This is the third Discworld book but the first in the Witches series. Some readers find the Rincewind books (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic) a bit harder to start with. And, luckily, this book delivers all of the Discworld basics so that readers aren't short any information. You learn about the structure of Discworld -- a flat disc of earth and water on the back of four massive elephants who stand on the back of A'Tuin, the great turtle. You learn about Ankh-Morpork, the large city of grime and crime. And finally, you learn about witches and wizards.
We also get to meet Esk (Eskarina Smith), who shows up again in I Shall Wear Midnight, so also I find it's nice to know her already before that time comes. Traditionally, the eighth son of a eighth son will become a wizard. Esk is the eighth daughter of a eighth son and somehow, bucking tradition, she inherits a staff and, consequently, powers from a dying wizard on the day she is born.
Equal Rites (obviously a play on the words "equal rights") establishes the lore about witches and wizards (did I just say "lore'?! ::gulp::), and especially the traditional roles of women (witches) and men (wizards). Different characters react in different ways to Esk and her desire to become a wizard. The narrow confines of gender roles are explored again in the Tiffany Aching series when one male character shows aptitude toward being a witch.
Was this your first time reading Equal Rites? Did you like it?
Who was your favorite character?
Would you rather be a witch or a wizard?
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below or leave a link to your own post!