For the 3rd Discworld novel Terry Pratchett keeps his background setting but dispenses with previous lead Rincewind and introduces witch Granny Weatherwax (with some exceptions most Discworld novels seem to revolve around a lead of either Rincewind, Granny Weatherwax, or Sam Vimes and the City Watch), with her reluctant tutorage of female wizard Esk leading to a journey to the city of Ankh-Morpork and a confrontation with the Lovecraftian 'Things' from the Dungeon Dimensions.
Equal Rites is a noticeable step-up in writing style from Pratchett -this is a proper novel with character development, a beginning, middle and end, rather than the (admittedly hugely enjoyable) string of satirical fantasy incidence that made-up the first two Discworld novels. Make no mistake, this is still a very funny read, but Pratchett now allows enough room to allow the characters to breathe, and even when the jokes are slack there's plenty to admire in Pratchett's use of language ("The storm walked around the hills on legs of lightening, shouting and grumbling" etc). Its not entirely without fault - the real joy of this novel is watching Esk grow in her abilities (including some memorable 'borrowings' of other animals bodies) and Granny's dilemma over which magical path to send her down - the later adventure story hook of over ambitious trainee wizard Simon and his inadvertent summoning of the Things From the Dungeon Dimensions is rather slight, and the way every situation is overcome by Esk's inherited magical staff rather than Esk herself is a little too convenient.
Still, a good solid first outing for Granny Weatherwax, and a highly enjoyable romp in it's own right. Recommended.