Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Granny Weatherwax, what more needs to be said for one of the cornerstones of the Discworld who makes her first appearance in Equal Rites. Granted she's not quite the Granny (or Mistress if you will) that we come to know but all the elements are there. The story begins with the death of a Wizard who bequeaths his Staff and power to the eighth child of an eighth son which should have been a male child but wasn't and this causes some complications further down the line. Young Eskarina Smith is taken under the wing of Granny to be taught Witchcraft but the girls innate gifts and the Staffs "help" means it will never be enough. So the decision is made to take Esk to Unseen University (Granny claims to know it's location but she wouldn't be where she was if she ever admitted ignorance of anything). Naturally the two of them have a few obstacles to overcome and it's no surprise when Esk and Granny are separated only to eventually meet again in Ankh-Morpork. Esk learns a painful lesson in how the Discworld works and more specifically the world of the wizards but Granny long ago learnt how to get what she wanted and this serves Esk well as she interacts with the domestic staff of the University as well as the latest initiate "Simon" who is a bit of a prodigy but alas has drawn the attention of the denizens of the Dungeon Dimensions...
Equal Rites is the first of the novels to really reflect how Terry writes in the years to come, there is still a long way to go but it's impossible not to rate the novel highly and is a very entertaining and easy read.
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