Terry Pratchett – I Shall Wear Midnight

The long month of having no money is finally coming to an end. We got a rent check from my sister-in-law, which definitely gets us through until payday on Tuesday. So to celebrate, the wife and I each bought a new book: she grabbed the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy, and I grabbed the latest Terry Pratchett novel, I Shall Wear Midnight.

I’m a huge fan of Pratchett and his Discworld novels. The Tiffany Aching novels have been a bit hit and miss (Wee Free Men and A Hatful of Sky were both great, though I felt a little let down by Wintersmith), as was the last adult Discworld novel, Unseen Academicals, but this particular entry in the series (the last Tiffany Aching novel, apparently) is great. Whereas Academicals suffered from a lack of clear purpose or much of the trademark humor that Pratchett’s novels usually possess, I Shall Wear Midnight is witty, clever, and well-plotted. There are plenty of returning characters – including a nice bit with Eskarina Smith, the young woman who became a wizard back in the early Discworld novel Equal Rites – and a couple of new characters, including the guard Preston who is much smarter than he seems, an overbearing Duchess, and her daughter Letitia (who, at the point where I am in the book, is on her way to becoming sympathetic).

It’s nice to see Tiffany getting to grow as a character and even making mistakes. All too often in novels, the protagonist never makes mistakes, doesn’t do things for petty reasons, and is able to easily solve their problems. That ain’t the case with Tiffany; she’s a 16 year old girl, and she behaves like one (albeit a rather intelligent one). This means she sometimes does things because she is angry, tired, or frustrated.

I don’t want to give away what happens in the book, but it involves a being called the Cunning Man who has a mad on for witches in general and Tiffany in particular. Being as Tiffany is a witch, she has to figure out (on her own) how to deal with this. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the book, and it feels like classic Pratchett. Definitely recommended.

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