I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
1 December, 2010
I’m actually rather surprised that I didn’t devour this book as soon as I got it. But then I’ve been participating in rather a lot of challenges this year. But you know what? I’m kind of glad that I waited a little because once the hype of getting the book signed by Sir Terry himself has diminished a little, I think I got to enjoy this book even more. I Shall Wear Midnight is Terry Pratchett’s fourth book in the Tiffany Aching series, part of the Discworld books (following The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith). I would recommend reading the books in order as things will make a lot more sense. But then I would read them in order anyway because they are that good. As you probably all know, I’m a die-hard fan of Pratchett’s, and with each book, it gets better and better.
In this one, Tiffany Aching is now 16, a working witch in her steading, looking after people, solving problems and generally keeping everything in working order, just so life can amble on unimpeded. And then there’s the Nac Mac Feegle who we first meet in the first book, The Wee Free Men, who have adopted Tiffany as their very own hag (a wise woman). I love the Nac Mac Feegles with their blue bodies and red hair and the way they shout ‘Crivens’ at every opportunity. And also for their strength, stubbornness and fearlessness even though they are only a couple of inches tall.
Although there are plenty of laughs in this book, and I found myself laughing out loud in some parts, there are also some very dark moments. In the last book, Wintersmith, Tiffany had awoken a dark presence who is determined to get her. There is a cold, wicked stench to this evil spirit with no eyes who turns everyone against witches, reminiscent of the witchfinders of the 17th century. Tiffany must learn to be strong enough to stand up to him. As the wedding of her ex and his blond and blue-eyed fiancée approaches, will she be able to accept who she is and convince others of what she is? And will she ever find love?
Pratchett has once again crafted a beautiful story, full of laughter, horror and a real sense of what it is to be human. He strips away the layers of what we see and shows us what life really is about. I thought this was a fantastic story and written with such depth and understanding that I defy anyone not to feel that you’ve come away with a little more understanding and respect for the world we live in. Pratchett really observes people and knows what he’s talking about.
And, in I Shall Wear Midnight we are once again reconciled with Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. What more can you ask for? So what are you waiting for? Go on and get yourself some Pratchett!