As much as people talk about Terry Pratchett, I have never actually read any of his novels. Part of it is just that there is such a large back catalog so I wasn’t sure where to begin. I also think an ex of mine liked him a lot which may have made me a bit hesitant for a while. As much love as Pratchett inspires, though, I decided it was finally time to read him, and I asked for advice in the Facebook group. I got a lot of recommendations for where to start but quite a lot of people mentioned The Witches novels, and specifically Wyrd Sisters. However, per the reading guide they also shared, Wyrd Sisters is actually the second of The Witches novels so I decided to start with Equal Rites and keep at least some chronological order.
The novel starts with a dying wizard coming to a village to pass on his powers to the eighth son of an eighth son who is being born at that moment. Of course, the father and the wizard don’t realize until after he has already transferred his magic that the newborn child was a daughter, not a son. In the magical world, women are witches and use a more natural magic, and wizards are all men who use a more “intellectual” or theory based magic. The idea of a female wizard is outside unheard of, and Granny, the village witch and midwife, is not excited about Esk becoming a wizard. The magic doesn’t manifest for a few years, and when it does, Granny first tries to train her as a witch before deciding they need to go the wizarding school so Esk can get training in the magic she possesses.
The story was rather simple and straightforward, and things tend to get resolved somewhat easily, though I could see the humor that people always talk about when describing Pratchett. He seems to very much be a fan of common sense while also recognizing the ridiculous in people, with a tone that is both tolerant and sometimes gently mocking. Overall, this novel isn’t the kind of novel that would make me rush out and buy all of an author’s books, but it also isn’t the kind of novel that would make me swear off an author. Since Wyrd Sisters is next up in The Witches novels, I am looking forward to checking that one out and seeing how I feel about one that many people recommended and seem to love.