Jan 21, 2008

[Books] Monstrous Regiment

Monstrous RegimentIt came as a surprise to me that I had managed to get by for a few months without having read my copy of Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment. This comes as a surprise since I tend to read new Pratchett purchases as soon as I finish whatever it is I'm reading at the time since Discworld novels remain to be some of my favorite titles.

Naturally once I started reading it, I found myself quickly flipping through the pages and no matter how my work duties got to be, I still managed to devote enough time to finish the book quickly enough. I suppose it helped that it was as enjoyable as most other Discworld books.

Monstrous Regiment is the 31st Discworld book and one of those standalone Discworld novels that don't immediately connect to any of the main recurring story arcs like The Witches, The City Watch or Rincewind the Wizard. Sure, it does feature the members of the Watch this time around, but not as main characters.

The story is centered around Polly Perks, a young girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to join the army and find her brother. She finds herself among some rather unusual recruits like an Igor, a vampire, a troll, a religious fanatic and others - quite the mixed crew with more than their fair share of secrets. all this is set in a country that pretty much goes to war with everyone especially in line with its highly unusual religious beliefs given an increasingly senile god.

The title of the book references the John Knox work The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, a protestant essay against female rulers. It makes sense since the book is centered around a woman trying to play the role of a man in the army.

The book features the same style of wit, prose and satire that has endeared Pratchett's works in the hearts of his many fans around the world - myself certainly included. As one of the "standalone" novels as I call them, it fares pretty well on its own, which goes to show that the Discworld universe has not stagnated into relying solely on its more famous characters alone and can still venture into new ground.

Despite news if Pratchett now showing the first signs of Alzheimer's, this book certainly demonstrates that he's still very much in control of his faculties for now and his intelligence still shines through in his writing.

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