Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Reviews #9

Terry Pratchett - I Shall Wear Midnight

The latest in TP's Discworld series, although aimed at non adults in theory. Having read this book I can only surmise that the reason it's supposedly for the teen market is due to the age of the main character, she's just 16 (I think).

Tiffany Aching is a witch, partly because she read the books of fairy stories when she was a child and realised that as she wasn't born into nobility and didn't have the appropriate genetic make up to enable her to marry into royalty then being a witch was the next best thing, not that she's prematurally aged, wizened or warty (afterall witches have to grow up through teenage years as well as the best of us), there's also the fact that her grandmother was a witch.

This is the 4th discworld book to star Tiffany and Sir Terry threatens that it's also the last as she's grown up past the point of her being a suitable character for children's books, although I would debate that this is at all a children's book. At the start of this novel Tiffany has to deal with a neighbour who has beaten his 13 year old daughter so severely that she has miscarried her illegitimate child - a surprising story line for an adult book let alone one aimed at teenagers. And then to deal with such a subject matter with sensitivity and his usual humour - wow, Sir Terry is truly a force to be reckoned with.

The main gyst of the story is a century old witch hunter, who is after Tiffany and not only must she evade him in order to preserve her credibility amongst the older witches in the community but she must trap him in a way that leaves her and the other witches unscathed. Along the way there is the death of the baron, the succession of his son Roland, the (almost) courtship between Tiffany and a soldier in the old baron's employ and of course no story about Miss Aching would be complete without the Nac Mac Feegles - a band of tiny blue vaguely Scottish pictsies who live to fight and fight to live, they also possess a magical ability to rebuild what they've broken, although the King's Head pub did have to be renamed after they put it back together backwards (this was no simple act of generosity, they had completely and utterly trashed the building whilst trying to find the baron's son, beer was of course involved)

The title 'I shall wear midnight' comes from the fact that witches traditionally wear black, Tiffany, as she is only a young thing chooses to wear dark green, saying that she'll wear midnight when she's older.

Another great addition to the discworld series, long may Sir Terry continue.

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