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Equal Rites

While I heartily enjoyed the first two Discworld books, I was looking forward to a bit of a change of setting from the wizard orientated plotlines that had dominated the series so far. Equal Rites, with its promise of Pratchett's irreverent gaze this time falling on Witchcraft, seemed promising, but was a (very slight) let down.

At first it started off fairly well, with the usual strong characters and an interesting plot, but about two thirds of the way in something slipped and my interest seemed to wane. It's hard to put my finger on the exact cause for this. I had noticed with the preceding two novels that Pratchett seemed to run out of steam a little part way though. The story would be going well, the were jokes funny and characters engaging, then, just as I was being pulled into the novel, things would suddenly get a little fuzzy and seem to run on auto pilot for a few chapters. Fortunately, Pratchett would find his way again towards the conclusion and the book would once more engage. This time, however, the slightly uncertain middle section was a tad longer, and the triumphant finale somehow managed to still end up at the Unseen University (key location of the first two novels) and amongst the wizards. Despite being about Witches, it still felt very much a 'wizard' novel, and I felt a little cheated of my "change of scene".

These are, of course, minor quibbles. I still enjoyed the book and will likely be returning to it in future. I have heard nothing but high praise for Pratchett's work, and it's interesting to read the early works of someone who later becomes so well regarded. Many of the key pieces of a brilliant novel are in Equal Rites, the ratios were just a little bit off for me.