Review of Monstrous Regiment

Monstrous RegimentMonstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is really good, but I had to think about it a minute to come to that decision. See, it’s just not as laugh-out-loud funny as other Discworld novels. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t good and it also doesn’t mean there’s not humor, cause there is.

This book is about Polly Perks, of Borogravia, a country constantly at war with other countries – this time it’s with Zlobenia. Ankh-Morpork is aiding Zlobenia and Borogravia is losing, but they don’t know it or at least they refuse to admit it. The country worships a crazy god named Nuggan who issues weekly Abominations (babies, the color blue, etc) that the people either try to dutifully follow or discretely ignore. There’s also a grand matriarch — The Dutchess — although no one has seen her alive in years. But people pray to her.

Polly’s bother joined the army a year ago and she doesn’t know what’s become of him, so she cuts her hair, puts trousers on, and goes off to join the army herself to find her brother. Since everyone’s already fighting, there aren’t many eligible young men left to join the army, so it’s little surprise then that joining her are a troll, a vampire, an “Igor,” two very “special” friends who are inseparable, someone who turns out to be a pregnant girl, and a religious zealot. Leading them is Lieutenant Blouse, a desk jockey, and Sergeant Jackrum, my favorite character in the book.

As the “regiment” goes off to war, they come across some Zlobenians and capture them, one of whom is their prince disguised as a captain. This gains them unwanted fame and ensures that everyone is soon out looking for them. And they just want to get to the front lines. There are lots of humorous scenes as this takes place and Polly soon discovers secrets everyone else is hiding. In the end, though, this book takes a satirical look at the idiocy of war, as well as the idiocy of some organized religions. Pratchett doesn’t hold back. Naturally, Polly and her cohorts save the day and save the country, but while doing so at the end of the book, there are some pretty big surprises, which I guess I should have seen coming, but didn’t. My only complaint about the book, without trying to give away too many secrets, is Pratchett has someone say if women ruled, there wouldn’t be any wars. But that’s not the case here. So it’s not true. Pity. I guess he overlooked that. Still, this is a very satisfying novel to read and I heartily recommend it.

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2 thoughts on “Review of Monstrous Regiment

  1. I love Pratchett. I remember the main plot of this one, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read it. Reading your review made me curious to see what I’d pick up the second time around. Think I’ll re-read it after I’m done with Raising Steam.


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