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Monstrous Regiment

(Discworld #31)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  54,767 ratings  ·  1,612 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Monstrous Regiment, war has come once again to the realm. Polly Perks, an unassuming barmaid from Borogravia, cuts her hair, pretends to be a young man, and joins the army in hopes of finding her brother Paul, who marched off to war a year ago and hasn't been heard from in months. But once in uniform, she ge
ebook, 416 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published September 25th 2003)
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Mark Bright Actually, you might. Generally, I agree wholeheartedly with what the other guys say here, that it doesn't matter, BUT on this specific occasion I can…moreActually, you might. Generally, I agree wholeheartedly with what the other guys say here, that it doesn't matter, BUT on this specific occasion I can say that I read Monstrous Regiment a good while back having not read any of the others and really enjoyed it. Someone just saw it in a second-hand bookshop and thought the cover artwork looked cool so they gave me it out of the blue. As I said I really liked it. HOWEVER, I am now in the process of reading through (and absolutely loving) all of Discworld in order, a process begun in part by having read this book a few years back. So, I have just finished this book again, and have to say that I enjoyed it a lot more knowing more about Vimes, Angua and the Watch, Trolls and Vampires and just knowing that little bit more about lots of little references which whilst not essential to the story make it, I think, even more fun. So Yes and No! The brilliant thing is that I could re-read it as I have done and get the best of both worlds.
Ah, but now I see this question is a year old – sorry! You have probably read it by now and worked all that out for yourself. ☹(less)
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4.21  · 
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 ·  54,767 ratings  ·  1,612 reviews

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Pratchett addresses two questions here: (1) “Do you think it's possible for an entire nation to be insane?” and (2) Does - and, more importantly, should - a well-placed pair of socks (for 'certain' sort of padding) make a difference?
“The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it.”
As far as Discworld series is concerned, this book can be easily read as a standalone novel. It brings us to the little backwards countr
L.J. Smith
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second most-frequently read of my favorite Terry Pratchett books, the first being Night Watch, which helped get me through the death of my mother. My latest copy of Monstrous Regiment is so battered and dog-eared that it’s falling apart. From sentence number one I was riveted and if you are wondering whether you should read this book, the short answer is yes, turn your cursor right now to a new tab and order it, or even better jog out to your local (probably half an hour away) bookst ...more
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Five stars really aren't enough.

I think this might be my favorite Terry Pratchett book. I've read it at least 3-4 times, and re-reading it today, I'm delighted to discover that it's every bit as good as before.

As an added bonus, this book would be easier for new readers of Pratchett to pick up. There are a few characters from previous books, but they only have very brief cameo appearances. Other than that the book is pretty much self contained....


Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yer mom wears army boots!

Men and women, women and men. Men without women, women doing just fine without men.

Terry Pratchett’s 31st Discworld novel, first published in 2003, is somewhat of a departure from the other series. We see Sam Vimes and some members of his watch and there are distant grumblings about Ankh-Morpork, but this is for the most part a stand alone about the small, proud truculent nation of Borogravia.

This struggling nation state is foundering after decades or centuries of warfar
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
There was always a war. Usually they were border disputes, the national equivalent of complaining that the neighbor was letting their hedge grow too long. Sometimes they were bigger. Borogravia was a peace-loving country in the midst of treacherous, devious, warlike enemies. They had to be treacherous, devious, and war-like, otherwise we wouldn't be fighting them, eh? There was always a war.

The Night Watch goes to War! Or, at least, that was my expectation before I started the novel. Only thin
That'd been almost a year ago, when any recruiting party that came past went away with the best part of a battalion, and there had been people waving them off with flags and music. Sometimes, now, smaller parties of men came back. The lucky ones were missing only one arm or one leg. There were no flags.

It's hard finding soldiers when you're always at war. Especially when you're fighting a war that you may not be winning.

Eventually, you end up taking whatever you can get...trolls, vampires, even.
Kaethe Douglas
January 10, 2017
March 22, 2015
January 1, 2004

I'm fond of stories about girls dressing as boys in order to do something they would otherwise be prohibited from. Very funny.

Library copy
Mar 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humor, e-books
It is an amazing coincidence that my 31st Discworld novel is #31 since I have focused on the City Watch series, the Tiffany Aching series, and the recent, more humorous books.

In this one, Sir Terry's prime focus on the follies of war. The aging but much experienced Sergeant Jackrum is recruiting soldiers because most have been captured or killed, even though his side is supposedly winning. Only misfits are left -- those wanting to escape their dreary or worse lives. So, he ends up with a vampire
Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett deals with several of the seven deadly sins, namely pride, greed and wrath. Also "lesser" sins like stupidity, ignorance, misogyny and bigotry. It's a wonderful book!

“The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it.”

It's also very funny.

"Forget you were ever Polly. Think young male, that was the thing. Fart loudly and with self-satisfaction at a job well done, move like a puppet that’
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, fantasy
Ahh.. thank goodness for GR reviews.

Why, you ask?

Because I'm about to besmirch an author I adore. And I'm glad to be following in other footsteps that had a similar hill to conquer.

I don't love this book. I just don't. Mr. Pratchett has a gentle and funny way of adding real world elements to his books, poking fun at some pretty difficult moral issues. And yet this book seemed too heavy-handed, too obvious, and too repetitive.

Once upon a time I considered myself a feminist. That was before husban
**edit 11/26/13
Born in the war-torn, misogynistic country of Borogravia, Polly Perks has grown up with the folksong echoing in the back of her mind. Perhaps, then, it is only natural that when her brother goes missing in action, Polly decides to use the song's example to find her brother. She cuts her hair, practices her swagger, and, equipped with a strategically-placed pair of socks, sets off to enlist. Of course, after countless years of war, Borogravia recruitment is scraping the bottom of t
Monstrous Regiment is the third book in the Industrial Revolution subseries of Discworld.

The book starts off with our main character, Polly, transforming herself into Oliver. Yep, she’s chopping off her hair and dressing up like a boy so she can go and enlist in the military. She lives in a small country that’s always at war with its neighbors. Women here are not allowed to dress like men or fight. It is, along with many other things such as cats and chocolate, an Abomination to their god.

Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, fiction, humor
“The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it.”

I really enjoyed this - it was funny from beginning to end. And it also had some good things to say :)
It seems that every genre fan worth the name should read at least one Pratchett novel. I find the large body of works devoted to Discworld rather intimidating, which is why Monstrous Regiment is one of the few Discworld novels that I have read. With the exception of a few preexisting characters, this novel stands well on it’s own. Above and beyond that, I was drawn to this book because it is about women disguising themselves as men--and I have a weakness for stories about crossdressing heroines. ...more
May 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardcore Discworld fans but its not for newbies
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: A life long discworld affection
Shelves: read-in-2011
Normally I would include a Pratchett book on my "clear-unparalled-genius" shelf but this one is not getting a spot on there. I've read everything that Pratchett has written (Discworld, Gaimen collaborations, plus the Diggers/Truckers/Wings books and other discworld spin-offs) and while this book is clever in the trademark Pratchett way, the story is less funny because it is closer to the real world than many of the others in the series. The charm of the Discworld is that normally its like lookin ...more
first third was a slog, second flew by, last was grand.
Anna Stephens
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This must be the fourth or fifth time I've read it and, yep, still five stars.
Patriarchy, religion, government, 'acceptable' behaviour, women in combat, women in power - all of it put under Pratchett's unique laser focus, the lies and absurdities pared away until we see them for what they are.
A masterpiece.
Johann Coetzer
This book was really a wonderful read, it just shows that gender diversity is important and in some places it is more needed than in others.
Now I have seen that some people here did not give this book such a great review. It does boggle my mind as to why they have given three stars or less.
The biggest thing to remember is that the books of Terry Pratchett does have a reading order and follows a story line and should by all means not be read in publication order.
In all I can not say to much on th
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dead-tree, overrated
(view spoiler) It's a plot gimmick that never gets old, even after the tenth surprise reveal!

Haha, uh, NO.

I'm sure his fans would tell me this wasn't the best Pratchett to start with. My choices are always so BAD for highly-rated authors! ;D

His humor isn't exactly a ha-ha kind of funny. More a very quiet kind of funny. So quiet I missed it entirely.
Aug 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Pratchett. Full of gems and wonderful lines. I look forward to reading more of his stuff.
Book Wyrm
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-a-tuin
In the ludicrously pious and backwards country of Borogravia, Polly has done a Mulan and gone to war with padded trousers and a name change to search for her missing brother, somehow finding herself in a troop that includes a vampire, a troll, an Igor and a gigantic sergeant who refuses to die.

There's a few apparent deus ex machina's in here, which do get explanations but still feel a wee bit stretched, though not enough to really annoy the hell out of me, and the characters, especially the suav
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Confession time: The first time I read Monstrous Regiment, when it was released in 2003, I didn't like it. As a big fan of the City Watch, I resented that we were teased with cameos from Vimes and Angua but we didn't see their characters evolve, and I thought the ending was too contrived. From the sidelines, I watched my fellow fans EXPLODE with love for the book and produce reams of fanart and fanfic, never participating myself. I made a mental note to maybe give it another go, but I never got ...more
An Odd1
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun, fantasy
Polly "Perks" blonde Borogravian barmaid cuts her braids, practices her belching and swaggering, and joins tobacco-chewer legendary Sergeant Jack Jackrum's little lads. Perks seeks her big slow-witted brother Paul, one of the many missing In-and-out troopers. "Shufti" Manickle seeks "Dear John".

"Tonker" Halter keeps close to and restrains pyromaniac pal "Lofty" Tewt. Vampire Maladict is addicted to coffee instead of blood. Frail "Wazzer" Goom prays, more fervently than the average citizen, and
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, fantasy, humor
One of Pratchett’s best, a later work with polished writing and a sensible plot. Pratchett goes full on feminist and anti-war with this one. Great characters and observations, as usual. It is a stand-alone Discworld book, with some beloved Ankh-Morpork characters making cameos. Great fun and very relevant today.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discworld
One day.

That's what it took me to read this book. I've read other books in one day, but allow me to give you some context. I'm currently on a restricted diet to prepare for an upcoming screening to ensure my cancer is still in remission. This diet leads to a loss of energy and makes me sleep a lot. I picked up this book when I got out of bed on Sunday and stayed up until just after midnight reading it (to be fair, I didn't read the entire time, but I needed to complete the book before going to b
I really enjoyed this - Terry Pratchett really just got it. And by "it" I mean, well, pretty much everything. Brilliant & witty, and very clever. I found it a little long though, a little too padded. I don't know if it's because I'm in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, but this took me way longer than it should have to read, mostly because I didn't feel the momentum I was looking for. I think this one will deserve a re-read down the track, when I'm back in my groove.
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this one, and not just because Commander Sam Vimes and the City Watch were lurking about backstage throughout.
4.5 stars

This one is interesting - unlike many of the Discworld books, the story doesn't take place in it's usual settings of Ankh Morpork, with the three witches, etc. (though there are a few familiar 'faces' who show up along the way), or with the familiar cast of characters. This story takes place in a small country called Borgrovia, that has been more or less constantly at war with it's neighbours for centuries. After so many years of war, the country's population has been decimated, with m
Wow, as a one off (although Vimes & Angua play a watching role), I was not expecting this to be one of my favorites, which it now totally is. Pratchett puts his own twist on the War Novel, a la Quiet on the Western Front or Storm of Steel, but with a very feminist angle. Or humanist. Although that doesn't totally apply to this book either since it's rough being a female vampire or Igor or troll too.

In the basically failed nation of Borogravia, ruled by a (probably dead) Duchess, no one sees
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, i

Other books in the series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 42 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1)
  • Mort (Death, #1; Discworld, #4)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1)
“The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it.” 1019 likes
“Do you think it's possible for an entire nation to be insane?” 717 likes
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