Monstrous Regiment -- Pratchett's best? (Possible spoilers, though not from me)

I got hold of this last Friday and read it over the weekend and I have to say: simply brilliant. I wouldn’t actually have thought it possible, but IMO he’s matured even further as a writer.

It’s a satire on, amongst other things, the war with Iraq, religion generally and most particularly homosexuality in the military and it achieves these goals with subtlety, humour and depth.

It’s by far and away his darkest work. These characters have history and it ain’t a nice one. And in Jackrum it has my favorite character bar none.

Upon my oath, I ain’t a lying man. And I loved this one.

Any other comments?


(Just realised actually, it should realyl be “Upon my oath, I’m not a lying man.” to be true to the book. Please read it as such)

I think it’s quite good, but not his best (My choice would be “Small Gods”). I also guessed the twists at the end (they seemed inevitable).

I hadn’t heard of this one. Is it tied into any of the other stories, or a stand alone? What’s it about?


I just picked up the lastest Neal Stephenson book and now this? I tell you the publishers are tryint to bankrupt me!
::runs down to WaldenBooks::

It’s brand new – I literally got it the day it was released, AFAIK. It’s as stand-alone as any of his discworld books are, which is to say that without reading the others you’ll miss some jokes but nothing too vital.


And I also saw the twists coming, but I don’t think that mattered. Their very inevitability was the point, really (and you never really were sure that it was going to happen…)

For me, it was the resolution of the satire.

Small Gods was fantastic. I also loved Witches Abroad and Lords and Ladies. But note that those three were all released at about the same time. I have felt that he hasn’t been quite as brilliant since then, but this is right back up there IMO.

I’m on page 275. If I were to offer an improvement, I would have liked to have seen the Pratchettness come out earlier than page 100.

(Slight hijack, sorry)
I haven’t read this one yet, but I just wanted to add that my personal favourites are any with Sam Vimes in them. God, I love that character - he’s so strong and complex, a basically good man but with real flaws, a reluctant hero…is it normal to have a crush on a fictional character who’s twice your age?! Jingo in particular was exceptional. I just love the idea of arresting an entire army for attempting to cause a breach of the peace!

Nooo!!! Why haven’t I heard about this one before? Have I been so closeted away working that I’ve even failed to notice a new Pratchett??!

Right, first thing tomorrow morning, bookstore.

::Algernon takes a deep breath and makes his confession::

I have never read any of the Pratchett books. I am a discworld neophyte. A Pratchett virgin.

I have read the numerous Pratchett threads on the SDMB to try and find a starting point, but there is so much disagreement about the “best” or which books are best read before others, that I have been deer-in-the-headlights frozen with uncertainty and hesitation.

Help me kabbes!! (and others)

I always point people to Mort first. It’s one of the earliest (4th discworld, to be precise) and the first one that has a distinctly Pratchett feel. If you like that, you’ll like the rest. If you don’t like it, you probably won’t like the rest, even though it is a long, long way from being his best.

After Mort, you may as well continue with the “Death” books and go through Reaper Man and Soul Music too. Alternatively, and more my style, you just return to book 1 (The Colour Of Magic) and start ploughing your way through. If you like them, you’ll be hooked and probably read all 28 or so in the space of a few months. They’re that damn good.

The trouble with reading them out of sequence is that as characters and, more importantly, ideas are gradually introduced, you’ll miss the “in jokes”, which are the best bits.

Personally, I started reading them when Mort was the latest one and nobody had heard of him. I started with TCOM and never looked back.


You have two basic choices. Small Gods is almost entirely distinct from the rest of the books and is therefore a truly stand-alone book. This is a good option since Pratchett had the opportunity to find his voice and bring across his Pratchettness in his writing by the time he got to this one. This book is great.

Your other option is to go to the first Discworld book, The Color of Magic. But then you run the risk of not getting the full feel of what Pratchett is really like to read. But it is still a great book. It got me hooked.

I’d recommend Small Gods first, then the rest in order.

Your final alternative is to read some of his non-Discworld books. I’ll let others comment on that.

Thank you. This is it. I’m going to take the plunge.

kabbes, what do you think about the suggestion to read Small Gods first?

jr_africanus, what do you think about the suggestion of reading Mort first?

(Non-discworld books? I thought all of his books were discworld.)

(And “Pratchettness”? Out of curiosity, could you articulate what characteristics encompass this description?)

You could do Mort. Here is a snippet from an Amazon reviewer of Small Gods:

While I disagree that his first twelve books were adolecent affairs, I do agree that Small Gods may be more substantial than what preceeded it. But that doesn’t change the fact that Mort is a darn good book. So let’s be frank. It doesn’t matter. Get a coin; heads is Mort, tails is Small Gods; and if it lands on the edge you can read Strata.

Pratchett does have a number of non-discworld books. You’ll have to start another thread for that.

There’s a comprehensive, but rater complicated, suggested reading order here. Actually, I shouldn’t say comprehensive, since it’s missing the last few books. But hey. Once you get that far, you should be able to handle the rest on your own.


… oh hell, forget it. I’m just going to buy them both. I have no willpower, and given the praise of Pratchett’s books on this board combined with my love of reading (and your recommendations), I can’t go wrong with either. kabbes and js_africanus, you both win.

Smeghead, that site is helpful to make sure certain books are read before others. If you posted this link in one of the earlier Pratchett threads, I missed it. Thanks.

I always recommend that newbies start with “Wyrd Sisters” or “Guards! Guards!” Then, you can follow the witches or the Watch. Your call, but for Og’s sake, READ THEM ALL!!

No, if it lands on the edge, get Truckers and Only You Can Save Mankind – that way, he can get started on two more quality Pratchett book series. :smiley:


(The above scream is the caption under an imaginary Far Side cartoon, where Algernon is seen fleeing from jungle cannibals, all carrying Pratchett books.)