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Monstrous Regiment
By Terry Pratchett

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Monstrous Regiment
A Discworld Novel
By Terry Pratchett
F. A. Thorpe - Charnwood Large Print Edition, (2003)
ISBN: 1-84395-073-1
Genre: Fantasy

Other Editions: Standard Print - Hardcover | Standard Print - Paperback

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - January 22, 2004

Polly Perks is not your normal soldier. For one thing, she's a girl. Secondly, she has a brain, and can read and write! With her brother lost somewhere 'out there', Polly is determined to find him, by any means necessary. In this case, this means disguising herself as a boy, changing her name to Oliver, and enlisting in the army. To carry off this charade she must cut her hair, learn to belch, and scratch like a boy.

Monstrous Regiment is one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, and it is full of all the quirks and creatures that have become the hallmarks of the Discworld series. So it is not surprising that Polly finds herself in a regiment peopled with not just people, but also trolls, a coffee addicted vampire, and other intriguing creatures.

After hearing that her brother, Paul, had been listed as missing in action (MIA) Polly begins to formulate her plan to track him down. She figures that if she joins the army, she'll be able to follow in her brother's path, and by this means she will discover what happened to him. Following his path she may well be doing, but it was not the path that she expected to follow. Her regiment is full of raw recruits, and they are the dregs of society - a fact that is not their fault. It is just that the war has dragged on for soooo long that all the good soldiers have long since been killed off or disabled defending their homeland of Borogravia. Despite the rawness of the regiment's membership, they are sent immediately into battle armed with not much more than a secret and a well-seasoned sergeant named Jackrum.

With over 30 books in the Discworld series (Monstrous Regiment is the 31st) , it can be a daunting task deciding which book to start with. Ponder no longer. The Monstrous Regiment is a wonderful introduction to the Discworld. It is a stand-alone book that not only offers readers a charming romp through the Discworld world, but it will also introduce you to the various religions, cultures, and political divisions of that world.

This is a fun book to read with a touch of social commentary. For example, the main way that Polly pulls off her transformation is to shove a roll of socks into her pants. That little bulge is all she needs to prove that she's a real man! A fact that Polly remarks upon on several occasions. This book also offers satirical commentaries on the futility of war and mindless religious fanaticism. One of the best 'characters' in this book is the god Nuggan, who is constantly updating his list of abominations. Some of the things that Nuggan has declared abominations include garlic, the color blue, and chocolate.

Monstrous Regiment is a wonderfully farcical book. Pratchett is a prolific writer who only seems to get better the more he writes. Polly is an energetic and memorable character, and her misadventures in 'this man's army' will keep you glued to the book from start to finish.


Monstrous Regiment can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of F. A. Thorpe - Charnwood.


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