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Terry Pratchett – I Shall Wear Midnight

February 21, 2011

20. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (2010)
Tiffany Aching, Book 4

Read my review of book:
1. The Wee Free Men
2. A Hat Full of Sky
3. Wintersmith

Read By: Stephen Briggs
Length: 9h 47m (367 pages)

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Started: 02 February 2011
Finished: 06 February 2011

Where did it come from? Bought it from iTunes.
Why do I have it? Ach, crivens! How can ye even ask a girl that?

What’s a witch to do
when even her closest friends
no longer trust her?

Summary: Tiffany Aching was once a sheep farmer’s daughter with a knack for making cheese, and is now The Witch for all the people of The Chalk, and the Hag of the Hills for her ever-present companions, the six-inch-tall rowdy Nac Mac Feegles. Tiffany’s gotten used to what being The Witch means in practical terms – she’s young, but she’s certainly adept at all of the things it falls upon The Witch to do – but she’s still not quite accustomed to what being The Witch means in personal terms. People she’s known her whole life – even her family! – are treating her differently now, and not always for the better. But their thoughts are not always their own, for it turns out that when Tiffany kissed the Winter, she accidentally woke up an old and twisted power… one with a special dislike of witches.

Review: I don’t know what more I can say in praise of the Tiffany Aching series that I haven’t already said at least twice. They’re brilliant! They’re imaginative and entertaining! They’re bust-a-gut funny in places and heart-wrenching in others! They have the most sensible attitude about life that I’ve ever encountered in fiction! These are the books that converted me into a full-fledged Pratchett-o-phile, and I’m terribly sad that there aren’t going to be more of them.

I Shall Wear Midnight is a worthy addition to the series, and is tied with A Hat Full of Sky for my favorite – although they’re all really, really good. As the series has progressed, the focus has shifted from heavily magical to more about regular life – not coincidentally, at the same time that Tiffany is learning how much of what people call magic is made up of regular life. On the one hand, this is somewhat unfortunate, since it means the Nac Mac Feegles get less and less screen time as the series wears on, but Tiffany herself is such an appealing and relatable narrator that it’s easy to forgive the shift. I loved watching her deal with growing up, and coming in to her own, and having to navigate not only magical problems but also interpersonal ones.

Any quibbles? There were a few details that were added in to the story but not utilized to their full potential, and I did think that the ending felt a little too rushed, and somehow too easy – it would have been more compelling if Tiffany were actually a little less sure of herself and a little more in danger. But regardless, I enjoyed listening to every second of this book (Stephen Briggs did a wonderful job with the narration, as always), and am now really sorely tempted to go back to The Wee Free Men and start over. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Everyone. Certainly everyone who’s read the first three books, although Pratchett does a pretty good job summing up what’s come before. But I’d recommend the series as a whole to adults and young adults alike who like their heroines intelligent, down-to-earth, and competent; their fairy folk six inches tall, blue, and with a thick Scottish burr; and their stories entertaining, smart, hilarious, and heartfelt.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Book Chic Club, Books Before Bed, Chasing Bawa, Jacket & Spine, Just Add Books
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: Why was it, Tiffany Aching wondered, that people liked noise so much?

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2011 7:45 am

    Your review has made me want to go back and re-read the series from the start again! There’s just something really wise about Pratchett’s novels which we can all relate to. I think that’s what I like, even though it’s fantasy.

  2. February 21, 2011 8:01 am

    See? You did find a way to express the awesomeness :D

    • February 22, 2011 10:06 am

      Nymeth – Yeah, I guess I did, although I get the feeling that if you took this review and put it in a blender, you could then reconstitute the entirety of my other 3 reviews for this series from its constituent parts. :)

  3. February 21, 2011 11:44 am

    Such a fun series! I enjoyed this book last year.

    • February 22, 2011 10:07 am

      Kailana – Agreed! Now I have to figure out which of Pratchett’s other books can possibly live up to these.

  4. February 21, 2011 2:15 pm

    Ooh…I’ve been looking for new series to read, and I love Pratchett’s Discworld…all right, off to the library website to request The Wee Free Men!

    • February 22, 2011 10:09 am

      Cheryl – Hooray! I bet you’re going to love them! These are technically Discworld novels as well (overlapping mainly with the Witches books), although they can totally be read independently as well (as I did).

      • February 22, 2011 11:27 pm

        Good to know, and now I’m even more excited about them! I’ve mostly read the Night Watch books from the Discworld series, so diving into another segment of the population sounds great. :)

  5. February 21, 2011 3:28 pm

    I keep reading wonderful things about Pratchett’s work – I think I need to get hold of one of her books and read it soon!

    • February 22, 2011 10:15 am

      bermudaonion – The Tiffany Aching books are great, but might be a little too much fantasy for your tastes… I’d recommend you start with Pratchett’s Nation, which is equally great but a more real-world setting.

  6. February 21, 2011 11:23 pm

    Great, great book. It was my favourite read for last year.

    • February 22, 2011 10:16 am

      Elfy – It’s definitely in the running for my Pick of the Month for February… although it’s been a great month, so I think there might be a three- or four-way tie. :)

  7. February 26, 2011 12:18 pm

    I just finished this one and loved it, too. I did kind of wish for more Feegles, as you did, but still, it was great. This is definitely my favorite subseries of the Discworld books!

    • March 1, 2011 10:40 am

      Jill – I pretty much always want more Feegles… in books, at least. I think they’d be kind of disruptive in real life. :)

  8. March 6, 2011 5:39 pm

    I’ve never even heard of this series!! Now I need to read them all, right now.

  9. March 14, 2011 6:33 pm

    Okay, I just finished The Wee Free Men yesterday and I am in LOVE!!! Fortunately for me the library I’m sitting in right now has a copy of A Hat Full of Sky, so away I go :)

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