There’s also the Johnny and the… books, which have a Spielbergian “kids on bikes having adventures” vibe to them.
I’d say those are young teen books, not sixth-grade ones.
This will end up being ranked in the middle of my Discworld rank(in fact it is 19 of the 32 I’ve read, less than half).
I enjoyed the entire opening half where we gradually learned that…well, everyone is female in Polly’s troop. I think the standard “female dresses like a male to join the war” was a fairly normal premise, but I was pleasantly surprised when Pratchett revealed practically everyone in the book is also doing the same thing. I love that type of thing in Discworld. The interesting hook? Nope, everyone is doing that.
The second half was less great. I enjoyed some aspects of their infiltration but I honestly felt the book went on a little long at the end. I found myself thinking “right, I got it” several times late in the book…not a good sign.
Anyway, a nice one-off and this is a great example of:
For Pratchett, not his best. Had I written it? It would have been the greatest creative work I’d ever done. Mid-level Discworld is still very impressive.
I, too would rate it somewhere in the middle of the pack. My main beef was that the title gives away the main plot hook to anybody who paid attention in school.
I like some of the quotes from the book.
“‘Sarge, I would not want to be seen dead in that uniform.’”
“Polly realized that she could probably go too far in finding out just how far she could go.”
Maybe to anyone who paid attention in school in the UK?
Which, admittedly, was a lot of Pratchett’s audience.
Or was awake in Modern World History. But you are right in that Pterry largely wrote for a UK audience. That gave him more stuff to address in the footnotes!
“The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.”
I perhaps did miss a key detail near the end, by the way. Did the Dutchess exist? I mean, was she even still alive or was she just an idea at the point our story took place?
She existed, but was dead at the time our story takes place.
My take on it is that at the time of the story, she was corporeally dead, but hanging on as a spirit. She had become a minor god, having so many believers, but otherwise darned weak. She was able to spook a bird at just the right moment, and was later able to briefly inhabit the mind and body of the girl who was maybe her truest believer.
Monstrous Regiment was my first Discworld book. I think it helped that it was kind of a one-off. I think I’m up to about 12 of the books at this point, so far my favorites have been the ones with Moist von Lipwig.
While I can’t swear to it, because it was quite a few years ago, I am reasonably certain that my World History courses, which I actually enjoyed and got quite good grades in, never mentioned that specific book title.
Yes. Bear in mind that the Small Gods (as well as the larger ones) do exist in the Discworld universe, and can have physical effects on living people.
The other thing that makes Monstrous Regiment unusual among Discworld books is the paucity of humor in it. I mean, there’s some, but it hardly fits in the “humor” category that it cover proclaims it to be. Mostly, it’s high-concept drama.
I should possibly step back in here to point out that they also left out a whole lot more stuff than I realized at the time that they were leaving out; though I did even at the time notice some of the gaps.
Yeah, I should also note that it was obvious to me because I taught AP European History for 20 years.
I finished Wyrd Sisters last week and enjoyed it very much - I came in expecting not to be taken in, but I really liked it**.
It joins Going Postal as one of my recommended “introduction” books, since it is set in Discworld but makes only fleeting connections to Ankh-Morpork characters.
** like a few other Discworld novels, I felt the ending could use some work
Have you read Equal Rites?
Equal Rites is proto-Witches. I’ve always thought that it is a book to read later, after you know the coven, to see where the ideas developed.
Thanks! I just added Equal Rites to my to-read list (I just started Hogfather a couple days ago).