Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Shall Wear Midnight review, and a bit about the Discworld

If you've ever read any of the discworld books by Terry Pratchett, then you already know what a good book this man can write.  He has written many books in the discworld series, and I've enjoyed all of them.  Of course, like any series, I have my favorites within the lot.  Some of my favorites of his are oddly enough, his Young Adult entries into the discworld series.  There are now four books about Tiffany Aching, a young girl who decided she was going to be a witch when she was 8 years old.  Events all lined up for her to  become a witch - those are chronicled in Wee Free Men (#1), A Hat Full of Sky (#2), and Wintersmith (#3).  They follow Tiffany's life from eight years old to her teen hood.  The fourth (and sadly, the final installment) is I Shall Wear Midnight, which was just released September 28.

In I Shall Wear Midnight, Tiffany has become the town witch, only she doesn't just take care of her village, she takes care of a rather large territory and does many things not related to witching, but that no one else will do (like trimming old people's toe nails, giving bed baths, etc).  In spite of all that she does, maybe even because of everything she has done for all, a doorway has opened to mistrust and hate of things unknown, or little understood - Tiffany finds herself battling bias and bigotry rather than fae and curses....but then again, curses are involved also...There is the sudden danger of mobs and pitchforks.

Just like the other three Tiffany books, (and his other many books) Sir Pratchett has written an intricate plot, with plenty of snickers, laughs, chuckles and raising of the eyebrows in acknowledgement of the twists and turns a human mind can take.  I love his books, because he lays open the foibles and ridiculousness of people without quite sounding like he's on a soapbox.  He points out mistakes and silly behaviour, even rotten behaviour with humor and acceptance of how we all can make the worst mistakes.

If you've never ever read a Terry Pratchett book, I would recommend the four Tiffany Aching books set in the discworld.  I Shall Wear Midnight was a great final installment of Tiffany's story.  Loved it.  If you have read a few, this is a good book to get back in the series with.

By the Way - for those who don't know, the Discworld is a planet.  A flat planet that rests in the back of four Elephants, who in turn stand on the back of a great turtle who swims very slowly through space.  The turtle's heartbeat also beats - although extremely slowly (it doesn't have to go fast) and his gargantuan eyes even blink...I'm pretty sure I read that in one of his books, although I couldn't tell you witch one.  Terry Pratchett used to write a bit of this in every discworld book, but he hasn't with the last few.  Although this world is populated with people remarkably like us, the discworld is also populated by witches, wizards, sourcerers, trolls, dwarves, vampires, werewolves, elves, zombies, dragons, fairy godmothers, regular people, Death and his horse Binky, and my favorite...the Nac Mac Feegles (little blue men, six inches tall that live in clans, kilts, have flaming red hair,  fight and drink and are happily featured in all of the Tiffany Aching books).  Any character or creature that you might find in fantasy novels are found here - all of them just trying to fit in and be treated fairly.  In fact, if you like steampunk type of novels, you'll enjoy these also.  They've been around for quite awhile and feature dresses that resemble the clothes worn by us a few hundred years ago.  People get around in carriages, and by horseback and trains.  There are telegraph like machines, the Wizards have a huge machine run with ants, clockwork and piano keys, steam and tubes that act like a computer.

Each of the discworld novels, even the four Tiffany Aching novels can be read in any order - each one is a great stand-alone novel.  And with over 30 books in the series, maybe even over 40 - it's important to note that not only can you read any of them in any order - there are also groups of books within the series.  For example there are:

  •  the Witch books - books featuring Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, The Queen of Lancre, and of course, Tiffany Aching.  Some of them are Witches Abroad, Wyrd Sisters, Lords and Ladies, and Maskerade
  •  the City Watch/Ankh Morpork books -  these feature Commander Vimes and his wife (a duchess), Colonel Nobbs, Lord Vetinari, Anya the Watch-werewolf, and Captain Carrott (a dwarf who is height-challenged, he's twice as tall, if not more, that the average dwarf.  Adopted by dwarves as a baby, he thinks he's a dwarf) as well as Moist von Lipwig, William DeWorde.  Some of these include Guards, Guards!, Night Watch, Jingo, The Truth and Going Postal.
  •  The Unseen University or Wizard books - featuring Rincewind (one of the most inept wizards ever - and very cautious, scared of everything), the orangutan librarian, the first female wizard (Equal Rites) and The Luggage - really a big luggage with many, many feet....and teeth.  The books include The Color of Magic, The Last Continent, and Moving Pictures - as well as a few guest appearances of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg.
  •  Death...or rather DEATH - There are a few wonderful books with the character of Death.  One time Death takes a vacation.  Another time, he feels like finding himself, or gets a little depressed.  He also tries to take on an apprentance, which only results in a granddaughter.....Some of the best books in the discworld are Reaper Man, Mort, Soul Music, and Hogfather.
There are a few other books by Pratchett that aren't in the Discworld - Nation, Johnny and the Bomb, etc.  All are pretty good, some better than others.

No comments:

Post a Comment