Monstrous Regiment is the latest Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, in which a woman joins the army in disguise and learns much in the process. I think I can best sum up my attitude toward this book by saying that Chad suggested a strong criticism of the ending, and I just don’t feel like re-reading to see whether I think he’s correct. (As a plot matter, the ending is rather over the top. Chad’s criticism is on the story level.)
It’s not a bad book by any means. I didn’t hate it, and it didn’t actively annoy me. But little things poked at me all the way through, and at the end, I had a strong feeling of artifice. Things served obvious plot purposes, and that plot function was my strongest impression of them: “oh, that’s why this is here, it gives them the way to escape” (or whatever). Their existence made sense independent of their plot function, when I stopped and thought, but I had to stop and think—I didn’t instinctively feel like they were an organic part of the whole. Put another way, I saw the book as a jigsaw puzzle rather than a painting—a completed jigsaw puzzle, to be sure, but with the lines between the pieces still visible.
I have no idea if that makes sense.
There are good things about the book. I really like the very ending, the last couple of pages. Some of the characters are very engaging; there was one in particular that I was pleased to see given more dimension than I expected. But overall Monstrous Regiment makes me want to re-read Night Watch and see why I thought it didn’t quite cohere, because right now the two don’t seem comparable at all.