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Monstrous Regiment

(Discworld #31)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  65,929 ratings  ·  1,903 reviews
Polly Perks joins the Discworld army to find her brother Paul. "Ozzer" cuts off her blonde braids, dons male garb, belches, scratches, and masters macho habits - aided by well-placed pair of socks. The legendary and seemingly ageless Sergeant Jackrum accepts her plus a vampire, troll, zombie, religious fanatic, and two close "friends". The best man for the job may be a wom ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
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)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Start your review of Monstrous Regiment (Discworld, #31; Industrial Revolution, #3)
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 c
L.J. Smith
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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

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
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
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to Borogravia.
It is currently at war with Szlobenia. Well, Borogravia is always at war with someone. It has been at war with every single one of its neighours and with some of them even more than once. Why? Because they consider it their patriotic duty. Just like never giving up even if the only reason for their survival is that their enemy doesn't want to just senselessly slaughter them where they stand.
One Borogravian doesn't really care about the war. All she cares about is finding he
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.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, 2019-shelf, fantasy
Re-Read 12/10/19:

A delightful Discworld read that dives head first into a little country's war problem. Well, it's not really a problem, per se... in fact, it's almost done. As in fini. Kaput. With them the ultimate losers.

So you'd think, with all the men being dead and all, they'd be more welcoming of a bit of some added support. And I'm not talking bras... or AM I?

A very funny book. There are a few coffee drinking beasties here, a troll, and even an Igor(ina). It turns into a kinda Hogan's Her
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
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2020-tbr
3.5 stars rounded up to 4

I audibly snorted more times while reading this book than I did during all my other reads this year combined.

Pratchett tackles a lot of things in this book – nationalism, war, religion (including civili religion) and how it can be instrumentalized, the Army, and gender (especially gender equality) and with most of these, especially when tackling war, the Army, and nationalism, his humor and satire are outstanding in the best Pratchett manner.

At the same time, some aspect
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’
Melissa McShane
My first read of the year! I have a stack of newly-purchased books to read, but all of them are rather heavy, and I decided to alternate with lighter reading.

Note to self: Terry Pratchett only looks like light reading.

I didn't know why I selected this one at random, except I wanted a Discworld novel I hadn't read to death. About two sections in, I realized my subconscious had been talking to me. It is deeply surreal to read a book about a young woman who disguises herself as a man to join the ar
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
Michael Campbell
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is my third time reading this book, and I've decided that the few sentences I wrote last time were not nearly enough to describe my thoughts and feelings towards this book. This is one of the most genuinely funny and thought provoking books I've ever picked up. I've been thinking about it a lot lately in regard to it's thoughts on nationalism, and I often think the world would be a better place if more people read Discworld.

Nationalistic pride is just one topic discussed here, however. It's
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, fantasy
Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2019.

The small nation of Borogravia is at war, and has been at war, with just about everybody. The mad decrees of the Borogravian god Nuggan don't help. Polly needs her brother Paul back to help run the family's inn, so she disguises herself as a boy and joins up with the army. Her squad of recruits includes an Igor, a vampire, a troll, a few other traumatized young people and a tough-as-nails old sergeant named Jackrum, but they
**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.

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
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, library, 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 :)
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Polly Perks had to become a man in a hurry. Cutting her hair and donning men's clothes was easy. Learning fart and swear in public and to walk with a certain gait took a little longer. And all so she can find her brother Paul, who had gone to war a year ago and never returned. Aided by a pair of well placed socks Polly joins the army. After all, there is a war on. There's always war. The nation is in dire straights, willing to take just about anyone for the war effort. Next thing she knows Polly ...more
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
JJ 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
Anna Stephens
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
first third was a slog, second flew by, last was grand.
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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: fantasy, fun
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
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dead-tree
(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.
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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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 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1)
  • Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1)
  • 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)

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