I just finished my first Terry Patchett novel today! I am surprised that I had not read him before, but a web forum I go to suggested him, so I thought I would try him out. I chose Monstrous Regiment because on the back of the book it says: "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..." I thought that sounded funny, so I had to see what was going on. The problem with this novel is that there is a secret, and if I tell you what the secret is, it ruins the book. So, I have to do the best I can without revealing it.
The main character, and one of the strongest characters of the novel, is Polly. Her brother has gone missing while away fighting in one of the wars that is always raging in their world. In order to do this, she must first become a man in order to enlist in the army. She is living in a time when women were not able to do very many things, so being a man was the only way to go anywhere. Polly's quest for her brother, is of course important to the novel, but you soon learn that it is not central. What is central is the quest for her to understand that being a female means nothing, it is what she does as one that is important and she can be as good as or better as any man, any day. I liked that quality to the story.
My other favourite part of this book is why they are called The Monstrous Regiment. This is because while there are humans on their team, there is also a troll, a vampire, and an igor. Not to mention you meet a zombie servant and a werewolf sergeant. It has by far the most diverse cast of characters of most books I have read this year.
All in all, this novel teaches its readers what it is to be female and shows that in the most unbelievable odds they can come out in the end and be the best that they can be. If this doesn't tempt you, read it and find out what the "secret" is. You will be glad you did. :) At the same time, though, it was written by a male... so the lessons are not as big as what you might get from a female author!
I give this book a 5/5. Can't wait to read more books by him!
And I know it is a man, why I keep saying "she" is beyond me!