Monstrous Regiment- by Terry Pratchett
Review by Jacqui Slaney
As I have said in other reviews, I have read many of the Discworld novels and do have my definite favourites that I have read countless times. I had read this novel when it came out, but it was not until I recently reread it that I realised how good it was, this is the description:
Polly Perks had to become a boy in a hurry. Cutting off her hair and wearing trousers was easy. Learning to fart and belch in public and walk like an ape took more time . . . Now she is enlisted in the army and searching for her lost brother.
However, there is a war on. There is always a war on. And Polly and her fellow recruits are suddenly in the thick of it, without any training, and the enemy is hunting them. All they have on their side is the most artful sergeant in the army and a vampire with a lust for coffee. Well . . . They have the Secret. And as they take the war to the heart of the enemy, they have to use all the resources of . . . the Monstrous Regiment.
The story is set in a small country called Borogravia that is always in a state of war with its neighbours. Men are MIA everywhere and there is little to country about from his army and its belief in its ruler the Duchess. After her brother disappears, Polly decides to leave the family Inn and join the army disguised as a boy. She signs up with Sergeant Jackrum and his squad of new recruits, among whom are one reformed vampire (only drinks coffee), an Igor, and a religious fanatic who talks to a pocket-sized picture of the Duchess. It soon becomes obvious there is something a little different about these latest recruits, who do not only use socks for keeping their feet warm, but Jackrum will look after them and has promised that nothing will happen to his boys.
Many reviews say this is slower than the other books in the series and is not so good because of that. This to me though had the feel of The Night Watch, as it is a bit darker with a slight edge to the humour, as always though the writing is intelligent and you are shown the horrors of war in a subtle thought provoking way.
You have a few characters from the other books such as Vimes who is an observer for Ankh Morpork and you have William de Worde as the war reporter. But the main characters are the squad. Each of them does have its own story, and my only complaint is that I would have liked to see some of them developed more.
I did like Jackrum who is an excellent character though, as is lieutenant Blouse, and the story is told through Polly, so you get her perspective on things, which is funny particularly when she is appointed as Blouse’s batman.
This is another good book if you haven’t read any of the other Discworld novels and I would recommend it.
8 out of 10