by Terry Pratchett
“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
I'm sorry this is going to be a bit of a slapdash review of a book that is fading in my memory. Grad School has taken up all of my writing brain power.
So, Equal Rites. A wizard finds a blacksmith (who is a seventh son) whose wife is about to give birth to a seventh child. He bequeaths his powers to the child and dies before anyone informs him it is a girl. There has never been a female wizard before, and Granny Weatherwax, the no-nonsense village witch, is determined there never will be. Wizard and witch magic are too different. Wizard magic is all about flashy power and equations and making things happen. Witch magic is about rhythms and nature and asking for things to happen. Women shouldn't be wizards, just as men should not be witches. So Granny Weatherwax trains Esk (the girl) as a witch. Helped by the dead wizard's forcefully opinionated and loyal staff (the stick, not the group of people) Esk and Granny soon realize that wizardry might be Esk's only option if she wishes to not wreak havoc.
This book had all of Pratchett's wit and charm with very little of his meandering. He pretty much kept with Esk and Granny's story, and their journey to Ank Morpork to the Unseen University, and their ensuing battles. I quite enjoyed its simplicity!
It actually seemed like a little story-let. You have the origin story, the journey to the magic school, and right when you think the training montage is going to begin, Pratchett drops the final battle on you.
I think I liked Granny Weatherwax's transformation more than Esk's. Granny starts out very set in her ways, thinking cities were dens of iniquity, and always wearing black simple clothes. After a while, she begins to loosen up, and then ends up having the most fantastic battle of them all! Very Sword in the Stone. And her ensuing relationship with her opponent is one of the delights of the book.
Esk, and her compatriot Simon, have a weird, metaphysical, philosophical final battle that I still don't completely understand. About how not using magic is the real magic. No idea.
Any Granny Weatherwax fans should definitely read it, though! This is her first appearance in the Discworld series.