Book Review: I Shall Wear Midnight

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I Shall Wear Midnight I Shall Wear Midnight by
Series: Tiffany Aching #4
Published by in 2010
Genres: ,
Pages: 349

It starts with whispers.
Then someone picks up a stone.
Finally, the fires begin.
When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . .
Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren't sparkly, aren't fun, don't involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.
But someone or something is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.

My Review:

This is the latest in the Tiffany Aching series, which has been one of my favorites every since the first one, The Wee Free Men came out in 2003.  I’ll admit, I’m slightly biased. I tend to like anything and everything Terry Pratchett writes. But some are better than others, and this is one of his best.

The premise is both fairly simple and decidedly not. For those of you who have never heard of him, Terry Pratchett began writing books in the 70’s (I think) when high fantasy knock-offs were all the rage. Pratchett found this amusing and decided to share his amusement with the world in the form of novels, resulting in some of the funniest satire I have ever read. This series is poking fun at the more recent trend of YA fantasy. It is a dedicated YA series, the first Discworld novels to be geared toward a younger audience, as far as I know (except maybe for The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents which was a stand alone).

The thing I really loved about this one is how much the characters have grown up. Yeah, the events of this book are directly related to what happened in the last book, but the characters have grown so much that they almost seem different people – kind of like when you suddenly notice a younger sibling or friend is suddenly all grown up and you wonder how they did it when you weren’t looking. It’s partly because of that, I think, that this book in the series is a little more serious than the others. It deals with the issues of prejudice and hatred which are more serious issues than the more fantasy topics of the previous three. The themes of self-reliance and using your brain for something other than a hat rack are still there, but they take second fiddle to the important issue of a witch hunt and the issues that started it. That’s not to say this one doesn’t have it’s funny moments. I often had to stifle giggles while reading the other night, because it just isn’t polite to burst out laughing in the middle of someone else’s conversation (I didn’t do so well on the bit about equestrian statues though. It was just too funny!)

The other thing I loved was how well he has developed his characters and yet how smoothly he introduces new ones. The original characters have now reached an age that I can relate to, which made them all the more vivid to me. I’ve already cast the film in my head for I Shall Wear Midnight because I wanted to see what the actors could bring to these already wonderful characters. Besides, sometimes the character quirks really do put you in mind of somebody *coughdoctorelevencough* and you just can’t get that comparison out of your head, right?

If you haven’t experienced Terry Pratchett’s works yet, this series is a good place to start, especially for those interested in Paranormal/fantasy YA. Just don’t start with this particular book – you will be so lost!

Book Review: Eric

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Eric Eric by
Series: Discworld #9
Published by in 2002
Pages: 224

An inept demonologist wants three wishes granted--to be immortal, to rule the world, and to have a beautiful woman fall in love with him. But instead of a demon, he calls up Rincewind, the most incompetent wizard in the universe. Because Eric gives him no other choice, Rincewind tries to grant him his wishes--with hysterical results.

My Review:

This book is supposed to be a satire on the story of Faust (in fact, many of the covers for other editions list it as Faust with a strikethrough and rewritten as Eric). I will be the first to admit that I know practically nothing about the Faust legend and what I do know is filtered through retelling upon retelling in various mediums. I don’t really feel qualified to judge it in relation to Faust, because I don’t know the original.

In relation to the rest of Pratchett’s work though, I’d say this is the runt of the litter – mediocre at best. Rincewind was never my favourite storyline of his (what can I say, I have a thing for Sam Vimes and Captain Carrot!). Without knowing what he is parodying and honestly having trouble finding the “funny” I’m just not impressed.

The one redeeming factor, for me, was Pratchett’s portrayal of Hell. I like the idea of boredom as Hell, because he’s right, once you’re dead, you have no body and therefore shouldn’t be able to feel the pain of the fires… Anyway, that bit made me chuckle a bit, and was actually quite good, though I lost track of what was going on towards the end.

So, overall, a mediocre read – I would only recommend it to someone who is desperate for a new Pratchett book, not someone looking to read Pratchett for the first time.

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