and lives among the people. She has an infectious laugh, chats on and on, and is always ready to try new things.

So, of the two, Nanny Ogg is the one who would naturally want to write a book.

It's a cookbook, certainly, and contains a great many recipes. I may try some of them sometime, actually, as they are real recipes. The fictitious publishers take great pains to remind us that many of the original ingredients are either inedible or offensive, so while the dishes contained therein many not be authentic, they at least will probably not cause you any discomfort. The recipe I am most eager to try out is Mrs. Whitlow's Artery-Hardening Hogswatch Pie, although the Patrician's recipe for bread and water is tempting, as is Leonard of Quirm's method of making a cheese sandwich.

There is a back half of the book as well, dealing mostly in the realm of etiquette and proper behavior. It's very amusing, and covers every situation from weddings to birth to death to visitations by semi-sentient scarecrows. What you really take away from it is that you should certainly be polite to everyone, and you should be especially polite to any witches you might come across. If you know what's good for you, anyway.

I will be the first to admit that I'm a huge fan of Pratchett and his Discworld, but there are bigger fans than myself, and it is really for those people that this book was written. For some readers, the original books will never be enough, and they will clamor for any additional content to make the world they love more real. Thus things like the Harry Potter spin-off books, the Dark Tower companion books, and the various additional Discworld texts. If the original books were deficient in some way, if they added extra depth and substance to the characters, then I would collect them all.

But this book doesn't really add anything to the Discworld because that world is already vivid and deep, a living world that the novels have brought to life over the last 25 years. I don't need a recipe book to tell me more about Nanny Ogg, and this recipe book doesn't tell me anything about Nanny Ogg - or any other Discworld characters - that I didn't already know.

This book is an entertaining gimmick, and I hope that the rabid fans who love this kind of thing have found it to be the kind of thing that they like, to paraphrase Lincoln. But it doesn't inspire me to buy any more non-novel Discworld books. But that's just me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Maybe it's just me, but I missed Rincewind and Twoflower as I read this, hoping they would pop up and find themselves nearly blown to bits or narrowly escape getting eaten by something. Although Granny Weatherwax is a funny character in her own right, and Esk's inability to control herself is sometimes interesting, I just miss the bungling misadventures that came before.
That said, this is still a great book, and any fan of Discworld would do well to read it. It seems at this point that Pratchett was still filling in the gaps and trying to decide on characters and setting, as well as just what exactly the otherworldly beings of magic actually are and can do. This book answers some fundamental questions about why the disc is like it is, and thus moves forward the whole mythology underlying the strange things that happen in the individual books.
Further, the parallels with the modern world do continue in fine style, this time centering on the young girl wishing to become a wizard - a males only profession. One wonders if the young lady entering the Citadel had to endure the presence of a librarian-turned-primate in order to further her study. Regardless, it's fun and interesting.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
In the world of the irreverent, Terry Pratchett is the reigning king. In a story that links the equal rights for women to Discworld, Terry Pratchett's talent for puns and tongue in cheek humor thrives.

Drum Billet wanted to pass his skills to an new apprentice when he died. Unfortunately, the apprentice he expected to be a boy was born a girl. Training a female wizard would break the "lore" of wizards because there is no precedent. Conflicts arise when famed Discworld witch Granny Weatherwax tries to help young Esk use her powers toward becoming a witch. Frustrated by her lack of progress, Weatherwax and Esk set out for Ankh-Morpork and the Unseen University to enter Esk in wizard school. Along the way to Esk establishing her status as a wizard, we meet a young wizard with horrible allergies and the Zoons who chose the best liar among them as their leader.

Prachett's wit shines in this short book. Although I did find myself overwhelmed with the jargon at times, I really enjoyed this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
laura brown
Be warned, new reader: Discworld is not one book, it's 25 at last count, and every one of them is well worth the reading. In other words, don't blame me if you find yourself scrounging for out-of-print books in dimly lit fantasy-book shops.
This book is the third in the series, but the first to leave the bustling city of Ankh-Morpork and explore the rest of the disc. It starts in the high mountaintops of Lancre when a dying wizard passes on his staff of power to a newborn baby. On closer examination, said baby is female, which causes a dangerous paradox. You see, witch magic is for women, all herbs and healing and psychology. Wizard magic, playing power games with the universe, is decidedly masculine -- but now this baby is both a wizard AND a witch.
Despite a somewhat anticlimactic finish, this is a good jumping-on point to get a feel for Pratchett's signature style. That style is at once fantasy and a parody of the fantasy genre, with elements of social satire and cosmic sci-fi thrown in. The description you'll often here is Douglas Adams does fantasy, which is just about right. I'd be inclined to put Pratchett a notch higher for his characterization and ability to keep a plot moving while making jokes (and that he hasn't written a travesty like Mostly Harmless).
Definitely pick up this book, and join the league of the obsessed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
When Eskarina was born she was bestowed with a dying wizard's magic staff and his powers because the wizard mistakenly thought she was the eighth son of an eighth son. Granny Weatherwax, the town witch who delivered young Esk, knows that the girl must now learn to control the extraordinary powers she has been bequeathed before they start to control her. She takes Esk under her wing and begins to teach her about witchcraft and magic. After Esk has had several years of apprenticeship, Granny decides to enroll Esk in Unseen University, the training ground for wizards. The two of them set off for Ankh-Morpork, the home of the famous wizard school. But everyone in Discworld knows that wizardry is the bastion of men and that a woman can never become a wizard... or can she?

In "Equal Rites," Terry Pratchett parodies gender stereotyping and discrimination as Esk is confronted with society's view of the differences between witchcraft, a traditionally feminine profession, and wizardry, an exclusively male domain. As Granny sees it, wizardry is high magic composed of science, "jommetry" and power, while witchcraft is a magic grounded in nature, herbs and "headology." Esk feels she can handle either type of magic and she turns wizardry on its ear as she proceeds to demonstrate what she can accomplish. Before reading this book, I thought that Rincewind was the most bumbling of wizards. I now realize that Unseen University is full of them!

This book is not as wickedly funny as the two books that precede it, but it does contain several humorous scenes such as the magic conjuring duel between Granny and the Archchancellor of the university. Although Pratchettisms are sprinkled here and there throughout the book, the story line takes precedence over the satire. Sometimes the metaphorical descriptions of the landscape and sunlight of Discworld go a bit overboard. As a result I give the book only four stars instead of the five I gave the previous books in the series. I did enjoy the story, however, especially the characterization of strong-minded and wise Granny, who is depicted as a non-stereotypical witch who abhors flying on broomsticks and who looks down upon the traditional fortune telling and parlor tricks favored by so many other witches. I look forward to reading the other Discworld witch books.

Eileen Rieback
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This sequel to The Wee Free Men was good but not as good as its prequel.This is a story to tell what happens to Tiffany and the Nacmacfeegle after Tiffany throws the Queen of the fairies out of her world.As she studies to become a witch in the mountains an evil creature that cannot be killed tries to take over her mind and body making her do dreadful things, including finding out what happens to the rest person when you turn them into a frog. Luckily the Nacmacfeegle have a plan, or rather a PLN to save her. Tiffany's mind and soul slowly start turning into the evil inside her. Still, Tiffany does not let the evil take her without a fight. In her mind she hides, trying not to let the evil take all of her and make her the most feared and hated being on the earth. You should read the book and find out what then happens to Tiffany and the Wee Free Men. Sadly, I thought this book, unlike its prequel, had an unsatisfying ending and that is why I only gave it four stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tobie lurie
Such a fun and funny book, but what do expect from Pratchett. This one was more serious that the first two he wrote, but it still had some great laughs and interesting characters. I think the satire was a bit more obvious than his first two books, but it was still entertaining.

I listened to the audio version and I was shocked at first to hear a female voice. However, Celia Imrie did a great job and I thought her characters were so fun. She really brought out their personalities.

Another great Pratchett story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jessica sliman
A wizard bestows Esk with his powers and staff at her birth. Yes, her birth. Opps. Granny Weatherwax tries to channel Esk's powers into that of a witch, but, naturally, it doesn't quite work, so, eventually, she tries to bring Esk to the Unseen University, where Esk will really clean up. The bathrooms. Pratchett once again brilliantly, refreshingly, with love and hilarity plays with the fantasy genre and its clichés, bringing new meaning in this battle of the sexes (between wizards and witches, two differing brands of magic and outlooks on life, both of which, at the end of the day, seem rather narrow). Pratchett not only can weave a stunningly new and clever tale, but weaves words into a charming, beautiful, mind-twizzling tapestry that makes one savor paragraphs and dog-ear pages. Grade: A+
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
laura mccarthy
EQUAL RITES introduces Granny Weatherwax, a witch with a problem. Eska, a young girl has received a wizard's magical abilities as she was thought to be the eighth son of an eighth son. As you can tell she is lacking in the "son" part and the difficulty is that girls can't become wizards. Or so it has always been, until Granny gets involved. Offering to take Eska to The Unseen University, this witch finds herself in some unfamiliar territory, but through sheer determination, intelligence and not just a little bit of her own magical ability, Granny finds a way to set things right. Granny's a great character for Discworld; just the right combination of sass, intelligence and common sense to put most of the characters around her to shame. While I found the story's ending to be a bit abrupt, I think Granny will always be a character that remains interesting.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
robin gray
I really, really enjoyed this book. Of course, I also loved "The Wee Free Men," so I was primed for it. I enjoyed seeing Tiffany's journey continue. She had been accustomed to doing things by feel and making them up as she went along. Now she has to work within a structure, and she doesn't like it much. Nor is Tiffany alone. Rob Anybody, the Pictsies' Big Man, is a newlywed, and he also fumbles the unwritten rules of marriage.

I also really enjoyed the contrast of the humble, helpful hedge witches vs. the overblown, haughty ones who sincerely believe clothes make the witch. If I have one small complaint, it's that the bossy, obnoxious Annagramma hadn't been slapped down harder by the end. That's just me, though. In real life, obnoxious people can often go for quite a long time without having a clue as to how wrong they are.

Deby Fredericks

author of "The Magister's Mask"
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
The second in the "Tiffany Aching" series. I read and really enjoyed "The Wee Free Men". But I have to be honest: this one is not as good. Maybe because there's not as much wee free men. No Granny Aching. Maybe because it suffers from "sequel syndrome" where, since her first goal was already accomplished, now the story struggles with achievements. It's about Tiffany living with the witches, and now she has to go to "witch school". She meets colorful characters, but suffers from annoyances and problems. Rather than something to achieve, to reach for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kendeigh worden
Actually, there's not much to 'waily' about in this one. I liked it a lot. Poor Tiff is put-upon by the local teenage witch coven, which actually reminded me of those putative Valley Girls in my review for "The Wee Free Men." But why do I take off a star? I'm so tired of the "Granny Weatherwax saves the day" plot line. Even in the older Discworld books like Maskerade and the others, it seems like everything is at an impasse and only Granny (not Nanny, or Magrat, or any other witch) can save the day. And this is another one of those books. Tiffany is in trouble and the only way to get out of it is for the Feegles to summon Granny Weatherwax. And of course Granny takes over most of the rest of the book, even though it's a book about Tiffany and the Feegles. Still, the story is satisfying, if a little confusing at times.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
harry indrawan
Ah, the lovely sight of a new Pratchett novel in my mailbox....
This time, eleven year old Tiffany is leaving her beloved Chalk, off to apprentice to a real witch, the somewhat odd Mrs Level. Add in an ancient, bodyless creature who want to take over Tiffany's mind, a rather unique poltergeist, a coven of junior witches, the indomitable Granny Weatherwax, and of course the Nac Mac Feegle - four inch tall, red-haired, blue skinned pictsies who will drink, fight or steal anything.
This is, technically, a children's book, but falls into that rare but treasured class of literature that can be read with equal enjoymenet by children and adults alike. Pratchett's insightful, humorous view of human nature, if anything, comes through more clearly in his children's books, and the use of language is certainly not watered down for younger readers.
In summary, an excellent read for all ages, and a satisfactory sequel to the Wee Free Men.
And track down a copy of Only You Can Save Mankind by the same author while you're at it...
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
In this, the thrid book of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, a young girl is given a wizard's powers. Well everyone knows that a girl can't be a wizard! Girls are witches, and that's that.
Esk is the eighth son of an eighth son... or at least she was supposed to be. The wizard that bestowed his staff and powers upon her died the second she was born and didn't know that the eighth son *wasn't* a son at all. As Esk grows she is taken as an apprentice witch by Granny Weatherwax, a wonderful, humorous old woman that doesn't take any nonsense, especially from that wizard's staff that has a mind of its own. But soon Granny discovers that the wizardly powers just won't stay out of it and that Esk must be taken to Unseen University for training. The only problem is that the Unseen University doesn't allow women, after all, wizardy is a man's world. Join Esk and Granny on their way to Ankh-Morpork and see what happens in this wonderful book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michael pagendarm
'Equal Rite's is the third in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series following 'The Light Fantastic'. However this is not a sequel to the previous stories, but is instead a self contained story with new characters. Like the previous two novels it is a lot of fun, but again with a somewhat lightweight plot. 'Equal Rites' is not as episodic as 'The Light Fantastic' which is a definite improvement, but although the story starts strong it fizzles out by the ending. The plot is a vehicle for Pratchett to create some funny situations and to make sly comments on contemporary gender relations. I have read reviews that state that Pratchett still hadn't hit his stride yet with 'Equal Rites'. This sounds right to me -the book is good enough to read the next in the series but probably not to read again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
crystal velasquez
This book is a very worthy book in the Discworld series, not least because it is the first appearance of Granny Weatherwax, who along with Nanny Ogg and Magrat, are my favourite of all terry pratchett's characters. The witches books are simply the best.
This one has a great premise...a girl who is destined to be a wizard. Will she become one, or will the chauvinistic "lore" stand in her way? It's not quite as funny as some of the other discworld books, but when it is, it's hilarious.
This is quite a dark book, really, and pterry is often at his best when he is dark. In this case, it is perhaps not so. However, this is still a great, with an inventive and amusing premise, which more than satisfactorily carries the tale to it's conclusion. Lovely. The only thing i dont like about the first few Pratchett books is that they're so short!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
francesco lamberti
Quite an inspiring book. The Wee men were amusing as ever; ditto Witch Weatherwax....otherwise known as Granny Watherwax. I always enjoy her. I think it is based on FDR or Churchill saying: “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
cora stryker
did not enjoy it at all - I was expecting a story
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nina chachu
The Editorial review from Washington Post, above, lacks perspective. JKR's minor characters have psychological depth while Pratchett's are two-dimensional? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, what a bizarre comparison. They're two different writers. It should be noted that Pratchett started the Discworld series in 1983 (Color of Magic) when JKR was only 18 years old. He established his style long before JKR published Philosopher's Stone in 1997. All of his books are like this, for the most part. He simply used his existing Discworld template when he wanted to comment on the Harry Potter world, and thus created Tiffany Aching. If witches in Hat spend a great deal more time riding broomsticks and casting spells than they did in Wee Free Men it's because Pratchett is purposefully referring to Harry Potter's magical education. Correct, Miss Level's cottage is no Hogwarts. That's the point. With Tiffany Aching Pratchett gets to play with, gently satire and generally enjoy both Harry Potter's brand of magic and the commercialized airy-fairy Wiccan brand of magic, and mix some real old British magical lore in, too. Note that I am a Potter Fanatic.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hat Full of Sky and the other Tiffany Aching stories. I can't recommend them enough. Humorous, likable, thought provoking and excellent.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
heidiann e
All in all I was not as enamored of this book as I have been of others in the Discword series---I did find the premise of accidentally imbuing a female with wizardly powers to be entertaining however.

The Pratchett humor sneaked in here and there over the first 2/3 of the book but reached its zenith in the final third. By then, I also found that the characters had grown on me. Perhaps I should emulate the librarian and just say "Oook."
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Tiffany Aching, heroine of 'The Wee Free Men' leaves home and goes be apprentice to the witch Miss Level, who has a very unusual talent. Tiffany is rather bored by the mundane duties required of her by Miss Level, and meets some other, flashier witches who seem to have a different idea of what witchcraft is about, but who is right? Meanwhile a mysterious and apparently maligant force is after Tiffany, attracted by her strong magical powers. The valiant and belligerent little Nac Mac Feegle set out to rescue her, and Granny Weatherwax too has an interest in Tiffany. I enjoyed this book more than 'The Wee Free Men' I thought it was funnier and had a more intersting plot, with a number of unexpected twists. Great fun, full of humour, magic,suspense and amusing characters.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ivalina vargova
This may be my favorite Discworld Novel. While The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic were groundbreaking, I think this was the first novel in the series where Mr. Prachett truly knocks it out of the park. Like many of the Disc World novels, Equal Rights can be read without ever having read previous books in the series, and I might recommend one do just that. It's funny and charming with characters you can fall in love with.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
George Lucas is supposed to have said at some point that the storyteller who could get inside the head of an eleven-year-old girl could make a fortune. Well, never having been an eleven-year-old girl (but having a daughter who is that age now), I'd say Terry Pratchett has managed remarkably well here--and the fortune is all the readers'.

This second installment in the Tiffany Aching series follows the protagonist through a wonderful adventure as she looks at what being a witch--haggling as her riotous little friends the Feegles put it--is all about. The story is fun, thought-provoking and (for Pratchett especially) tightly plotted. And Discworld fans will cheer when Tiffany gets to meet Granny Weatherwax--truly two witches worth knowing!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shannon fales
This sequel to The Wee Free Men was good but not as good as its prequel.This is a story to tell what happens to Tiffany and the Nacmacfeegle after Tiffany throws the Queen of the fairies out of her world.As she studies to become a witch in the mountains an evil creature that cannot be killed tries to take over her mind and body making her do dreadful things, including finding out what happens to the rest of a person when you turn them into a frog. Luckily the Nacmacfeegle have a plan, or rather a PLN, to save her. Tiffany's mind and soul slowly start turning into the evil inside her. Still, Tiffany does not let the evil take her without a fight. In her mind she hides, trying not to let the evil take all of her and make her the most feared and hated being on the earth. You should read the book and find out what then happens to Tiffany and the Wee Free Men. Sadly, I thought this book, unlike its prequel, had an unsatisfying ending and that is why I only gave it four stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
krishna kumar774
My review for Pratchett's "A Hat Full of Sky" reads almost exactly like that for Pratchett's "Wee Free Men" (the prequel to this book). First, and most importantly, I don't care what the "official" write-ups for this book say: this is not just a book for pre-pubescent youth. Outside of the fact that the protagonist is an 11-year old and some of the behavior/situations are somewhat simplified (i.e., it doesn't have the layers and layers of meaning buried in Pratchett's other works), this is standard Discworld fare. Some mild complaints are that the book appears to finish up just after the middle. However, that was a faulty assumption on my part and I quickly saw what Pratchett intended. Also, Granny Weatherwax isn't quite in character: she's too warm. I've marked the book down from five stars to four because of the mild simplification, but other than that, it's pretty darn good.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
It doesn't seem like it was written by the same author as the rest. It was a very different writing style and a very boring book. Wish I had skipped it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Once you've beaten the Evil Fairy Queen, there's not much to do but to continue your education. So you go away. Going away is important, because... well... It allows you to come back. What you don't know, is that you're being followed. Not by your unpleasant little brother, not by the boy you obviously don't like, but by something that cannot be killed (not even by your little helper strange-looking blue kinda fairy fighers). And that's only the beginning of your adventure! Once you set out into the real world, you'll meet the Biggest Witch of All again (not that she would ever agree she was actually The Witch In Charge). You get to meet Death. Personally. And your blue kinda fairy fighters kick some ass! If you ever want to read a serious adventure, don't leave this on the bookshelf! You'll find out what it takes to be a witch (and to wear a really nice pointy hat).
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
heather leroy
After reading The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic, I knew I was completely hooked on Discworld. However, the third in this series, while still a fun read, was a bit disappointing after the first two. I will say that I was glad to find some interesting female characters after the distinct lack of them in the first two novels. Particularly, Granny Weatherwax is a hoot, and she alone make this book worth reading. My main complaint was that Equal Rites rushed toward the ending a little too fast. The ending "battle" and climax didn't live up to the expectations I had built up in the rest of the novel. Also, Equal Rites didn't have as many uproariously funny moments as the first two. Still, if you like Discworld, this book is certainly worth reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
angela perkins
Tiffany Aching is back to learn the serious business of witching in this sequel to The Wee Free Men. Tiffany sets out to do her apprenticeship with Miss Level. While Tiffany carries out the mostly mundane tasks of caring for the sick, she experiments with her own magical talents which have begun to surface. Thank goodness for the return of the Mac Nac Feegles, as well, who are back to protect the "big wee hag" as she contends with the mysterious and dangerous Hiver.

Full of Pratchett's wry British humor, this is a book for young and old alike. Like the Wee Free Men, although it takes place on Pratchett's Discworld, the Tiffany stories have a feel and flavor all their own.

- C.A.Wulff,
Please Rate (Discworld Novel 32) (Discworld series) - A Hat Full of Sky
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