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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slow start, but another winner
The premise of this book is a simple one using the familiar story of a girl dressing as a boy. In Monstrous Regiment the heroine sets out to join the army to discover what has happened to her brother. The story looks at her induction into her regiment and their activities in the war.
If that doesn't sounds much like a Terry Pratchett novel, that's what I was...
Published on 8 Nov 2003 by Andy Barkham

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but...
A bit slow to start with, but it got better. It has 'cameo' appearances by some older established customers. It was a good book but I enjoyed 'Night Watch' a lot more.
Published on 21 Nov 2003 by dwein22


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slow start, but another winner, 8 Nov 2003
By 
Andy Barkham "pandion1" (1picard) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The premise of this book is a simple one using the familiar story of a girl dressing as a boy. In Monstrous Regiment the heroine sets out to join the army to discover what has happened to her brother. The story looks at her induction into her regiment and their activities in the war.
If that doesn't sounds much like a Terry Pratchett novel, that's what I was beginning to think by a third of the way through the book. Up to that point, although the story was told with a great deal of wit and humour, it just didn't have the Pratchett magic. However, the latter two thirds of the book are just what I have come to expect from the master of comic fantasy.
While there are very few of the old, favourite characters here, new ones are introduced which I hope will appear again. Pratchett neatly sidesteps the trap of creating a "war is hell" homily, instead giving us an extremely funny look at women in a mans world. On the way, he pastiches the angst of the Vietnam films and I'm sure it is no coincidence that the book spotlights a country which just can't seem to stop from picking fights with all its neighbours (the timing of the book after the activities of the last year is superb).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now isn't that interesting?, 28 Oct 2003
By A Customer
A Terry Pratchett, and more, a Discworld, that isn't automatically funny. There were none of those bizarre ideas or wry comments that characterized the earlier books, nor those hilarious little lines, as in Night Watch. A changing author... It is worth reading, it really is, even though not everyone may get the humour or the point of the story at once. If you're one of those people, I advise you to read it again. Not a five star, because it felt like he was still getting to grips with this new style, but worth four, because it was interesting and amusing. I just wish we knew what had happened to start this change...
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70 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett's back on top form. War has never been so wild!, 27 Sep 2003
By 
K. C. Nicholls "kcn8" (London) - See all my reviews
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Monstrous Regiment, Pratchett's latest opus is everything we've come to expect from the master of humorous fantasy!
Tapping away like a demon, he's produced another slice of Discworld, and it's got cherries in it. And almonds on the top. In fact, it's dundee cake, AND it's served on a doily.
This book centres on a new character, Polly Perks, who marches off to war with a spring in her step, a new line in curses and a pair of socks in an interesting place.
The story follows her fate as she marches on, away from her home, through a lot of mud and rain and, hopefully, on into the history books.
There are lots of new characters (did anyone order an Igor????) and some great cameo's from staunch old favourites (don't look at me, I didn't invite them! <g>!). There's also a generous helping of that old convoluted logic that confounds and amazes old Pratchettians!
Basically It's pure Pratchett at its best. I highly recommend it to any Pratchett fans, and even to those strange beings who have yet to fall under this writers spell - it's a great novel and very accessible to all readers, young, old or undead.
Happy reading!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book would have annoyed Knox - full marks, 25 May 2004
By A Customer
I'm sure that John Knox, back in the 16th century, would have been made apoplectic by this story - which is all to the good. His 'First blast of the trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women', aimed at Elizabeth of England (and other powerful women of the time such as Mary of Scotland and Catherine de Medici of France) purported to show how women in authority were unnatural and forbidden by (Christian) scripture. While he was only a product of his time (and a disordered spleen, I suspect) it's a theme gently and enjoyably parodied in the great TP's latest (adult) work.
Here's to many more Discworld stories
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is that a cutlass in your pocket or...oh, yes it is., 23 Oct 2003
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
First of all, Monstrous Regiment is the 28th Discworld book, and Pratchett is just getting started. Every time you think he has run out of ideas, he comes up with something new (or an interesting take on something old). This book is no different, as this time he examines the military and the military mindset. Is it a good one? SIR, YES SIR!
This is another winning Discworld book. It's a bit different in tone from Night Watch, if only because the humour is broader. In Night Watch, the humour was on the side and it was a fairly serious book except for that. This has a serious point to make as well, but the humour involves everybody. It was refreshing to see. Pratchett has some good points to make on military matters in the real world, and he skewers the entire mindset (not necessarily of the men, who he never really disparages, but the planners).
He does have the obvious stereotypes of the hard drill sergeant and the lieutenant who doesn't really know what he's doing and has no experience. But even these stereotypes he turns on their heads, shakes them upside down, and looks at what comes out. Pratchett, always a master of character, has created some new winners (though I don't believe they'll be back in another book, like some of Pratchett's recurring characters). Polly is the typical Pratchett hero: determined, relatively straight-laced, intelligent and resourceful. She's a wonderful viewpoint character, scared but determined to do what is right. When she's assigned to be the lieutenant's assistant, she's reluctant to take advantage of the position, though she does so to help out her mates. She helps Lieutenant Blouse along, though she's terrified of shaving him because she's never learned how to shave herself.
Probably the best character in the book, though, is Jackrum. He reminds me a lot of Sam Vimes from the City Watch books, but with a different edge to him. He's a soldier and nothing else. He doesn't want to be an officer. He doesn't want to be a civilian. He wants to do his job, keep his lads safe, and bring them home. He doesn't like sneaking around and doing things different from the army way, and he's horrified when Blouse wants to use subterfuge to get into the castle they're supposed to take. He's a man of duty, honour, and integrity, and while he's always rough on his men, he also respects them. Of course, we find out there's a reason behind the man he is, which is what really cuts him apart from Vimes.
The other characters are standout even if they aren't developed that much. There's the religious zealot who constantly speaks to "The Duchess," (the figure who, much like Queen Victoria, hasn't been seen much since her husband died, and who many feel is actually dead). There are a couple of fire-bugs who ran away from where they were being held. The best of this bunch, however, is the vampire (Maladict) and the latest in a long string of Igors in a Discworld book. Maladict has sworn off blood in order to be accepted in society, and has developed an addiction to coffee instead. He's the only one that seems, at least initially, to know what's going on. When the coffee runs out, look out! Igor is much the same as most of his brethren, handy with a surgical knife and internal organs. Both of these characters add some sparkle when they're on the page, as well as a lot of laughs.
There are a few well-known Discworld characters in the book to add colour as well. William de Worde (the journalist from The Truth) and his photographer vampire Otto, make an appearance. I'm surprised that they weren't "embedded" with the troops, but that may have been a bit obvious. Pratchett does use them to make some statements about the Press in wartime, and how wars are reported. Samuel Vimes and a couple of his watchmen are also included, though they don't have a major part. I think Vimes is included mainly as a counterpoint for Jackrum's character, and he does a good job of that. He's also a voice of reason in a sea of insanity (Polly's adrift in that sea, so she doesn't count).
The best thing about Pratchett is that he is entertaining and thought-provoking even when you might not agree with him. Given some of the things he makes light of, I may be able to guess what his opinion is on the recent war in Iraq. However, even if you don't agree with him, he will make you think. And he will make you laugh, which is the most important part. He also touches on gender and religious issues, all in one book. The fact that he's able to make interesting points without seeming like a scattershot approach says something about Pratchett's writing.
Monstrous Regiment is a return of sorts to Pratchett's previous style of combining humour and social commentary. It's another must-read for any Pratchett fan.
David Roy
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51 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monstrous Regiment, 27 Sep 2003
By 
As with 'Night Watch', this Discworld novel could probably be read apart from the others as no prior knowledge of characters or events is needed. New characters are introduced, some of which are hilarious... The plot itself is, in my opinion, excellent - and the execution as perfect as ever. It's (again, like 'Night Watch') slightly 'darker' than his previous Discworld novels, but is liberally laced with comedy nonetheless. Laugh? Don't read it with broken ribs... Buy it, read it, love it.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett's Current Events Commentary, 31 Oct 2003
By 
D. Wright (Clapham, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The latest Discworld novel from the legendary Terry Pratchett takes on the very topical issue of war, and certainly recent events have clearly had some effect on this tale.
The book centres on a young woman named Polly who lives in the little-known state of Borogravia, a state that seems to be in a perpetual... well state of war. Polly goes in search of her brother who joined the army, and in doing so joins the army herself, but only by disguising herself as a boy.
The tale then recounts her squad, a collection of new recruits with secrets of their own, and their adventures in seeking to fight for Borogravia.
The book contains the usual Pratchett humour, but in many ways is a departure from many of his previous books, focusing on much more political issues. In a way this is a hark back to his early days and Equal Rites. He clearly is making comments not just about sexual equality, but also about homophobia. The presence of women in the military, where there should be none, alludes to the presence of gays in the military, and the 'don't ask, don't tell' approach.
The work also examines the role of governments in war, and its effect on citizens. The views and opinions of the squad and the irrepressible Sergeant Jackrum (a re-made Vimes/Sergeant Colon - a fact that Pratchett does not hide by the cameo appearance of Vimes) are an attempt to illustrate the position that members of the military find themselves in. They do not want to kill or attack other soldiers, people like themselves, but they still have to.
Pratchett also cleverly shows how the press can affect wars by looking at individuals, rather than sides or states in a war, turning opinion back home and potentially affecting outcomes.
Of course these comments remain the background, not affecting the reader's enjoyment of a good old yarn. The book centres on a new group of characters, a welcome event in any Pratchett book. The characters are reminiscent of the early days of the Watch as featured in Guards, Guards. Pratchett doesn't avoid the similarities, but promotes them by having Vimes and Angua present, representing the change that has happened since their first appearance, with the relative inexperience and bumbling of Sergeant Jackrum's squad.
All in all, as with all Pratchett's outings, a good story, but with an interesting and topical commentary on states and war.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A maturing style, 4 Nov 2003
By 
Mr. David R. Press "Amdrammer" (Gosport, England) - See all my reviews
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Reading the other reviews leads me to a sad conclusion. Half of us are happy to mature with the writer but the other half yearn for the naivity of his earlier works. I only hope that that the latter half can be satisfied with his "younger audience" books such as Maurice, Wee Free Men and its forthcoming sequel, Hatful of Sky. These, I feel, continue the style of rapid fire humour associated with his earlier works. It appears though that even the more willing readers expect too much from a book introducing a new location and new characters. Those who bemoan a lack of depth or a 2-dimensionality about Polly and her regiment would do well to re-read Colour of Magic, Light Fantastic or Equal Rites with a fresh eye and see just how 2-dimensional our old favorites appeared at the start. COM and LF look like little more than pastiches of Fritz Leiber, albeit funny ones. The reason we all feel the familiar characters have greater depth is because Terry has had 30-odd books in which to flesh them out with greater detail and increasingly complex personalities.
Monstrous Regiment continues Terry's tradition of hitting us with a more challanging and reflective novel in amongst the levity of the other books. I can remember reading Small Gods for the first time and thinking "Whoa! This is a serious book." The same feeling hit me with Night Watch and, to a lesser degree, Jingo. Don't be put off by anyone who says Terry is going off-centre with this book. Read it and you will see that he is not just a funny writer. He is a really good one, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spare Socks Anyone?, 22 Nov 2004
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Monstrous Regiment: A Discworld Novel (Paperback)
There must be very little left that has not be said about the genius that is Terry Pratchett, no wonder he is England's best selling living author.
This book has a slightly different slant to it. It is about a young girl, Polly Perks who has her own reasons for going to the recruiting sergeant with a pair of socks pushed down her trousers and asking to join "This man's army". Included in her section are a set of misfits including an "Igor" and a reformed vampire and why not.
They all march off with their new sergeant who says he is determined to look after "my boys" and will not let any harm befall them . . .
There is a nice comic twist at the end of the book, maybe you will see it coming.
Many people try to imitate Pratchett. Take it from me it's impossible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, and to the point, Satyrical, 14 Jun 2004
By 
B. LaVictoire "B. Beneshe" (Brunswick, GA) - See all my reviews
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I noticed a few reviews that did not like this work, and I wanted to put my two cents in. I enjoyed this book a lot. Not as much as I enjoyed Night Watch, but still, I enjoyed it. For those who complained about it, this is SATYRE at it's best. Satyre is suppose to make fun and be against all things great and small. Pratchett has hit everything from one end of the universe to the other with his often biting wit. If you find this book, or any of his books 'Left Wing', might I recomend some of books from America's Bill O'Reilly, after all, you do not seem to have any humour at all.
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Monstrous Regiment: A Discworld Novel
Monstrous Regiment: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett (Paperback - 1 Oct 2004)
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