Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
book, review, discworld
This review was originally posted at Goodreads and imported here later with next to no spell/grammar checking.
In my notes for this book, I wrote “Can’t put it down, I love it” right before I put it down for two months. Sometimes life intervenes hard.
But when I did pick it up again (halfway through the book), I got back into it again and finished it right away.
A small poor country under a severely oppressive religion regime is at war with their neighbours. And they’re losing (although saying that is an Abomination Unto Nuggan). When Polly’s brother disappeared after enlisting in the army, she cuts her hair, dons male clothing and joins the army to find him.
The setting itself is really grim, but the actual story and characters kept me squealing in delight. Indeed, when Samuel Vimes, the commander of the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork made a brief unexpected appearance, I whooped out loud.
But this book is so much more than a few jokes and feel-good cameos. Polly is smart. I mean joining an army dressed as a man is not the best thing to do for one’s safety.
She prepares. She observes the soldiers' behaviour, practices the language and swagger, and on top of all that, she is incredibly resourceful and quick on her feet.
And as is common in Pratchett’s books, pretty much every character is wonderful in their own way. So this ends up being a wonderful heroes' journey that’s just an utter delight from start to finish.
Technically, this book follows The Truth book and as mentioned, has a couple of brief appearances from the City Watch books, but you can pick it up without reading the rest. And read it you should!