Sunday, November 07, 2010

I Shall Wear Midnight

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before - I love reading Terry Pratchett's works, especially his Discworld books. Oh, and also Good Omens, his collaboration with Neil Gaiman (another author I enjoy reading).

I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in the Tiffany Aching arc in Discworld, which started off with The Wee Free Men. The arc follows Tiffany Aching, a young witch from Chalk and her adventures growing up and learning about being a witch. Tiffany has befriended the Nac Mac Feegles (blue-skinned fairies with a penchant for drinking and stealing), faced the Queen of Elves with a frying pan and kissed Winter, all in her short tenure as a witch-in-training. So what else could Tiffany get into?

In this book, Tiffany is really growing up. She's almost sixteen and the only witch in Chalk, which means facing the trials of being a witches while dealing with the problems that comes with being a teenager. Plus, people are becoming more suspicious of witches (Salem Witch Trials, anyone?). Meeting a man with no eyes and a horrible stench on her journey to Ankh Morpork certainly points to something bad happening. Of course, the Nac Mac Feegles, who has claimed Tiffany as their hag, are around as her protection. But this time, Tiffany has to face the problem on her own.

While the story starts off slow, the early events in the book actually acts as a building block for the main plot. When the bad guy makes an appearance, the early parts of the book indeed makes sense. Pratchett ties up things nicely. His wit is of course why I love reading his books. A memorable quote from the book is this:

"Here was a person whose mere existence had led Tiffany, one evening, to wonder about that whole business of sticking pins into a wax figure. She hadn’t actually done it, because it was something that you shouldn’t do, something that witches greatly frowned on, and because it was cruel and dangerous, and above all because she hadn’t been able to find any pins."

Pratchett has created a lovable heroine in Tiffany. She's proud of being a witch and practical as hell. In fact, that's actually the basis of being a witch in Discworld; it's all about practicality, doing what needs to be done. As a heroine, she's not perfect. There are times when she's too proud, when she's jealous (hey, she's almost sixteen :P), when she makes mistakes. But she's not afraid to admit she's wrong and she's forgiving as well. Plus, she can be invisible and can transfer heat and pain. How cool is that?

Overall, this is a book I'd recommend for someone who's looking for a novel on growing up, with a twist. And for anyone who loves reading something witty from a brilliant author. I'm sad that this might be the final book in the Tiffany Aching arc, but it has been a wonderful ride.

Oh, for anyone who wants to start reading Discworld but not sure where to start (with around 39 books available, it can be a bit overwhelming), here's a reading order guide for you.

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