Sunday, August 16, 2009

Monstrous Regiment

A wonderful book for fans of fantasy and satire, Terry Pratchett delivers yet another brilliant book in his bestselling Discworld series. Although sold as an adult and not a teen novel, the story focuses on teenager Polly Perks, resident of the tiny country of Borogravia, which has spent the last several centuries waging war on its neighbors. When her brother goes missing in Action, Polly cuts her hair, dresses up as a boy and signs up with the local regiment. Here we meet Pratchett’s usual array of zany characters. Her “brothers in arms” include a vampire who has sworn off blood and now craves coffee; an Igor who doesn’t lisp (if you’ve read the other Discworld books you’ll understand!) and a religious fanatic who claims to hear the voice of Borogravia’s Duchess, who has not been seen in over a decade. This motley crew, led by battle hardened veteran Sgt Jackums, sets off to win the war single handedly, an impossible feat since many larger countries have joined forces against pesky, war mongering Borogravia. As the story progresses, we learn that Polly is not the only one with a secret, and that sometimes the best man for the job is not a man at all! As with all Pratchett books, some more than others, beneath the humor is a darker side. This story explores why countries go to war, and does not gloss over the horrors of war. I also doubt that I was the only reader to notice an eerie resemblance to current conflicts… This novel does have some less then polite jokes, so would probably not be good for younger teens. Highly recommended for both newcomer’s to Discworld and avid fans.

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